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frozen baking replace bakers?
“Hand made snacks, baked that day.”
This is the biggest selling point of the hot new Chinese snacks under the coat of “national tide”.
However, if you see that the clerk takes out the frozen cake embryo from the freezer and puts it into the oven, and then take a look at the dessert that took half an hour to buy in line, does it feel bad in an instant?
“Handmade” dim sum sounds like a beautiful business story, but real handcraft is in contradiction with chain and scale. In fact, in pastry and other mature industrialized categories, it is a common phenomenon for baking stores to use frozen baking semi-finished products. “Freshly baked” is true, “hand-made” is not necessary.
As a result, while the dessert bureau is blooming everywhere and the baking brand intensifies the “inner roll”, the frozen baking manufacturers at the upstream of the industrial chain quietly stand at the tuyere.
Since the beginning of this year, two companies with related businesses, Likao food (300973. SZ) and Nanqiao food (605339. SH), have landed in the capital market. Facing the supply gap, they are also actively planning to expand production, establish factories in different regions and sell their products to more individual bakeries, chains, tea and coffee shops, supermarkets and consumers with ovens at home.
However, China’s frozen baking market is still in its infancy, and the expansion of categories still needs to rely on technological development. At the same time, market education is also very important, which is also a problem that baking must face in the process of commercialization in China.
Frozen baking can also be “fresh”
“Are you a freshly baked Feller today?”
In a new Chinese bakery store, a Shanghai uncle who came to buy asked the clerk. Through the glass window behind the clerk, you can see the busy clerk and the oven with lights on. After getting a positive answer, the uncle bought some snacks and swept the yard with satisfaction to pay for leaving.
Young people are also easily attracted by the smell of freshly baked bread when shopping in shopping malls. Even there was a long line in front of the baking area of Sam’s club, just to buy a box of net sweet potato bags for more than 20 yuan.
In situ baking has become the absolute mainstream of the baking industry. According to Euromonitor consulting, the baking terminal market will reach 235.8 billion yuan in 2020, with a compound growth rate of 9% in 15-20 years. Among them, the growth rate of on-site baking products is faster, accounting for a higher proportion. In 2020, on-site baking products accounted for 72% of the scale of the baking industry, with a compound growth rate of 9.9% in 15-20 years.
The mode of “shop in front and factory in back” is generally adopted for on-site baking, that is, front-end window display and back-end kitchen production. Compared with pre baking stores, this model requires more fixed equipment, larger store area and more professional bakers.
This means higher production costs, and the products of baked goods stores should be more expensive. But why do bakeries often have three baked goods for 10 yuan? The wife cake in the new Chinese bakery only costs two or three yuan?
The answer is that this kind of pastry baking products has achieved a high degree of industrialization. Most stores will choose to use frozen baking products, which are transported to the stores through the cold chain and stored in the freezer. Every morning, the baking master will send them to the oven for baking and then sell them.
These frozen semi-finished products usually have a shelf life of 6 to 9 months. According to the different process nodes of rapid freezing, frozen dough can be divided into pre segmentation, pre molding, pre awakening, pre baking and full baking products. The processes completed in the factory increase in turn, and the skill requirements for store bakers decrease one by one.
Preformed frozen dough is the most widely used type at present, such as western style Kesong, egg tart skin and Denmark. It can be sent to the oven for baking only after waking up after thawing. Chinese pastries such as egg yolk pastry, durian pastry and wife cake do not contain yeast and do not need to wake up. The industrial production technology of these semi-finished products has been very mature, the requirements for cold chain distribution are relatively low, and the taste can be almost restored, even more than on-site production.
This kind of product is a fixed category sold in almost every bakery, so external collection is a better choice, which can not only save the pastry equipment and site, but also maintain the stable taste.
The category selection of new Chinese baking is very “smart”. Their single product configuration can be roughly divided into classic products and innovative products, avoiding the category with obvious Western baking label such as bread. Classic products include durian pastry, flower cake, egg yolk pastry, etc; Examples of innovative products include tapioca, cake rolls, puffs and dish tarts. The latter often combines some other elements, such as meat floss cake with Mashu Ci, puff with Yang Zhi manna flavor, and plate tart with chocolate flowing heart. This is a combination of “supplementing the long tail” and “creating a popular style”.
