Ingredient Focus: Bakery
The regional bakery industry's challenges and changing demands from consumers
Bull and Roo launch Rise & Dawn
From matcha croissants (filled with matcha cream) to Lemon Cheesecake Donut and Pina Colada Cronuts, expect out-of the-box creations from the home-grown bakery concept. So far only a third of its menu has been released and will focus on marrying familiar ingredients and flavours in unfamiliar combinations such as peanut butter and pretzel.
Spinneys adopts Clean Label policy
Spinneys is committed to inspiring customers to make positive food choices. As part of its commitment to help customers to ‘eat well, live well’, Spinneys recently adopted its own Clean Label Ingredients policy, which means no artificial colours or flavours, no trans-fats and no hydrogendated fats in any of the spinneysFOOD bakery range.
Bakels Wholemeal Bread Mix
Aramtec has launched a range of healthy bread mixes and one of the popular one is Bakels Wholemeal Bread Mix. The mix is easy to use and will provide you with a consistent product every time. Wholemeal is a healthy choice as it contains the complete grain and plays an important part in the daily diet and provides many nutrients that your body needs.
Sponge Cake Mix
Pristine Baking Solutions has just launched its new cream cake mix. The newly launched product is created with the aim of giving the chefs authentic American style cream cakes with a moist and dense texture. It is designed as a multipurpose solution for all sort of bakery needs that gives chefs the possibility of creating products like muffins, cakes, biscottis or steamed pudding all with just one product.
Bridor has understood the need to propose a disruptive product that will enable restaurant owners to stand out by complementing their classic burger offer with a more sought-after composition. The Bun’n’Roll is a delicately layered bun made from a tasty croissant dough which offers an interesting texture (crispy on the outside and soft in the centre).
The Dolce Frutta bakery line is composed strictly from fresh fruit set in its own juice and thickened. It withstands high temperatures of the oven, semi-dense syrup that keeps the fruit and gives structure to the filling. Four fruit options are available — green apple, sour cherry, strawberry, and blueberry. This product is an ideal solution for muffins, croissants, tarts or sweet breads.
With increasing numbers of international and home-grown brands in the market, competition is rife. “Today it’s a fine balance in our operation, trying to stand out from a myriad of options for consumers, and to optimise in the face of rising cost of raw ingredients.
“At the same time we need to focus inwards to our employees ensuring they receive training, skills education and motivation, with the aim to mentor the next generation of chefs,” says Demoiselle by Galvin executive pastry chef Ryan Harris.
Without the benefit of an international reputation, independent, home-grown brands may find the market more challenging. Bull & Roo Hospitality and Investments executive pastry chef Dave Sanderson agrees: “The industry is definitely becoming more saturated with bakeries and hence more competitive. With increased competition comes a need to outdo one another in terms of ingredients, quality, packaging so as to be Dubai’s ‘trendiest’ bakery. Often, this results in very high costs being incurred with little ROI (such trends are short-lived as well).
“Fortunately for us, since we were set up from the beginning as a central bakery to supply our (Bull & Roo) venues with their bakery and pastry needs, we benefit from economies of scale on equipment, packaging, ingredients, transportation etc.”
Being a region that relies heavily on imports, supply chain delays can greatly impact business. Accoring to Aramtec sales and marketing manager — pastry division Riyadh Hassan, the biggest change the firm is facing is the lack of available shipping containers which is delaying orders from Europe and Asia by more than two or three weeks. Hassan says: “The restructuring of the East-West route after establishing of container shipping alliances, became more aggressive than expected and many shippers suffered from lack of container units for their export. Now many of the lines are overbooked and the resulting delays are causing chaos on the trade lines.”
Even when the ingredients do arrive, their quality and how quickly the products deteriorate in the regional climate is often a concern. For Mercato DIFC chef Raffaello Cavazzuti: “The quality of our ingredients is central to the Mercato concept as we pride ourselves on serving food that would be as good as if it was cooked straight out of a family kitchen in Italy. Finding good suppliers is a challenge in the region as a whole.” Cavazzuti continues: “The local climate can be difficult to work with, as temperature plays an important role in achieved perfectly baked goods.”
It’s almost inevitable that the costs incurred from operational challenges in the region will be passed on to the consumer. However, companies may opt to absorb incresed costs in order to retain or grow their customer base.
According to Pierre M Feghali, general manager of EMF Emirates LLC: “The food raw material shortages and the increasing cost of energy, production, administration and distribution greatly influences the way in which final product is priced.
“Fluctuation in ingredient prices has been a constant battle for us as a supplier. We are determined to provide the consistent quality product to our clients, which makes ingredient sourcing very challenging.”
Recently, there has been a shift from a mass production approach to specialist or artisan products. Large companies are also following suit.
EMF’s Feghali says: “Our product, Agrano, offers range combines improvers, special premixes, bread ingredients, sour dough products, decoration items as well as an organic product range.”
Demoiselle’s Harris agrees but adds that bakeries have to cater to the specific needs of the consumer whether they are trendy or traditional. “We see the rise of artisanal bakeries making organic, slow-fermented and chemical-free freshly baked products, to the extremes of being either totally indulgent, like the doughnut ice cream sandwiches, to a selection of guilt-free offerings.
“There will always be a market for new and trendy desserts and bakery items, but you’ll always find consumers coming back to the classics. Nothing beats a good almond croissant.”
As customers become more informed and selective about the ingredients they consume, companies are obliged to be more transparent than ever before. This is the case at IFFCO. Associate marketing manager Andreea Ioana Carabulea says: “We are working towards addressing the health concern perceptions related to the bakery industry. Therefore, following the ban of chlorinated flour in Europe, we are offering our customers the option of heat-treated flour which allows them to obtain the same level of performance with a clean label declaration.”
Freda Molamphy, in-house nutritionist at Spinneys, discusses the company’s newly adopted approach saying: “The Spinneys clean label ingredients policy was created to further substantiate Spinneys’ commitment to the health and wellbeing of our customers. The aim of the policy is to remove ingredients known to be harmful to health or to be very allergenic, whilst ensuring our products are just as delicious.
“We also noted a trend towards the use of more natural ingredients and feedback from our customers also confirmed this. While the policy is quite detailed, the main focus has been on the removal of all trans-fats, hydrogenated fats, MSG and high fructose corn syrup and the use of only naturally derived colours and flavours.”
We are well and truly in an era of photogenic food. Hybrid baked goods such as the cronut (croissant in the shape of a donut), the brookie (a cookie and brownie combination) and more recently, the unicorn cake trend contine to drive customers to bakeries. “It’s a very interesting time for us,” concludes Feghali.