Gluten-free bakery: Growing demand for products with extra nutritional benefits, DuPont survey reveals

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20 Feb 2018 --- European consumers are looking for gluten-free bakery products that match regular products in terms of taste and texture, but also offer additional health benefits such as high fiber, a DuPont Nutrition & Health consumer survey has revealed. The survey results show untapped potential for bakers to develop more and better-quality products with extra nutritional benefits, and the company notes that customized ingredient solutions are the way to tapping into this potential.

Consumers in four key European markets were asked about their attitudes to gluten-free bakery products. While only an estimated 1 percent of the population is gluten-intolerant through celiac disease, the percentage of consumers who buy gluten-free products is considerably higher – 11 percent in Italy and the UK, and 8 percent in France and Spain, DuPont notes.

Bakery products are top of the gluten-free shopping list, DuPont notes. To help bakers meet consumer demands, DuPont now has launched a new “gluten-free solution finder” based on its latest application trials.

Gluten-free consumers seek more, high-quality products
Findings from the DuPont survey indicate that healthy living is the main driver of gluten-free sales in these markets. They also show gaps in the current range of gluten-free bakery products on store shelves. Even better quality and wider availability are two key consumer demands.

An Innova Market Insights report notes that anecdotal evidence about the healthiness of a gluten-free diet has prompted many consumers to adopt this kind of regime when they do not have any clear need to do so. In some instances, consumers may indulge in higher quantities of processed gluten free treats, such as cakes and cookies, under the impression that they are healthier. Under these circumstances, a situation where a percentage of shoppers believe eating gluten-free is healthier for everyone is not perhaps ideal, but it has been a big help to consumers who actually need gluten-free foods as increased demand from the wider market has boosted levels of NPD in the “free from” market and has greatly expanded the choice available for celiac sufferers. 

Still, the DuPont survey reveals that there is enough room for NPD growth within the gluten-free section.

“It’s clear that consumers are looking for gluten-free bakery products that match regular products in terms of taste, texture and appearance. From a health perspective, they are interested in claims such as reduced sugar and high fiber and other ingredients that give a better nutritional profile,” says Lena Hamann, strategic marketing manager, bakery EMEA.

Preferences vary – so no solution fits all
Another important finding concerns the broad variation in consumer preferences for gluten-free bakery products from market to market. Senior application scientist Helle Wium comments on the challenges of meeting these varied marked demands.

“Bakers use a range of gluten-free alternatives to standard wheat flour to satisfy the preferences of consumers in their markets. This is why there is no such thing as a one-size-fits-all ingredient solution to solve their quality challenges,” she explains.

The survey’s findings have provided valuable insights for ongoing gluten-free trials in the DuPont bakery application center. Exploring key production parameters and ingredient combinations, the trials focus on ways to improve processing efficiency and sensory properties, including taste, texture, appearance and fresh-keeping quality.

This knowledge is behind the customized gluten-free solutions developed by DuPont for individual customer needs. It also is the foundation of the DuPont gluten-free solution finder, a tool that helps bakers identify the right ingredient combinations to meet their market needs.

The solution finder includes two new DuPont Danisco ingredient blends. POWERFresh GF is for gluten-free bread and sweet goods that stay soft and moist throughout shelf life. POWERFlex GF locks flexibility into gluten-free tortillas, so they fold easily without tearing even after four weeks in ambient storage.

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