Portion control is the key to future innovation in the UK cake, biscuit and confectionery categories industry analysts told a conference in Rugby today (24 April).

Speaking at the Biscuit Cake Chocolate & Confectionery Conference, Mintel’s David Jago said manufacturers would focus more on portion size rather than drastic reductions in levels of fat, calories and sugar.

“Portion control has changed slightly in the UK market,” said Jago. “It is now nothing about low-calorie but aiming at women who just want smaller portions instead of that driving low-calorie message. Kraft Foods has made a lot of money out of it and now it is being copied by many others in the market.”

The UK’s Food Standards Agency has warned that levels of obesity could rise to 60% in men, 50% in women and 25% in children by 2050. The FSA ’s Corinne Vaughan said portion control is part of the agency’s plan to tackle obesity in the UK.

“We have designed a holistic plan with the government to tackle the obesity issue and it will involve reducing portion sizes, reducing energy density and saturated fats and educating consumers on the foods they are eating,” Vaughan said.

A growing number of new products across the categories are tapping into healthy-eating trends, including demand for organic, natural and wholegrain products.

However, Philipp Lohan, an analyst from AC Nielsen, said a balanced diet is still key, especially with consumers prone to indulge on biscuits, cake and confectionery.

“Indulgence isn’t only about a physical experience but about mental health,” Lohan said. “It’s all about balancing it out. We just need to stay on the right track.”