Food engineers and technologists in the baking industry are struggling to keep up with consumer demands. Health conscious customers demand a wide variety of delicious baked goods – but they also want healthy, organic ingredients.
Unlike many subsets within the recipe-based food and beverage industry, consumers say that baked goods are only exceptional when they are freshly baked.
Bakers face unique challenges with the shelf life of their ingredients. Their products are more difficult to distribute globally because of the freshness factor and shelf-life issues – yet according to many industry forecasts, bread and baked goods are trending toward explosive growth in the next decade.
The U.S. is home to more than 2800 commercial bakeries with annual revenue of nearly – and an additional 6700 retail bakeries with sales in the 3 billion range – making the cake, pie, doughnut and muffin business extremely competitive.
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The baking industry is ruled by consumer preferences, and demand for healthier option is currently driving the marketplace. Consumers want fresh, organic ingredients and a variety of flavors and options. Surveys indicate that customers prefer their baked goods be prepared on-site and available the same-day that they were baked.
Major manufacturers, like Dawn Foods, Almondy, , Flowers Foods, Bimbo and Weston Foods have responded to changing market demands and earned customer loyalty by providing a myriad of options with natural ingredients while producing both healthier and gluten-free products.
Poised for explosive growth
With billions of dollars on the line – the demand for gluten-free baked goods alone is predicted to grow to 7 billion by the third quarter of 2018, revenue for the industry as a whole will increase to nearly 40 billion – manufacturers simply cannot afford a misstep.
Empowering engineers and research and development teams with PLM provides the best possible opportunity for rapid product launch. Fresh, seasonal ingredients, recipe trials, replenishment, inventory optimization and the ability to move quickly and take advantage of volatility in raw materials and ingredients markets can increase ROI and drastically expand market share.
PLM supports recipe formulations, specifications management, innovative process solutions – and most importantly, transparency and traceability.
Change by degrees
Customers are a notoriously fickle lot – the baking industry has been changing by degrees for the past decade. The only way to stay competitive is by meeting the demand for organic, locally sourced ingredients and getting products to market faster than the next guy.
Recent indicate that more than 50 percent of Americans say that their eating habits are cleaner and more healthy than they were a year ago – and that they expect to continue healthy eating trends in the coming year, especially as they relate to baked goods.
Overcoming the challenges without sacrificing quality
Balance in the baking industry is crucial – and nearly impossible to achieve without the proper tools.
The key for producers and manufacturers lies within their – finding a way to accurately analyze, integrate and provide cross-functional support for the most complex aspects of recipe-based production development.