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Value added bakery products in the Indian market
Saturday, 14 August, 2021, 13 : 00 PM [IST]
Raghav Gupta
The bakery industry in India is witnessing strong growth. It’s a huge industry with a lot of promise and potential, and employs a large number of people.

In fact, in India alone, there are over a million unorganised small-sized bakeries and approximately 2,000 organised or semi-organised bakeries. Hence, the bakery industry is the largest of all the segments of India’s food processing industry.

Of this, about 80 per cent is captured by bread and biscuits that are items of mass consumption. India, in fact, is second only to US in terms of biscuit production.

As breads and biscuits come within the fast-moving consumer goods (FMCG), they are consumed daily by the consumers which is the primary reason for the sales of these products in India.

Rise of value-added bakery products
The popularity of bakery products has further been stimulated by the growth in the fast-food chains as they are used for burgers, snacks, and sandwiches. Moreover, introduction of value-added bakery products has given a boost to the overall market growth. Apart from this, busy lifestyles, evolving eating habits and western influence have resulted in a strong demand for the bakery products in India.  

Bakery products have also become famous nowadays because of their high nutritional value and affordability that also make them an item of huge consumption. With regards to bakery products, consumers are asking for newer options and the industry has been experiencing a fortification of bakery products to satisfy the burgeoning appetite of the health-conscious Indian population.

In India, bakery industry holds an important place within the food processing industry and is a traditional activity. Many healthy wheat-based products have also been launched in the Indian bakery segment that are quickly becoming the most sought-after items. The increasing presence of bakery chains has further triggered the overall growth of the sector.

Another trend making waves in the bakery industry is the rising preference for lighter and healthier foods. Now, one has the option to have brown bread, sweet bread, multigrain bread or even gluten-free bread if they happen to be intolerant to this family of proteins found in grains such as wheat and rye. And these products are not just limited to a few urban cities. Instead, they have spread far and wide across the length and breadth of the country. It is not only the breads which have become healthier, even cookies, biscuits, pastries have joined the list of healthier choices available in bakery products.

The large-scale rise of diabetes in India has also led to a growing demand for sugar-free and healthy bakery products. Overall, this trend towards healthier items has been driven and facilitated by rising health awareness.

Also, the manufacturing processes of these value-added bakery products follow a more sustainable way of manufacturing, which includes:

  • By reducing input costs through the use of cheaper ingredients.
  • By improving efficiency through the use of products that can reduce wastage, yield or other aspects of production efficiency.
  • By growing their sales through improving availability, variety, choice, and quality.
Emergence of healthier bakery items
Many companies have also started manufacturing handcrafted granola bars which are gluten-free, full of nuts and seeds, and well-sweetened with locally sourced organic honey. The trend towards nutritional and healthier bakery items has grown to a level that now, it isn’t just new bakeries which are analysed with lighter items, even traditional bakeries are now bringing forth new products to cater to the increasing demand for healthier foods.

Another trend that has emerged in recent times is a strong preference for homemade bakery items. The pure variety of homemade chocolates that are available during festivals indicates the rising demand for these items in the country.

Apart from this, during the lockdown of the first wave of Covid-19, a lot of people took to baking cookies, pastries, cakes and breads at home. Out of all, the major chunk of the proverbial baking pie is taken away by the sourdough bread. This tangy-tasting, extremely porous, artisanal bread has a nutty aroma and a crusty surface. Made using natural yeast, it only takes plain flour, water and a little bit of salt to make a nice, warm loaf of this bread. Unlike the commercial white bread, sourdough has no hard-to-digest additives and dough conditioners. And what makes it extra special is the fact that it is most likely the first and foremost form of leavened bread that has ever been created.

Small unorganised bakery stores
The demand is rising not only for homemade chocolates but even for other bakery items. These trends also show how people are not shying away from paying a little extra money for the products of their choice – tasty, healthy and hygienic.  This is especially true in the urban part of India, though the trend is catching fast in other areas s well. This is good news for the small unorganised bakery stores in India as they can now concentrate on producing quality goods without having to worry too much about whether they will be able to make reasonable profits out of the products which can otherwise be priced slightly on the higher side.

As regards the sustainability trend within the bakery sector, organic ingredients, vegetarianism and clean label are propelling consumers to pay more. Considering the growing interest of consumers in plant-based diets, there are many opportunities for brands to reformulate themselves and tap into the vegan trend as the vegetarian claim remains underutilised.  
Several manufacturing equipment companies are also coming up with one-stop solutions for making value-added bakery items. The entire line capacity available ranges from 300 kg to 1.5ton/Hr. The Heart of line, extruders and oven are from American Extrusion USA integrated within the processing line. The flexibility of using a variety of meal options helps to produce value-added products like multi-grain chips. Efficient line equipment like meal blending, distribution &seasoning system ensure consistency, production and quality. This line of equipment is suitable for snack and breakfast cereal application.

Brands are innovating on a wider scale with niche and novel ingredients in order to boost nutritional value. Unique ingredients like insect protein and cauliflower flour have been recently used in various other food categories but are comparatively unexplored in crackers and cookies. Such ingredients can appeal both on novelty and dietary grounds.

(The author is director at Kanchan Metals)
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