Frozen: better than fresh?


The Taste Tomorrow survey shows that consumers primarily judge the freshness of bakery products by their smell, crunchiness, and the moment of baking. It is therefore important that bakeries and supermarkets optimise the freshness in their stores. Paul Rogmans, product manager bakery at Puratos, shares his insights on the subject, and discusses opportunities for using frozen bakery applications.

What is fresh?

The Taste Tomorrow survey shows that a majority of consumers around the world still prefer fresh food to the frozen or packaged variety. But how do you define fresh?

'In agriculture, fresh means recently harvested or unprocessed,' Rogmans says. 'In a supermarket, it might mean a minimum of time between preparation and consumption. I think a bakery item is fresh if it recently came out of the oven, or has the same characteristics as a directly processed product: soft, not dry, with a crispy crust where appropriate, and with a good taste and aroma.'

'People regard frozen food as further away from its original source. However, the main concern should not be the loss of freshness itself, but losing the characteristics of freshness like taste and texture. I think the question should be: does this food taste as good as it possibly could?'


No hiding

Rogmans says the right freezing technology can provide the same characteristics as a directly processed  product, but bakers are often reluctant to use it. 'A clever baker can be proud to use the best technology available, making top-quality products without the need to add preservatives for convenience and availability. Improving the perception of freshness is not about hiding the fact that bread bread was baked from a  parbaked or frozen dough. It’s about informing the consumer properly, and showing that you can provide fresh-quality products all day.'

Frozen: better than fresh?

Consumers prefer parbaked

The majority of Belgian consumers say they prefer baked goods that are directly processed on the spot. 'However, with our unique mobile laboratory, the "Sensobus", we proved something different. During a test we got people to taste three different baguettes, without telling them how each had been made: one directly processed, one made from frozen dough, and one parbaked frozen intermediate. By far the most popular baguette was the parbaked one, which had been baked off the most recently.'

Poorly informed

Interestingly, when the participants were told how the baguettes had been prepared, and thus where faced to the fact they liked the freshness of the Parbaked the most, a large proportion of consumers made a positive mind shift towards the frozen bread method. This was because they realized that the baked-off baguette tasted fresh because it had come most recently from the oven and was available throughout the day. These insights clearly show that consumers are not fully aware of the advantages of freezing technologies, but can shift their opinions once they realize how it works. This shows that retailers, foodservice operators and artisans alike should focus primarily on fresh product-qualities, while being open about the use of freezing technologies.

Freezing technology

In 1982 Puratos launched the first improver for frozen dough. 'We understand the challenges facing bakers, are always looking for innovations to support them, and believe that freezing is a great way to ensure fresh quality. Our solutions combine technology, recipe and process expertise to provide total convenience for our customers.'

Frozen: better than fresh?

  • Parbaked frozen products: for the most convenient bake-off
    At the point of sale, a quick bake-off is needed to provide warm bakery products for consumers to enjoy at every moment of the day.
  • Prefermented frozen products for convenient fresh quality
    Baked at the point of sale. This is the easiest way to make fresh-quality bakery products available for demanding consumers throughout the day.
  • Unfermented frozen products: making the baker’s life easier
    This method brings convenience for bakeries, but still requires thawing, proofing and baking at the point of sale for truly fresh-baked quality.

Each technology has specific challenges and requires different solutions, formulas and processes.

Peace of mind

In recent years, the quality of industrially processed frozen foods has consistently increased, and freezing technology is gaining in popularity. However, the difference within markets is enormous.

Frozen: better than fresh?

As a reliable partner in innovation, Puratos can support you with all aspects of frozen baking technology. To find out how your company can benefit, contact your local Puratos representative.