21 Jun 2022
Our always-on monitoring of social media conversations and search behavior gives us insight into the food trends people adore. What recipes are they eager to try? Which new ingredients do they like or want to avoid? And are there any diets they are on? Our special AI technology analyses online behavior and identifies these three biggest trends in bakery, patisserie and chocolate across the Spanish, Portuguese, French, German, and Italian language areas:
In the Spanish-speaking world, the five trending topics are:
Carrot cake and potato cake were bakes cropping up in Spanish conversations around veg-based patisserie, but variants on cheesecake and brownies with vegetables drew lots of attention as well. Spanish-speaking online audiences had a preference for sweet preparations based on veggies. The most surprising one is pumpkin pie: this North-American classic has been adopted as a favorite in Spanish-speaking countries around the Day of the Dead festivities and Halloween.
Spanish social data showed a focus on key vegan ingredients and popular products. Terms such as dairy-free cheesecake, vegan burger, tofu, coconut, and carrot are used a great deal, revealing consumers’ interest in a wide range of plant-based foods. For vegan cheesecakes, oat milk and almond milk were popular ingredients for replacing cream cheese.
Latin America is a growth market for organic products, and it shows. As consumers are focused more on their health, they’re investigating natural or clean-label products. Online, they’re looking for new brands to try and sharing their experiences with their peers on social media.
Social media in Portuguese -speaking countries saw a lot of mentions of these terms in relation to bread, patisserie, and chocolate:
Although not a new invention, the Portuguese sweet potato cookie (broas) was a massive online trend. This treat was featured on social media at several times throughout the year: during the festive season as a Christmas cookie, in July when sweet potatoes are in season, and in October as a Halloween snack. Other vegetable-based patisserie terms that frequently cropped up in our data are brownies, chocolates, and pie.
Portuguese-speaking people love their cakes. That’s why they’re mostly interested in vegan versions of their favorite bakes. In particular, cakes with carrot, banana, chocolate and pumpkin are highly sought after, linking this trend to vegetable-based patisserie as well. Other vegan sweets that gained traction are chocolate, cupcakes, macarons, cookies, and dulche de leche. And, to include one savory option, vegan bread had some volume as well. Many preparations were both plant-based and gluten-free, so we can assume that these diets are often combined.
Increasing health and environmental consciousness is creating a rising demand for natural and organic foods in Portuguese-speaking countries. Brazil, the largest of the bunch, is the leading market for organic products in Latin America. On a global scale, Brazil is still relatively behind when it comes to organic food consumption. The market is growing, though, which is reflected in this third-place position, and will likely continue to expand over the years to come.
During online conversations in French, these bakery, patisserie and chocolate-related topics were most discussed:
The French-speaking world is mostly interested in natural and organic products. Consumers are looking out for brands and products that offer transparency and have a clean label. The production method and origin of the ingredients are the biggest consideration factors. When it comes to organic food, chocolate and bread are the two product categories French-speaking consumers prefer to indulge themselves with.
The number one plant-based product that French-speaking consumers are fond of? Chocolate! The selection of vegan chocolate products has grown considerably with new bars, desserts, sweets, and cookies hitting the shelves. The data reflects this, with lots of consumers sampling new plant-based options out of curiosity, or to compare them to their non-vegan counterparts.
In France, consumers reach for alternative flours as they seek out greater nutritional value. However, dietary goals play a part in the choice for different types of flour as well. Rice flour in particular is used for these reasons. We see a broad interest in recipes, ingredients, and the baking process combined with special grains and flours, making this a typical home-baking trend.
German-speaking consumers mentioned these three trends most often on social media:
Veganism is the most discussed food topic among German-speaking social media users. Ingredients and recipes are much debated, and to a lesser extent plant-based products. Bread in particular is a hot item. People are interested in plant-based spreads, garlic and herb baguettes, and butter alternatives. Sweet bread goods, such as milk rolls and raisin bread, frequently crop up as well. For those vegan baked treats, bananas and protein powder are often used to replace milk, butter, or eggs.
Social volumes concerning natural and organic foods have steadily increased over the last two years. In the German language, we see a huge interest for chocolate products made with pesticide-free cacao. Specific companies are sought out as well, to find out more about both the product range or the specifics of ‘natural’ claims.
German consumers are on the hunt for refined sugar alternatives. Honey is the dominant sugar substitute, but the data reveals that maple syrup is also often considered. Interestingly, we’ve seen a dip in searches on sugar substitutes during the summer months, which may mean that people lower the bar a bit for themselves during the vacation season.
In the Italian language area, our data highlighted these as the three most popular conversation topics online:
Italian-speaking consumers are particularly interested in substituting refined sugar; nowhere else in the world is this trend so popular. For the past half year, honey has been the go-to substitute for consumers here. However, there is certainly buzz around other substitutes and sugar-reduction as well. This trend offers producers major opportunities to market their products as low-sugar or no-sugar here.
How do you prepare vegan recipes with classic regional ingredients? That is a question Italian consumers asked a great deal online over the past months. Oil in particular was often mentioned alongside plant-based terms, be it traditional extra virgin olive oil or sunflower oil. The plant-based preparations with oil people are after not just savory recipes, but also plant-based bakes where oil serves as a butter substitute.
We dubbed vegetable-based patisserie the new star of the bakery sector last year, and the winning streak continues. The cakes, cookies, and pies made for instance with pumpkin, zucchini, or beets remain the largest social trend globally, and manage to secure a third place in Italy as well. In our latest analysis of the trend, we identify four main drivers for this popularity: the visual appeal, novelty aspect, perceived health benefits, and ingredient availability.
We’ve also collected data for the languages English, Chinese and Japanese. Discover the top trends there, too.