Healthier savoury patisserie is a concept that has been alive and well in other countries for a number of years. Yet savoury snacking has yet to reach its full potential in bakery in the UK, despite the 4% category growth last year, according to Lantmannen Unibake UK.
Patisserie expert and ingredient supplier Puratos UK is gearing up to meet the savoury demand. The company recently launched the latest addition to its Satin range – a mix capable of creating a wide range of cakes, pastries, muffins, waffles and even pizza bases.
The new mix requires only the addition of water, egg and oil, and contains no salt or added sugar. According to Puratos’ UK digital and communications manager, Lydia Baines, the company sees healthy options as a huge priority.
“We're always looking at making cleaner label products,” she tells Food Spark. “We're looking at reducing fat, reducing sugar and just having more inherently nutritious products. It's very high on the agenda, and savoury snacking is also very important because it's such a growing category.”
A bus full of muffins
With trend reports released every quarter, Puratos UK is certainly a company that does its homework, and the creation of its latest product was no different. The team took to the streets to gauge interest in the new mix long before it was brought to market.
“People are becoming more and more experimental with their products,” says Baines. “And because there is also so much going on in the on-the-go and snacking areas, we thought this was the ideal time to try something in this space.
“But it still sounded a little risky, so we took our bus out to Brighton and carried out a day’s research with 134 consumers. We asked them whether they liked the product, what they thought of the concept and whether it would be something they would be interested in buying, and finally, if so, where they would want to buy it, and on what occasions.”
The results found that 75% of people thought the concept was ‘really attractive’ and ‘interesting,’ while 76% said it was something they would buy multiple times per year. Meanwhile, 62%, found it to be ‘new, different and exciting.’ The main eating occasions were found to be snacking on the go, and as an accompaniment to a main meal at lunchtime.
“We only did one flavour on the day, and because we wanted to offer something fairly neutral, we gave them a cheese and chive mini-loaf,” explains Baines. “And then we gave them a curry-flavoured one to take away with them.”
Giving the people what they want
Healthy eating is something that has been encouraged for as long as living memory – so why is it that consumers are suddenly listening?
“I think healthy flavours and options have expanded so much that eating right just comes a lot more naturally,” comments Baines. “People are getting a lot more experimental. A recent global consumer study found that 66% of people are looking for more exotic and unusual flavours, so we believe there’s really a market out there for new ideas.”
People are also snacking a lot more and they’re not always looking for something that’s sweet, she adds.
“Many don’t even like sweet cakes and obviously, there’s a massive debate on sugar at the moment,” she says. “The beautiful thing about savoury patisserie is that it doesn't really contain much sugar and we see more and more people start to adapt to this.”
It’s time to experiment
Baines notes Marks & Spencer is one particular innovator in this space, having just launched mini muffins into its savoury range in flavours like cheese and onion.
“We’re also seeing savoury macaroons and eclairs in the marketplace, several different types of choux pastry and even cream cheeses, so I see it expanding to a lot more than just cakes,” she reveals.
Food Spark previously reported on patisserie specialists Maitre Choux launching savoury eclairs in June.
Savoury aside, where else can we expect to see this level of experimentation?
“We're seeing a massive trend towards UK-based products at the moment, but with different varieties,” says Baine. “So it's taking the experimentation of, say, the Yorkshire pudding and making it into a wrap, for example. That, or savoury cakes with very British ingredients, such as cheddar cheese. People are also very keen on locally sourced ingredients – that’s the real key trend that we found from our Q1 report.”
The Dawn of a new era
Dawn Foods also released a savoury muffin mix this month, which requires the addition of oil and water to create a finished product. The company said it could help foodservice operators target different day parts aside from breakfast with muffins, such as on-the-go snacking, elevenses or as an accompaniment to lunch and dinner.
The trend for muffins featuring savoury ingredients – from cheese to vegetables, herbs and cooked meats – is growing due to consumers seeking healthier alternatives to sandwiches and pastries, noted Dawn Foods.
Its application chefs created a series of recipes to give bakers and caterers inspiration on how to use the mix, from savoury muffin pizza slices and a USA-style meat feast muffin, to a cauliflower and broccoli cheese muffin that could be served as an accompaniment to soup.