Emerging trends in filling fats

Filling fats offer better processing properties, making it convenient for bakeries to work with
Emerging trends in filling fats

Photo - Patrick Fore on Unsplash

The world of confectionaries has gone through some significant changes in the past few years. While health concerns have driven the changes in the quality of the fillings, we also see an improvement in terms of properties and workability. The effort has consistently been to improve the quality of flavor while ensuring that it does not adversely impact the end consumers' health. At the same time, commercial bakeries and confectionaries are looking for products with superior properties, particularly long shelf life.

Rising demand is driven by the growth of bakery products

In 2020, the bakery product market in Southeast Asia was pegged at US$ 13,470.18 million and is expected to grow at a CAGR of 7.67% by 2026. While many sectors have been badly affected by the COVID pandemic, the bakery and confectionary industry may recover from some of the early downturns. This is because of the increased in-home consumption in this period. Demand for snacks, including bakery products, has gone up as people look for ready-to-eat and easily available food at home. This demand for bakery products has the ripple effect of spiking growth in the market for filling fats, which is also expected to see robust expansion.

Demand for new flavors

Confectionary companies are at a race for an ever-expanding range in products and flavors to increase their market share and grab consumer interest. Not only are they looking for new ranges in cookies and cakes, but they are also looking for inventive flavors. When it comes to flavors, the preferred means has always been through filling fats. For instance, almost no biscuit company today limits itself to a single range in flavors. Even in a single brand, one is expected to find multiple filling flavors, including vanilla, fruit, and chocolate. The more inventive and adventurous brands are now going for more exotic flavors, like nuts or salted caramel.

Photo - Jr R on Unsplash

Improved fat properties

For filing fat, companies focus their R&D endeavors towards improving the fat properties of the product. This includes ensuring excellent flavors while inhibiting moisture and oil migration. Today, filling fats offer better processing properties, making it convenient for bakeries to work with them. They also offer a longer shelf-life, an essential property for packaged bakery products. There are some unique options like aerated variants for chocolate and confectionery fillings. These provide endless light texture variations and opportunities to include other novel ingredients such as berries, nuts, fruits, herbs, and crunch. Such combinations pave the way for new sensory experiences and improve the overall nutritional profile by cutting down fat and sugar.

Healthier alternatives

There has been a heavy demand for healthier alternatives in recent years, especially in terms of fat and sugar content. Driven by increasing health consciousness among the end-users, companies are now looking for fat fillings with lower sugar and fat content. Other than reducing the content, there is also a need for healthier versions. There has been a concentrated move by multiple governments in the global market in imposing more health-positive measures. For instance, the Indian government is focusing on reducing the levels of industrial fats in a phased manner. The initial notification limited the content of oils and fats to 5% and a new notification has been issued to further bring it down to 3% in 2021 and 2% in 2022.

Co-development: a relevant business sustainability tool

Increasing health consciousness and the need for accelerating invention are witnessing co-development among commercial confectionaries and manufacturers of specialty fats. Companies like AAK Group are working with confectionaries towards customizing solutions and creating value for their products. Co-development starts from ideation plus the creation of new products and extends to quality checks followed by the final launch.

The filling fats industry is expected to see healthy growth with the boost in the bakery market, and its rise will be coupled with increased demand for innovation in flavor and properties. At the same time, we will also see a greater cohesion between businesses and their clients in the bakery and confectionery sector due to co-development efforts. The future looks exciting with the promise of growth in multiple avenues.

Author - Dheeraj Talreja, president – India, AAK Group

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