For bakeries, the use of frozen baking on long tail products can well balance the freshly baked taste and the operating cost of bakeries. “95% of bakeries don’t make egg tarts by themselves.” Li Penghui, a person in the baking industry, told the author.
In addition, this kind of mature frozen semi-finished products have gradually moved from the kitchen at the back end of the baking store to the family table. When you open the e-commerce platform, you can see many “same models of baking stores”, which are delivered home by cold chain express after placing an order. If you have an oven in your house, making a quick Kwai toast can be as convenient as making a quick frozen dumpling.
Freezing baking air outlet
China’s baking industry is a busy track. The industry started late, with a compound growth rate of about 10% in recent years. It is one of the fastest growing segments of the food industry. However, the concentration of the baking industry is low. Euromonitor data show that the market share of the top five brands in the industry is only 11%, and they are packaging baking brands, such as Dali food, peach and plum bread, etc. in the field of current baking, no brand has an absolute market voice. At present, there are only some regional chain brands, such as Haolilai, 85 ° C, bread Xinyu, etc.
The market grows fast, there is no absolute giant, followed by fierce competition. The old brand ends and the new brand grows savagely. Old baking brands such as yizhiduo in Shanghai, buoyant forest in Hangzhou and Donghai hall in Guangdong closed their stores in the middle of this year. The old net is as popular as the original wheat hill, and the new words of bread began to withdraw from the store, gradually fading out of the sight of consumers. At the same time, new Chinese baking brands such as Momo dim sum Bureau, Hutou Bureau, Standard Chartered cake bank and Luxi River were chased by capital.
In the survival of the fittest, bakery stores are looking for a more optimized store profit model to survive.
The epidemic situation is an important point in time. A relevant person from a frozen baking company told the author that the frozen dough business increased significantly during the epidemic. In many bakeries, the demand for frozen dough is increasing due to the inability of bakers to go to the store.
Lai Zhoushan graduated from jib Japan bread Technology Research Institute. She once participated in R & D management and market development in Japan baking group. After returning home, she founded CIB baking technology research institute together with industry professionals. She told the author that the demand for consultation, courses and talent training of frozen baking has increased significantly in recent one or two years.
Thanks to the strong demand of downstream bakeries, supermarkets and catering stores, China’s frozen baking suppliers have stood at the capital outlet. Legao food and Nanqiao food are listed this year to accelerate the expansion of production through financing. The former also has an identity as a supplier of Sam’s Club net’s red cassava bags. In addition to cassava, its products also include egg tart, doughnuts, Kesong and Chinese pastry; The latter provides European bags for Naixue’s tea, and the product line is more high-end, including pineapple bags, Denmark, Kesong, etc.
The prospectus also revealed more information. Even if some large chain baking brands have their own central factories, they will choose to purchase from a third party on some mature items. Caidiexuan, weiduomei, baoxinyu, luxihe and other baking brands are customers of LEGO frozen baking products.
According to the Journal of food and machinery, in 1949, only 3% of bakeries in the United States used frozen baked foods, which increased to 39% in 1961 and 80% in 1990. In France, frozen bread accounted for more than 50% of bread sales in 1994, and 50% of bakeries in Japan used frozen baked foods as early as 2000.
There is no authoritative statistics on the penetration rate of frozen dough in the Chinese market, and the data published by some institutions and literature in 2019 is less than 10%. According to a research report of Zhongtai securities, the current market scale of frozen baking in China is about 10 billion-20 billion yuan. The domestic frozen baking industry has at least four times the space in the baking store channel, and the growth rate will be higher than that of the downstream baking industry, maintaining in the range of 15-20%.
In terms of product types, frozen baking is still in the primary stage of development in China. At present, China’s frozen baking factories focus on the production of products with relatively low technical content, resulting in the problem of homogenization and even falling into price competition – which is also transmitted to the downstream. The products of many baking stores are very similar and eat no different.
In addition to technology and logistics, cultural differences are also a barrier
Technology is the cornerstone of promoting the progress of an industry, as is the case with frozen baking. The development of products that can more restore the taste of ready-made dough is a difficulty that China’s frozen dough manufacturers need to overcome.
