American bakers either bake from scratch or buy pre-prepared, but in Europe there’s more demand for a convenience middle ground, says Dawn Foods.
Discussing why the US-headquartered company would not be launching its frozen Scoop & Bake muffin mix in its home market, Dawn Foods marketing manager Frederic Debrun said there was greater demand for a middle ground between baked goods cooked from scratch and those completely pre-prepared in Europe.
“People [in the US] don’t expect that level of convenience that is semi convenient. Either they go for a fully convenient solution, which means buying [baked] frozen products, or they have the possibility to buy the ingredients and produce the recipe from scratch,” he told BakeryandSnacks.com last week at Europain 2014 in Paris.
Dawn Foods has developed a frozen muffin batter mix sold in tubs for retail bakeries that can be defrosted in the refrigerator for up to two weeks, and then scooped out to make muffins when required.
A matter of café culture
Debrun said the differences in convenience expectations and needs was because of a difference in café culture. “[In Europe] you have a lot of coffee shops that are still baking on site, which does not happen so often in the US.”
He said this product would allow café bakers to make fresh muffins easily and on demand. “So first advantage, you always have a fresh product. Second advantage, you bake only the right quantity you need for the day. Even if you have more demand during the day you can easily bake some more fresh. And third advantage is you have consistent quality because you don’t need to do anything to the product, the batter is already completely finished.”
Transatlantic trends and Middle East promise
Debrun said there was a growing interest in Europe for American-style products like muffins, cookies and donuts. “20 years ago the only country in Europe where American products were really sold was the UK, as the UK is always the gateway country to the European market for American markets.”
He said the Europain show floor was a good example of how this trend has spread to other European countries, like France.
He said Dawn Foods' acquisition of European ingredients company Unifine two years ago had opened up further opportunities to capitalize on this trend.
Beyond Europe, he the Middle East showed significant promise where the company already exported. “Specifically the three top countries in the Middle East for bakery products are Saudi Arabia, then the United Arab Emirates with its large cities like Abu Dhabi and Dubai, and then the number three player is Kuwait.”
When asked what the main differences were in driving trends between the Middle East market and Europe, Debrun said: “Actually they are not really driving the trends, they are following the trends.”
He said there had been a huge amount of investment into the food production and service sector in these markets. “Out of home consumption is probably bigger in those countries than it is today in a country like France because there is also less financial concern.”