The art of crumb coating

Crunchy, crispy coatings are still important to consumers, and GEA expounds on why controlling the crumb is crucial to convenience

Two out of three consumers globally are looking for simple and convenient ways to ensure the intake of nutrients on a daily basis. They want clean ingredients, impactful flavors and textures – more choice in a burgeoning market is crucial in adapting to market trends. It is thus no wonder that the convenience foods sector is booming, set to grow by 7.2% CAGR by 2033.

In light of these demands, how are convenience food producers innovating to stay ahead of the curve? And why is crumb coating so significant in meeting demand from all generations of convenience food consumers?

New trends demand new solutions

Over the last 12 months, consumer trends for convenience crumb-coated products have cited visual appeal and texture as two main drivers behind a purchase. Crispy/crunchy coatings in particular are experiencing consistent growth in demand. The meat substitutes category is seeing the highest growth for “crispy, crunchy and cracking” claims at 21.9%, while the meat, fish and eggs category is seeing 7.0% (CAGR 5 years ending Q2 2022). This could be something as simple as adding crunchy salad leaves to a takeaway burger, or a light and crispy breadcrumb coating with flax and sunflower seeds.

The makeup of modern crumb coating is a mixture of small and large particles and multiple colours – particularly with speciality crumbs. There are four key attributes to a crumb coating: colour, appearance, texture and flavour, and innovative new crumb coatings provide all four along with enhanced mouthfeel. The key to success in crumb coating is the triangle between food manufacturer, ingredients supplier and machine engineering: understanding the relationship and working together maximises success.

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