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Market Report: European Food and Beverage Trends

By: Steven Hanft, CONUSBAT, Germany
Posted: June 23, 2009

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Three regionally baked products (Germany: Aachener Printen; Netherlands: Stroopwaffels; Belgium: Gaufre Liégeoises), produced by the local bakeries or homemade, all made using different recipes, are found in this region. Subsequently, based on these traditions, baking industries developed in the areas, spreading these products across Europe and abroad.

Aachener Printen, a spiced gingerbread type cookie, is available all year long and has been well-known since the 15th century. Printen are made from a variety of ingredients including cinnamon, aniseed, clove, cardamom, coriander, allspice and ginger; however, the actual recipe is kept secret by every Printen bakery. While the basic printen is rectangular shaped, printen specials are molded in various figurative forms. In addition, there are printen with nuts (usually almonds/mandel), covered in chocolate or glaze and marzipan.

Stroopwaffels, on the other hand, are made of two thin waffles with a thick sugary syrup (stroop) sandwiched in between. The product was created in the 18th century, when these types of waffles were made of pieces of so-called bread rassis. These were originally produced in the Dutch city of Gouda—a city known for its hard cheeses. Over the past few years, stroopwaffels have been introduced in different forms, including 'mini' and organic varieties. Still, a health-conscious alternative is advised, considering the sugar content of this delicacy.

Gaufre Liégeoises, or Belgian waffles, are generally rectangular in shape, but are known as galette when baked into a round shape. According to legend, the Liège waffle was invented in the 18th century by the chef of the Prince of Liège. When asked for a pastry based on large pieces of pearl sugar, the cook tried baking a pastry-type brioche in a waffle iron with pearl sugar mixed in the dough. The scent of vanilla that emerged during cooking delighted the prince, and the waffle recipe quickly entered culinary traditions in the region of Liège; soon, it spread throughout Belgium. Gaufre is available in different varieties such as caramelized, chocolate and powdered sugar.

Summary

Regional and cultural diversities play a crucial role in product and market development in the European food and beverage industry. Clearly, in-depth knowledge of regional products, consumer preferences and demographic development can help to gain easy access into this market.