Minneapolis, MN—Cargill has released new research outlining what consumers want when it comes to baked goods. The Sweet Delight—Decoding Consumer Bakery Decisions survey polled 1,200 U.S. consumers to determine what needs and motivations drive consumer purchasing behavior related to cakes, pastries, and cookies. 

Consumers Indulge

Indulgence remains the most important factor in purchasing sweet confections. It is a higher priority than barriers like weight gain, health, or diet considerations, according to the survey. Among the reasons consumers indulge, 54% said they choose baked goods to satisfy cravings; 44% purchase them as a reward.   

“At Cargill, we understand that consumer insights help ensure we’re bringing innovative solutions to our customers that help them keep and attract new customers in a competitive environment,” said Camiel van Beek, Bakery Category Leader for Cargill’s global Edible Oil Solutions Group. “Across our food ingredient businesses, we’ve embraced this new way of innovating, helping our food manufacturer customers develop products that meet consumers’ unmet needs.” 

Ingredients Influence Purchases

The report highlighted the importance of label-friendly formulation, and found consumers viewed ingredients as most influential to their purchasing decisions (42%), behind nutrition scores (32%), and specific product claims (28%). 

Consumers also noted that health-related attributes are among their unmet needs. The results showed individuals would like treats that deliver portion control, balance great taste and health, supply energy boosts without sugar crashes, and offer greater satiety, especially in the cookie and pastry space. 

Innovation in the Baking Space

In terms of innovation, Cargill identified three categories that seem to meet consumer demand:
  • Fresh from the Oven
  • Premium Indulgence
  • Better for You
“This research gives us very specific insights and will help us deliver a more focused innovation roadmap for our customers,” said van Beek. “With it, we can help customers match consumer preferences around textures, claims and ingredients by application and even daypart, then leverage our ingredient and application expertise to develop products that will resonate in the marketplace.”

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This survey was the first of its kind performed by Cargill. The company uses the insights found in their research to help customers tailor product development goals, ingredient choices and formulations to capitalize on market opportunities and meet consumer needs.