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New sourdough products that can fuel your business growth

2 May 2022

Taste Tomorrow

The massive spike in online searches for sourdough from 2020 is over, but interest for bakery and patisserie products with this natural leavener remains high. During the Covid-19 lockdowns, we saw home bakers' interest in sourdough peaking. Now consumers are hoping to find sourdough applications in shops as well. 

Sourdough fits in with the fermented product hype, making it perfect for product differentiation. Sourdough is considered a special and indulging end product. It offers consumers a feeling of authenticity and well-being. Below are 7 new applications of sourdough that can grow your business.

Sourdough awareness

Before we dive into the various new sourdough applications, it is important to realize that awareness of sourdough as an ingredient for bread strongly differs between regions. In our Taste Tomorrow consumer survey, we found that 35% of consumers globally are familiar with the naturally leavened dough. Especially in Europe and North America sourdough products are a staple product at bakeries and supermarkets. In South America and the Asia-Pacific region, sourdough is less established with respectively 20% and 18% consumer awareness.

Our online AI data shows that sourdough is a popular topic in the Russian, English and Italian language. German, Portuguese, Spanish and French are in the second tier. Sourdough is mostly discussed in the context of home baking in Russian and Italian, with terms such as ‘fridge’, ‘hands’, ‘hours’ and ‘recipe’. In the English language, we can already see signs of experimentation with sourdough applications besides bread. Among the most discussed sourdough topics are ‘focaccia’, ‘pizza’ and ‘cinnamon’, hinting towards interesting product differentiations.

Our data-science team has been combining data sources to render insights into preferences and perceptions related to sourdough. They found these 7 products to be the most promising sourdough applications:

1. Sourdough croissants

There are already over 13,9K posts on Instagram tagged #sourdoughcroissants, making this one of the more established new sourdough applications. A large number of photos on the social media platform display a cross-section of a croissant that is particularly airy. It’s the curiosity of bakers that sparked the challenge of baking croissants totally different, and sourdough's taste that makes it worth the effort.  

Research in the Puratos Quest for Sourdough project shows that sourdough lends itself well for laminated and other rich baked goods. So it might be a good evolution that a product with a 100% yeast heritage is now being converted to sourdough; bringing its famous taste to new applications and well-being only sourdough brings. Consumer taste tests found a consumer preference for a ‘melting’ or ‘buttery’ croissant – and sourdough croissants really rate well on those factors.

2. Sourdough cruffins and other hybrids

Croissant hybrids have been around since 2016 and have not yet suffered from a loss of popularity. So when the sourdough croissant started popping up, we’ve seen sourdough hybrids coming to life as well. Especially the sourdough cruffin – a croissant muffin crossover – can be found at several bakeries around the world. 

But the list of hybrid baked goods with croissants is long and ever-expanding, so there are plenty of other opportunities for you to apply sourdough. Why not try a sourdough cronut, cragel, croiffle or tacro? Those hybrid pastries are all part croissants.

3. Sourdough brioche

The rich and fluffy brioche bread with its tender crumb is tried among home-bakers, but the rich bread using lots of egg and butter is difficult to achieve. That is why it’s an interesting product for especially artisanal bakers. When home-bakers realize they can’t pull it off, they will be searching for an alternative in stores.

Brioche is also ideal, because it has many applications itself. It can be made into a loaf or small burger buns for a savory application. But you can also take the sweet route and turn it into a cake or pastries by adding fruits, cream or chocolate.

4. Sourdough cereal

This is another invention that came from home bakers using up their discards: sourdough cereal. They used sourdough to make their own healthy variation on cornflakes or breakfast cereal, without the sugar and with the added health benefits of the fermentation of the dough.

Again, there are possibilities for artisanal or industrial bakeries as well. DSM’s 2019 Breakfast Insights survey showed that one in four consumers spend less than five minutes on breakfast on weekdays.  The surveyed consumers from Germany, the Netherlands, Spain, France, Sweden, the UK and the US further said that breakfast should be easy to eat (78%) and that they preferred healthy over tasty (65%). A sourdough cereal - or the sourdough muesli by Krumb Kraft here below - ticks the boxes for an easy, fast and healthy breakfast. 

5. Sourdough pizza

The success of sourdough pizza is in the crispy crust and artisanal look. Sourdough adds flavor to the dough that compliments the richness of pizza toppings. The health aspects of the fermented dough offer a further well-being bonus. 

The sourdough pizza can be found at restaurants around the world, from classic Italian restaurants like the ones by Renato Bosco in Northern Italy to trendy pizzeria’s in Berlin or Singapore. Renato Bosco’s dough can even be found in Puratos’ Sourdough Library. Sourdough pizza is making its way into the mainstream as well. Budget supermarket Aldi for instance sells sourdough pizza dough to create pizza at home and in Australian supermarkets, Cucina Classica sells sourdough pizza made with local ingredients only.

6. Sourdough panettone

The classic Italian panettone Christmas bread is a sourdough application that home-bakers won’t easily embark on, since it is an intricate multi-day process that requires sourdough starter modifications. But the use of sourdough does give a way tastier end result than using baker's yeast. So in short: the perfect opportunity for you to step in with your version.

Take the example from the Australian Zeally Bay Sourdough, who cleverly market their sourdough panettone towards conscious consumers. They emphasize their product is free from sulfates and yeast and GMO ingredients. They also promote the artisanal quality by highlighting the ‘family nurtured leaven’ and the skill of their artisan bakers that is required to achieve this ‘remarkably difficult’ bake. 

7. Sourdough bagels

The signature chewy, sweet taste of bagels lends itself perfectly as a sourdough application. No wonder the sourdough bagel can already be found in various supermarkets such as Tesco, Sainsbury’s and Marks & Spencer. And even though sourdough is not very common in Asia, handmade sourdough bagels can even be found at the Japanese Cafe Goryo.

Interested in consumer data-driven expansion of your product portfolio?

Then you might want to give power ingredients a go as well. Including for instance nuts, fruits or wholegrain in your bread, patisserie and chocolate will make consumers see them as both healthier and tastier. 

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