DUIVEN, The NetherlandsNew bread products continued to hit the global market in 2013, with 42% of the new launches making some type of health claim, according to new market data from Innova Market Insights. In fact, new breads with health claims rose 75% in the United States and Australia and 70% in Latin America, but fell to less than 30% in the non-traditional bread markets in Asia.
According to Lu Ann Williams, director of innovation at Innova Market Insights, the functional bread sector has generally seen much lower levels of new product and promotional activity over the past few years because of the growing influence of health claims regulations, particularly in the European Union and North America. She noted that interest in healthier options has not reduced, but the positioning of bread has changed to focus more on a generally healthy and nutritious image rather than making specific claims.
Health claims and positioning are divided into two typespassive (low and light, organic, gluten-free, etc.) and active, which involve the addition of particular ingredients, such as calcium, protein, fiber, etc., or the promotion of specific benefits like heart health or digestive health.
Globally, passive claims dominated in the bread market, with more than 40% of launches using them in 2013, compared with just 5% using active claims of some kind. The numbers vary regionally, with more than 11% of launches using active claims in the United States, compared with 6% in Asia and 3% in Europe.
The most popular health claims in the bread market overall referred to naturalness, with one-fifth of 2013 launches using one or more claims relating to naturalness, an additive- or preservative-free formulation or an organic positioning. Nearly 17% used either high-in-/source-of-fiber claims or a whole-grain positioning. In terms of active health claims, usage was much lower, with the most frequently used being vitamin and mineral fortification, featuring on 1.5% of launches, ahead of omega-3/DHA fortification and heart health, with about 1% each.
The United States had an even higher level of interest, with more than one-third of tracked launches used claims relating to naturalness and a similar percentage utilized fiber/whole-grain claims. U.S. consumers continue to focus on healthier breads, fortified with healthful ingredients or featuring reduced levels of sodium, sugar and fat. Whole-grain products have continued to grow in popularity and the use of ancient grains is also continuing to increase.