Is 2024 the year of health-conscious pancakes?

Posted: 13 February 2024 | | No comments yet

This Pancake Day, Elliot Cantrell, Head of NPD at Bakeaway outlines how food businesses can tap into the growing demand for free-from products while addressing health, taste, sustainability, and convenience.


By Elliot Cantrell, Head of NPD at BakeAway

The surge in free-from products stands as a notable trend reshaping consumer preferences. Amidst changing dietary attitudes and growing health consciousness with the introduction of HFSS, brands like OaYeah! who make oat-drink based pancakes have capitalised on this shift.

A recent survey by BakeAway has shed light on generational disparities in dietary preferences, with Gen Z emerging as champions of the free-from movement. A remarkable 84 percent of Gen Z individuals express an intention to explore or adopt free-from diets in 2024, driven primarily by health considerations.1 However, taste remains a significant factor, with 41 percent expressing hesitation due to past flavour experiences.2

Millennials also exhibit a growing interest in free-from diets, particularly for breakfast options. With 63 percent considering the switch for health benefits,3 this demographic represents a lucrative market segment characterised by a proactive approach to wellness. Their receptiveness to nutritious alternatives underscores the potential for innovation in this space.

In February 2023 BakeAway launched OaYeah! a HFSS compliant readymade pancake brand made from oat-drink and with 45 percent less fat and sugar than regular readymade pancakes. This exemplifies BakeAway’s strategic response to shifting consumer preferences.

By introducing a HFSS compliant oat-based pancake brand tailored to those looking for a convenient healthy breakfast, BakeAway has tapped into a burgeoning demand for alternative breakfast options. OaYeah! addresses both health and taste concerns, offering consumers a delicious health-conscious option without compromising on flavour.


According to Bakeaway, consumers have a receptiveness to nutritious alternatives, something it says underscores the potential for innovation in the bakery space

Despite promising growth, challenges persist in addressing taste perceptions and ensuring widespread accessibility. The success of brands like OaYeah! hinges on their ability to navigate these challenges while delivering on consumer expectations for both taste and health benefits.

In addition to health considerations, environmental consciousness plays a pivotal role in shaping consumer choices, particularly among younger demographics. Millennials and Gen Z exhibit a heightened awareness of sustainability issues, influencing their purchasing decisions and brand loyalty. OaYeah!’s commitment to sustainability through the use of oat-based ingredients resonates with eco-conscious consumers, reinforcing its appeal in a competitive market.

Encouraging older demographics to embrace free-from or reduced-dairy foods to prioritise sustainability and health presents more of a challenge for the industry. It requires increased focus on delivering a multifaceted approach in comparison to younger consumers. Firstly, providing educational materials and demonstrations can introduce them to these concepts and highlight the benefits of incorporating healthier and sustainable products into their diets.

OaYeah! emphasises the delicious flavours, high-quality ingredients, and health benefits of its oat-drink based pancakes. This approach can help the food and beverage industry to overcome taste and quality concerns and maximise profit. That being said, more brands within the market need to take this approach to garner recognition from this challenging demographic.

Additionally, ensuring easy accessibility of these products in mainstream grocery stores and online platforms, along with transparent labelling of sustainability credentials, can make them more appealing to older consumers. By implementing these strategies, businesses can effectively cater to the unique preferences and needs of older demographics, encouraging them to embrace free-from foods and sustainability in their food choices.

Convenience has become a key driver in shaping all consumer choices, not just older generations, particularly in the fast-paced lifestyles of today[4].

 OaYeah!’s chilled, ready-to-eat oat-based pancakes can be ready in minutes, offering a hassle-free solution for busy individuals seeking a nutritious breakfast option. With the ability to be microwaved in minutes, these pancakes cater to consumers’ desire for quick and easy meal solutions without compromising on taste or quality.

This convenience factor has undoubtedly contributed to the success of OaYeah!, as it aligns with the needs and preferences of modern consumers. Food manufacturers looking to replicate this success should prioritise convenience in their product offerings, focusing on creating innovative solutions that streamline meal preparation and cater to consumers’ on-the-go lifestyles.

By providing convenient options that deliver on taste, quality, and nutritional value, manufacturers can meet the evolving demands of today’s consumers and carve out a competitive edge in the free-from and health focussed market.

As consumer awareness of dietary choices expands, the demand for transparency in food labelling and sourcing practices grows. Brands like OaYeah! have an opportunity to further solidify their market presence by emphasising their commitment to ethically sourced ingredients and sustainable production methods.

The ascent of free-from products reflects broader shifts towards mindful consumption and wellness. Through strategic adaptation and a nuanced understanding of consumer preferences, industry professionals can harness this momentum to drive growth and innovation in the food and beverage sector.

Sales of free-from and HFSS compliant products are expected to rise over the long term, presenting opportunities for innovation and market expansion. While challenges persist, brands like OaYeah! demonstrate the potential for success in meeting evolving consumer needs while contributing to a healthier and more sustainable future.

This underscores the importance of continuous research and development efforts aimed at creating new and improved free-from offerings that cater to diverse dietary requirements and preferences.


  1. Independent research commissioned by BakeAway, December 2023
  2. Independent research commissioned by BakeAway, December 2023
  3. Independent research commissioned by BakeAway, December 2023


About the author

Elliot BakeawayElliot Cantrell is the Head of New Product Development (NPD) at BakeAway in Corby, England. With over a decade of culinary and product development experience, having held key positions at Orchard House Foods, Adelie Food Holdings, and Branston Ltd, where he managed the end-to-end NPD process, from concept to launch. Elliot’s passion for innovation led him to co-own Magee Street Bakery, further enriching his understanding of artisanal baking and coffee. His journey in the food industry began as a chef in various restaurants across England including Petrus in Knightsbridge. Elliot’s dedication to culinary excellence and product innovation continues to drive BakeAway’s growth and success.”

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