Chinese pastry does not contain yeast, but western bread contains yeast. Yeast is extremely sensitive to temperature. If the temperature conditions for production and storage are improper, the dead yeast will affect the product quality of dough. With the application of sugar tolerant and freeze resistant yeast and bread improver, the stability of dough has been gradually improved.
In addition to yeast, frozen dough also has higher requirements for flour, oil and other raw materials. Many large frozen baking suppliers are also baking raw material suppliers, with different raw material advantages. For example, Nanqiao food is mainly engaged in baking grease; LEGO food was originally a raw material supplier. Later, it acquired aokun food and expanded its frozen baking business. In addition, golden dragon fish (300999. SZ), one of China’s largest grain and oil suppliers, is also planning the production line of frozen dough.
“The more soft bread reaches the back end of frozen dough, the higher the technical difficulty is. Pastry products can maintain good shape through oil support and water vapor, and the final baked products are also very close to the freshly baked products. However, soft bread will damage yeast and tissue after rapid freezing due to more internal moisture. Therefore, in terms of shape maintenance and quality control Relatively more difficult. ” Lai Zhoushan said.
Frozen baking needs the whole process cold chain to maintain the stability of products. Logistics conditions restrict the sales radius of frozen baking.
A company with self built logistics such as LEGO food can transport products to dealers through the cold chain, but even so, the process of dealers delivering goods to baking stores is still difficult to control.
A senior person engaged in the research and development of frozen dough technology said that raw materials, equipment, formula, process and cold chain are a system for the production of frozen baking, and any technical link is very important for the final stability of the product.
The above senior R & D personnel further said that when the technical barriers have not been broken through, many domestic freeze baking manufacturers focus on products with low technical content. In order to maintain the low price advantage, it is inevitable that some enterprises will use inferior raw materials. Referring to the development of European and American enterprises, the real benign cost reduction cycle is to improve production efficiency, such as reducing dough loss, expanding sales, optimizing cold chain distribution, and optimizing packaging.
However, technological development should also match the needs of the market.
The demand for frozen dough changes with the baking terminal. The baking industry is still in the development stage in China, and the product structure of retail terminals is also changing, which is quite different from the types of products provided by frozen baking. In the process of changing the role of baked goods from desserts and snacks to staple foods, the preferences of Chinese consumers are still difficult to figure out. Where is the potential demand of the market in the future, and manufacturers of frozen baking dare not bet easily.
This is actually the impact of dietary cultural differences on commercialization.
Lai Zhoushan pointed out that the domestic positioning of bread and the demand for bread taste and flavor are different from mature markets such as Europe and the United States. For example, the demand for bread, the staple food of European bread, has developed in recent years, but the market is still limited. This has also led to the fact that domestic enterprises are not willing to invest funds and energy to solve relevant technical problems at this stage. “The research and development of frozen dough needs to invest more cost, and the market demand needs to be considered.”
In China, chain brands generally choose to open stores in shopping malls when entering the market. In order to seize better points and greater passenger flow, they need to pay high rents, and the price of freshly baked bread remains high. But in Europe, bread is sold as a staple food. You can buy freshly baked French sticks for 1 euro in street window stores.
“A bread costs more than ten yuan, of which the rent cost accounts for too much, and the ingredients themselves are not worth so much. If bread is to become a daily consumer goods, consumers should not have so much economic pressure.” Li Penghui said. In his opinion, a better bakery form is to sink into the community, make the store as small as possible, and turn it into a steamed stuffed bun shop with affordable and easy to buy products.
Will frozen baking replace bakers?
Baking is a hard job. When he was an apprentice in the bakery, Wang Lin got up at four o’clock every morning and began to rub noodles in the store at five o’clock. At nine o’clock, the first batch of bread came out and opened the door to meet the first batch of “migrant workers” who rushed to work.
It takes time to be a good baker. Li Penghui said that he has been engaged in the baking industry for 12 years and is still learning and innovating. “The ‘inside volume’ in this line is too serious. If you don’t learn, you will fall behind.”
Hard work and need to grow up. Today, with the rapid economic development, fewer and fewer people are willing to settle down to engage in this industry in the face of more cost-effective job choices.
“Training a machine is much faster than training a group of people.” Li Penghui said.
