Singapore / SG. (fha) In a Euromonitor forecast, the Asian baked goods market is expected to grow from a value of USD 74 billion this year, to almost four percent year-on-year up to 2024. Bakeries and pastry shops are expected to be investing in technology to automate their production lines to meet rising demand. In the latest FHA Insider Special report, «Baking industry embrace technology for transformation» released this week, industry experts shared their insights into global purchase trends of bakery equipment and how bakeries and food professionals are using technology to grow their business.
The report, developed by FHA-HoReCa, Asia’s most comprehensive industry event hospitality and foodservice supplies, investigated the factors driving industry growth, and the increasing need for automation or technology upgrades. Attributing the growth to «expansion of distribution channels, manufacturing facilities, and product innovations in terms of flavours and product types in various countries», Aileen Supriyadi, Research Analyst for Euromonitor, explained that, «The growth is also pushed by the growing artisanal baked goods production as consumers are demanding fresher and healthier products, including products that have no preservatives, low sugar, or lower trans-fat.»
«We see a market full of opportunities,» said Achille Sassoli, Market Development Director of the Carpigiani Group, a global manufacturer of production equipment for fresh ice cream and pastry ingredients. In addition to pastry shops adding artisanal gelato in all its variations, he pointed out that restaurants are introducing gelato and sorbet in their menu as a dessert, and as an element in their recipes.
Demand aside, Kelvin Teo, Regional Sales Director of Swiss equipment manufacturer Rondo for Southeast Asia and Legal Representative for China, said that factors such as manpower shortage, increased hygiene requirement and regulations, the need to maintain consistent quality even when producing high volume of baked goods, and the economy of scale brought about by increasing production levels are also strong factors for bakery operators to upgrade their equipment.
While improved productivity gains can be made from technology investment, the report touched on the user perspective as well. Chef Gary Lim, President of the Singapore Pastry Alliance, felt that chefs should not be overly reliant on machinery and should instead work on enhancing their knowledge and skills in the production kitchen environment. Pointing out some of the disadvantages such as the high cost of equipment, he also noted the long-term impact on the authenticity of the trade if the business becomes fully dependent on machinery production.
«Machines can’t totally replace humans due to certain jobs which still require a human touch. But on the other hand, it can help to increase production volume and quality, better consistency and reduce physically labour-intensive jobs to promote company profit,» he said.
Concurring, Chef Daniel Tay, founder of Singapore-based Foodgnostic, a private label food manufacturer specialising in cakes said, «Skills are always important. You must have the skills first, before you can use the technology.»