Speaking exclusively to BakeryandSnacks.com, Robert Whittle, UK general manager for international pastry specialist Pidy, said that flavor innovation is something relatively new to the patisserie sector.
“For desserts, the demand to come up with interesting flavors is just coming through. It’s not main stream yet though,” Whittle said.
“We’ve been bombarded with demands for lots of colors in cupcakes and macaroons – you’ve got colors dazzling out in an explosion. But you’ve now got flavors starting to perpetrate through the system too,” he said.
"Flavor marrying is most definitely more adventurous," he added.
The UK manager said fusion flavors that draw inspiration from Asia like lemongrass, cardamom and ginger are just beginning to be seen in new product development efforts across the patisserie sector.
“Industry is always looking to innovate or re-innovate. Whether that is in terms of flavors, textures or colors – they are looking for a twist on traditional norms,” Whittle said.
Savvy consumers want natural
The UK manager said that patisserie makers are under increasing pressure, much like wider industry, to develop healthier products.
“Consumers are very savvy now and looking at their ingredients decks… Of course there is a health aspect – consumers are looking for clean label and natural flavors are most definitely in demand,” he said.
In September last year Pidy launched vegetable-flavored pastry cups in four flavors – beetroot, carrot, spinach and celeriac – made up with 30% natural juice. This year, Pidy followed up with fruit-flavored versions in strawberry, banana, mixed berries and orange.
The idea behind the cups was to develop a vibrant and colorful variant to a traditional pastry cup using natural and fresh flavors, the company said.
But indulgence is indulgence…
However, Whittle said that while there are some health demands in the dessert sector, consumers are still looking to indulge.
“As a company, we are not trying to hide the fact these products are relatively high in fat – they are indulgent products,” he said.
The sector has benefited in recent years, he said, driven by an increase in cookery programs on television and the shift in consumer sentiment given the pinched economy.
“People are making their own products at home… From a consumer point of view, we see a rise in demand of component cooking,” he said.