Freeze baking relies on industrialized technology, which liberates manpower to a certain extent. However, even if the frozen baking technology develops to a very mature stage in the future, the role of Baker is still important.
“Many things in the technology chain can be replaced by machinery, but many key nodes still depend on ‘people’. For example, the judgment of mixing state, the control of fermentation degree, the quality adjustment of dough and the running in of baking link all need to rely on people’s experience.” Lai Zhoushan told the author.
In the wave of industrialization, the decline of handicraft industry is inevitable. But there is no need to talk about the color change of “industrialization” and blindly pursue the so-called handmade. Frozen baking is helping consumers eat cheaper bread with good taste, helping baking stores save costs and survive longer, helping bakers liberate from repeated work and focus more on innovation. “The industry needs more creative talents. Application R & D personnel are not only bakers, but will become the brain driving all equipment and technology in the future. The premise is that they have accumulated and mastered a solid foundation for bread making.” Lai Zhoushan said.
Baking master is using semi-finished products to bake picture source: taken by the author
The rapidly expanding new Chinese baking brand has greatly simplified the work of front-end store producers. People’s enthusiasm for new Chinese baking mostly comes from their curiosity about those innovative categories, such as mashed potato one by one, and tiger roll integrating meat floss cake roll and mashed potato CI. This also requires new brands to continue to develop innovative categories in order to retain consumers who like the new and hate the old.
A young consumer who loves sweets and pastries told the author that she didn’t care about “new Chinese style” and “handmade” when she bought, but more about delicious and fresh, that is, the product itself. Sometimes I queue up to buy because of “novelty”, but in the end, I find that each snack is just the same.
In Lai Zhoushan’s view, only taking “manual” as a gimmick of commercial marketing is excessive marketing when the product itself can not stand scrutiny, and it is a kind of “lazy” behavior in business and technology. “However, I think it’s hard to avoid ‘seeking speed’ in development. This phenomenon was also very common in Japan in the 1960s and 1970s.”
Li Penghui gave the definition of Handmade Bread in the industry, that is, from flour to finished products are made in the kitchen of the store. But in fact, the noodle maker, hair dryer and even oven are also the products of industrial evolution. Real “handmade” products mean limited quantity, which means high price and difficult to scale. This is a contradiction for chain baking. The “handmade” propaganda is just a story to investors and consumers.
But handicraft itself is not completely opposite to industrialization. In Lai Zhoushan’s view, the two will experience a process of coexistence and mutual transformation for a long time. “In the county or the third and fourth tier cities, many young people, after learning bread well, hope to go back to their hometown and open a store by themselves. This small and viable community store will still exist, which is an interesting supplement to this industry. Young people have their own opinions and pursuit of Technology.”
Wang Lin is such a baker. After several years of apprenticeship in several baking stores in Shanghai, she returned to the third tier town of her hometown and opened a private baking studio.
Wang Lin said that she learned baking in order to master a craft. Later, in the process of learning, she gradually fell in love with the industry. Now she will meet some customized product requirements. She thinks she is a “craftsman”. She said that if everyone said her cake was delicious, it would have a great sense of achievement. If a bread is burnt, you will feel “Oh, I’m so sorry for it”.
“The process of changing flour into bread is very magical. Flour into water into dough, into the wake-up box, like a baby, and then from small fingers to big slowly, into the oven, and finally out of the oven, like going through middle age and old age.” Wang Lin said, “bread is alive.”
(Wang Lin is a pseudonym at the request of the interviewer)
Author: Wang anruo; Source: Banshu Caijing (ID: Banshu Caijing), reprint has been authorized. Reprint authorization and media business cooperation: Amy (wechat: 13701559246); for the sixth consecutive year, foodaily released the annual business hot spot of the food industry – exploring the development law of categories from 200000 new products around the world, studying the changes of global consumption, studying the changes of new consumers and consumption demand in combination with the in-depth insight into the Chinese market, and exploring the new value brought by the two new consumption drivers of technology reconstruction and brand popularity, Focus on the prospective discovery of category cracks / innovative products to assist new consumer entrants in anchoring market segments and category fission opportunities, and provide inspiration and decision-making reference for product innovation in the next year. (click the picture to view the detailed introduction) related reading
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