Joyce Lam
Joyce is a Senior Trends Analyst at Mintel, focusing on capturing consumer behaviour for the Asia Pacific market, as well as supporting the global Mintel Trends team to identify new consumer trends.

Global yeast and baking solutions provider Lesaffre has launched a new yeast product in Japan named l’hirondelle 1895, a semi-dry, frozen yeast, for bakers and bread makers.

Source: Lesaffre Website

Bakery industry innovations are now mainly focusing on speeding up processes and reducing baking times, but l’hirondelle 1895 is a slow-rising yeast that is inspired by a 120-year-old classic French technique which regards time as an essential ingredient in artisanal baking. This aligns with Mintel Trend ‘Slow It All Down’ which highlights how the faster life’s pace is, the greater the need to slow things down (at least once in a while).

The yeast’s long fermentation process allows the bread to develop a strong texture and flavour, slowly releasing an enhanced aroma, while its frozen format provides flexibility in storage—and therefore, minimal wastage. This launch comes at a time when Japanese consumers are showing growing interest in artisanal bread. In addition, Mintel research reveals that over a third of Japanese consumers consider baking to be a healthier cooking method.

According to Lesaffre, one of the significant benefits of l’hirondelle 1895 is that it provides versatility because it rises slowly and can be easily stored, giving bread makers control of the production process, so nothing is wasted—an ideal concept, especially as, today, food waste makes headlines all over the world.

Food producers are striving to meet the challenge of providing more sensorial experiences while simultaneously satiating demand for authentic tastes and healthier choices. Online connectivity, together with more opportunities to travel, means consumers are becoming more aware of traditional and modern food preparations from around the world. As such, they expect the products they buy to combine the very best of local and global cookery expertise.

While new technology is often the catalyst for food product innovations and hybrid flavours, looking to the past for inspiration is a common pursuit in the culinary world.

Consumers recognise that slower is often more substantive in menu preparation terms, as the shortcuts required to create fast foods detract from the quest for healthier dishes and nutritious diets. As a result, food and drink brands, restaurant chains and home chefs will continue rewinding through the generations in search of the time-honoured ingredients and skills that make authentic soul foods universally appealing.