“As a result of the growing influence of health claims regulations, particularly in the EU and North America, the functional bread sector has generally seen much lower levels of new product and promotional activity over the past few years,” said Lu Ann Williams, director of innovation at Innova Market Insights. “This does not mean that interest in healthier options has reduced, however, but more that the positioning of bread has changed to focus more on a generally healthy and nutritious image, rather than making specific claims.”
Innova Market Insights divided health claims and positioning into two types— passive (such as low and light, organic, gluten-free, etc.) and active (the addition of particular ingredients, such as calcium, protein, fiber, etc., or the promotion of specific benefits such as heart health or digestive health). Globally, passive claims dominated in the bread market, with more than 40% of launches using them in 2013, compared with just 5% using active claims of some kind. Again this varies regionally, with more than 11% of launches using active claims in the U.S., compared with 6% in Asia and 3% in Europe.
The most popular health claims in the bread market overall referred to naturalness, with one-fifth of 2013 launches using one or more claims relating to naturalness, an additive- or preservative-free formulation or an organic positioning. Nearly 17% used either high-in-/source-of-fiber claims or a whole grain positioning. In terms of active health claims, usage was much lower, with the most frequently used being vitamin and mineral fortification, featured on 1.5% of launches, ahead of omega-3/DHA fortification and heart health, with about 1% each.