Today’s bakery consumers are increasingly aware of the products they buy. They want baked foods that are better for them, sustainably sourced, and have a transparent ingredient list and supply chain.
While bakers are responding to this demand with more transparent and sustainable products, some may not know exactly what these words mean, noted Tai Ullmann, global sustainability manager for edible oils, Cargill.
At the International Bakery Exposition (IBIE) in Las Vegas, Ms. Ullmann and Tom Vierhile, Vice President of Strategic Ideas, North America, Innova Market Insights, will unveil these buzzwords in their training session, Making a Sustainable Cookie: Meeting Consumer Demands for Greater Ingredient Sourcing Transparency.
The session, which took place on Monday, September 19 at 11 a.m., will examine how bakers and suppliers can create a more transparent and sustainable future for the industry, as well as key trends in these areas. The session will also use a cookie as an example, showing how bakery product can be made from sustainable and traceable supply chains.
What does it mean for a bakery product to be “sustainable” and “transparent”?
Tai Ullmann: We know sustainability means different things to different people. For some, this goes beyond supporting the environment to encompass issues of social responsibility, ethical sourcing and other values-driven positions.
Regardless of how a brand defines “sustainable” sourcing, transparency is key to having a meaningful impact on the ground, as well as building consumer trust. True transparency is complex and multifaceted, encompassing traceability (what supply chains look like), on-farm programming (what impact supply chains have), monitoring and verification, as well as communication and marketing.
What are the benefits of transparency and sustainability in a bakery supply chain?
Tai Ullmann: More than ever, businesses and consumers care about the standards that underpin the products they buy. For all commodities, people increasingly want assurance that raw materials come from a sustainable and environmentally responsible source, in accordance with social standards and ethical economic practices. Creating transparent and sustainable ingredient supply chains is key to meeting these demands.
What are consumers looking for in a sustainable bakery product?
Tai Ullmann: We know that consumers engage in values-based shopping and are attracted to products that are made in a socially and environmentally sustainable way. Cargill’s proprietary TrendTracker insights, which identify global trends that influence how and what consumers buy, find that brands expect brands to engage in socially and environmentally responsible practices. Seven in 10 US consumers (73%) say they have changed their diet and lifestyle to reduce their carbon footprint. A similar number, 68%, say brands should do more to protect the environment. They expect product labels to be specific and transparent (77%) and most (72%) say they would pay more to support companies that share their values.
Cargill’s US FATitudes 2022 survey confirms this growing concern for the environment. Our research, which tracks consumer awareness and behaviors towards fats and oils found in packaged foods such as potato chips and cookies, found that sustainability has grown in importance in consumers’ food choices. . We found that 41% of U.S. consumers say they are more likely to buy a packaged food if it includes a sustainability claim, up four points from a year ago and 20 points since we conducted the first FATitudes survey in 2013. When asked what type of sustainability claim they were looking for, ‘sustainably sourced’ (69%) and ‘responsibly sourced’ (55%) topped the list.
What are the main trends in sustainable and transparent bakery products?
Tom Vierhile: The concept of sustainability is growing in baking, but from a very low base. We’re just starting to see bakery launches in the US talking about emerging sustainability themes like “carbon labeling” and “regenerative agriculture.” You would be hard pressed to find products launched three or four years ago mentioning either theme. These claims began to emerge in 2021, and the momentum continues into 2022. Other themes give you a better idea of where new product innovation is headed in the future. The bakers are targeting sugar and carb reduction in themes that could be considered part of the “transparency” banner. U.S. bakery launches making a low-carb claim grew at a compound annual growth rate of over 25% from 2018 to 2021. Sugar-free launches had even more momentum, posting a growth rate annual compound of more than 46% for the same period. Innovation activity in both areas appears to promise consumers better health outcomes and is consistent with the growing theme of improving health and wellness benefits across the food industry. and drinks.
How can bakers best achieve sustainability and transparency with their products?
Tai Ullmann: Sustainable ingredient sourcing and transparency are important to many of our customers, but very few directly impact farmers. Because we are at the intersection of farmers and food customers, we can help find solutions that address their concerns.
For example, we offer RSPO-certified palm oil. This palm oil is produced according to the principles and criteria established by the RSPO, which verifies against no deforestation, no development on peat and no exploitation principle. To carry the separate RSPO designation, all products must be segregated from commodity palm oil supplies and be traceable through the supply chain. It is produced in RSPO-certified sustainable palm oil plantations and refined in RSPO-certified facilities.
This fall, we are expanding our separate RSPO offerings to include palm stearin and palm olein products. This is possible, in part, thanks to our investment in a new palm oil refinery in Indonesia. When completed in late 2022, the new refinery will help Cargill meet changing customer expectations for sustainability and transparency.
Within our cocoa and chocolate businesses, we offer a portfolio of products and services that enable customers to directly support sustainability efforts that align with their brand promise. Cargill’s Promise solutions allow customers to buy sustainable cocoa directly from our known and trusted farmer organizations. To go further, clients can choose to invest in a high-impact project related to a key challenge in the cocoa sector, such as gender inequality, deforestation or child labour. In a final step, we connect brands to the farming communities that supply their cocoa through our CocoaWise digital customer portal, which offers unprecedented access to the data, insights and storytelling aspects of our sustainably sourced cocoa.
These are just two examples, but similar work is happening in our supply chains, as we strive to feed the world in a safe, responsible and sustainable way.
How to make a cookie in a more sustainable way and with a more transparent supply chain?
Tai Ullmann: In today’s competitive marketplace, it’s no longer enough to create a great tasting product. Increasingly, it’s the gripping story that captivates consumers. Buyers expect companies to provide information and a high degree of honesty about ingredients, including their origin and production processes. At Cargill, we have taken these desires to heart, developing supply chains across our ingredients portfolio that meet these requirements for transparency and sustainability.
Too often we see brands approach sustainability in terms of individual products, but we believe customers should take a more holistic view. To illustrate the possibilities, we’ve created a sustainable cookie concept that shows how brands can really bring sustainable sourcing to life. It demonstrates that, whatever the product or the customer’s challenge, we have the ingredient portfolio and global reach to help them achieve their sustainability goals.