Social media has been something of a saviour in the past year—helping to break the isolation of lockdown. But it’s done far more than give us a way to keep in contact with friends or pass some idle moments. It’s also given us the chance to ‘travel’—through what we eat.

British Bakels predicts that staying one step ahead of the competition this year will be all about taking your customers on a journey. While we may not be able to travel physically for a while yet, what customers choose to buy at the bakery can take them on culinary adventures across the globe—no passport required. The demand for international flavours will grow, our taste buds will know no boundaries and consumers will be seeking out global tastes in their droves.

Social Media has a lot to answer for

Social media and bakery creations are a match made in heaven. Whether it’s sharing about an amazing ube cheese pandesal you’ve just eaten for breakfast, showcasing your own creations or tapping into the millions of cookery demos online – if it wasn’t on social media then did it even happen? 

In fact, you could go as far to say that social media has broadened our tastes: 50 per cent of food aficionados state that they’ll search for new ingredients in online recipe videos. And the internet is set to stay, opening up all sorts of new culinary adventures for foodies.

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Global goes big

Though staples like doughnuts, bread and pastries will always have their place, today’s consumers are demanding more. According to one report, Prove it: a viennoiserie focus, 38 per cent of pastry eaters surveyed are looking for more options on the shelves of their local bakery. In particular, 27 per cent say they’d like to see a wider choice of flavours available, and 19 per cent confirm they’re in the market for pastry choices that are new or innovative. In a separate report from Mintel, A Year Of Innovation In Cakes And Sweet Bakery, an overwhelming 65 per cent of UK consumers stated they were looking for more innovative flavours in sweet bakery offerings.

But, you may be wondering what exactly you should be stocking your shelves with—after all, you already have a pizza slice, right? This appetite for exotic baked goods embraces not only the trend for international flavours but also the thirst for the next big thing, so you’re going to need to look beyond Europe for your inspiration.

Keep things familiar

Showcasing your new, flavoursome options is one way to increase those impulse buys: your customers may have popped in to purchase their usual loaf of bread, but end up leaving with something extra that they’ve never tried before, intrigued by the prospect of discovering a new favourite. What’s going to be important to attract customers to your new international flavours is to introduce them in a familiar way. Look to foreign climes for your flavour inspiration but apply them to your tried and trusted recipes.

So here are our top baked goods and international flavours that we think will soon be enticing customers from bakery shelves.

Pizza babka

You may have already heard of babka—a sweet, leavened dish that is a cross between bread and cake – but we think its cousin, the pizza babka, will be making waves in 2021. Savoury babkas are nothing new, but the pizza babka really took off thanks to one New York chef. When Bill Clark, owner of the now-closed Meme’s Diner, posted a recipe and mouth-watering photos of his version of pizza babka, he earned himself a legion of fans and a new food crush was born. Clark’s version was full of typical pizza toppings: tomato paste, mozzarella cheese, garlic butter and pepperoni—but just as with pizza anything goes.


Two key trends that we expect to see continuing a pace in 2021 is that for health-based foods and increased demand for vegan baked goods. Fitting right into this profile is Halva, a Middle Eastern confection, which is nutty, sweet and has a crumbly, fudge-like texture. The growing increase in halva also ties in with the soaring popularity of tahini—sesame paste; the key ingredient of this dish. Global sales of tahini are expected to top $6,896.6 million by 2025—up from 2020’s figure of $5406.1 million.

This is a product that will speak to your health-conscious customers who are looking to treat themselves without falling head first into a cream cake: as it’s both vegan and an excellent source of iron.

For bakeries, this versatile dish becomes even more attractive when you learn that it can be kept at room temperature even during the height of summer, removing the need for additional refrigeration. Something else to consider is that halva is not only a dish in its own right but can be added to many bakery products for a new twist. Halva can be shredded, crumbled or chopped and added to brownies, cookies, and cakes both in the base mix or as a topping.

Korean cream cheese garlic buns

When you’re in the business of dough, it makes sense to stick with what you know. But that doesn’t mean you can’t mix up your products. Consumers’ palettes have never been more diverse and we’ve seen a steady increase in the demand for sweet-and-savoury combinations. And Korean cream cheese garlic bun – a tasty twist on the classic garlic bread – perfectly fits the bill. These tasty buns have been doing the rounds on social media recently, but have been a firm favourite at Korean street food markets for years. After baking a sweet bun, it’s stuffed with sweet cream cheese and then coated in butter, egg and garlic before being baked again to crisp perfection.

All things Japanese

With this year’s Olympics taking place in Tokyo we think 2021 is going to be a big year for Japanese flavours. Last year saw the first-ever Japanese week celebrated in the Bake Off tent. Before our ability to travel was curtailed Japan was one of the top destinations for overseas travellers—with numbers reaching a record high of 31.19million in 2018, up 8.7 per cent in the previous year and continuing a seven-year growth pattern.

It seems the food is a big pull. In a Mintel survey, 43 per cent of UK consumers stated Japanese was a cuisine they’d like to try for themselves. Of course we’re not suggesting you slot in a sushi bar to your bakery but you can introduce some Asian flair to your current line of products.

These new flavours are likely to be well received by customers when combined with traditional bakery goods, taking away some of the element of the unknown. Think yuzu custard doughnuts, matcha tea sponge cakes and wasabi muffins. Cherry blossom is also being championed as a key flavour for 2021. It’s a taste that blends well with chocolate – perhaps why Kit Kat launched a cherry blossom flavoured version of the popular snack in Japan.


Mochi ties in nicely to the above trend for all things Japanese but such is its incredible popularity right now that we think it deserves a mention all of its own. This pounded, sticky rice dish originates from Japan and is currently most well known for its use to envelop ice cream for little bite-sized treats. Little Moons—the ice cream/mochi mash-up brand that is most well known—has reported a huge 700 per cent increase in sales in January supermarket sales, compared to December 2020.

But for innovative bakeries, this dessert can be used for more than just encasing ice cream. How does a mochi-topped doughnut sound? Or if you want to make even more of a bigger impact why not create your own mochi kebabs?

International Group of Bakels companies

As an international group of companies, we have a broad knowledge of international bakery trends. With access to a wide range of ingredients from across the continents, suited to local trends and tastes, we are here to support your developments, to bring the taste of different regions to your local bakery – Speak to us today.