Clean Labels, Artisanal Bread, Flatbreads Top Recent Bread Trends

Posted by National Honey Board on April 01, 2020

Bread cropped

Honey and bread have been a magnificent pair since the first loaf of leavened bread were baked.  In bread, honey provides excellent flavor, functionality, and moisture. It helps naturally extend shelf life and gives consumers what they want: all-natural sweetness. There are countless reasons why bakers have used honey in bread for thousands of years. However, there also are many current bread trends that position honey as a go-to ingredient in 2020. 


Trend: Clean Labels and All-Natural Ingredients

With clean labels being on the forefront of consumer demand, all-natural honey’s singular ingredient — honey — is a welcome addition to products in the bread aisle. In addition to providing a familiar ingredient, honey also performs multiple functions in bread, including inhibiting mold formation. 

Zingerman’s Bakehouse has developed State St. Wheat, a hearth-baked sliced bread with just a few ingredients, including honey, wheat, olive oil, rye, and sea salt. Freshly milled soft white wheat is combined with stone-ground, high-extraction hard red spring wheat flour. Then, the naturally leavened dough is mixed with a touch of honey and olive oil for a same-day fermentation. Loaves get a gentle bake in convection ovens to achieve a thin, relatively light-colored crust.

Trend: Ingredients with a Story
Innova tapped storytelling as the top product trend of 2020, and made-with-honey bread offers a great narrative. Innova estimated that 56% of global consumers say stories about a brand influence purchase decisions. “Companies can tell stories by positioning ingredients in the context of culture and tradition, sourcing methodologies, or describing how ingredients are processed.”

What ingredient has a better story than honey? From the bee to your facility, honey is an all-natural, unprocessed ingredient straight from nature. In addition to honey bees,

food and beverage manufacturers also can tell the story of beekeepers as part of their marketing pitch. Beekeeping is an art and a craft that connects honey bees to humans and our entire food system, from hive to table. A recently launched video from the National Honey Board, Celebrating Beekeeping: A Labor of Love, provides a narrative of the beekeepers who ensure bees are healthy and honey flowing.  

BUK Foods is one manufacturer that uses the ingredients, mainly honey and sprouted buckwheat, in its Gluten-Free Honey Nut Bread to tell a great story. The company’s use of bulk seed in its products pays benefits to the land by being regenerative and also helps as a pollinator-friendly crop.


Trend: Artisanal and Flatbread Bread Demand

Consumers want to “have it their way” when it comes to bread, and personalization is extending from artisanal bakeries into grocery stores. US Foods reports that there is no technical definition for “artisanal,” “natural” or “homestyle” bread. In fact, the open cell structure, thick crust, intense flavor and chewy texture of an artisanal loaf ensures that no two products look exactly alike. Sara Lee’s Artesano Golden Wheat Bakery Bread is the newest addition to the Sara Lee Artesano bread family. Made with a touch of honey, olive oil, and sea salt, this artisan-style bread contains no artificial colors or flavors.

Finally, flatbreads seem to be the largest trend that ties all of the others together, changing the way we view the traditional bread aisle. Inanna Eshoo, head of foodservice at commercial bakery California Lavash, says that the packaged bread aisle at grocery stores across the country is seeing a bit of a revamp

“Flatbreads like lavash, naan, and pita are so hot right now because people want to eat bread with a story, and these ancient bread have a cultural connection baked in. The authentic connection to ancient cultures also satisfies today’s appetite for authentic foods. And then there’s the flexibility. Flatbreads can fit into just about any lifestyle and diet,” she says. 

Not only are flatbreads versatile, but they are also fun and exciting, according to Eshoo. “The commercial bread aisle has looked the same in the U.S. for as long as we can remember.

[Flatbreads] given busy consumers new options that are tasty, convenient, and healthy.”

Additionally, flatbreads are also a great product for manufacturers. Chris Koetke of Complete Culinary says, “Flatbreads are exceptional vehicles for adding creative flavors to the dough. They also represent a low-cost product that, when prepared well, can drive business and create food memories.”

One such product is Joseph’s Honey Wheat Lavash Bread, a once-dubbed flatbread renamed for its soft texture and authentic flavor. The honey wheat variety is a versatile product that is high in fiber and omega-3s and low in fat.

For questions about formulating your next made-with-honey bread product, visit for methods, tips, and honey’s benefits.