An ancient bread is gaining momentum, from supermarket shelves to foodservice bakeries, according to a recent Associated Press article by Tanya Bricking Leach. Ethnic flatbreads, such as Indian naan and Middle Eastern pitas, are becoming increasingly commonplace nationwide. Varieties that once were limited to pita pockets and tortillas are expanding in the bread aisle. Whole Foods has led the charge, she asserted.
According to the Mintel International Group, a Chicago-based market research firm, flatbread was featured in 12 new product launches in 2005. That number jumped to 51 in 2006.
Bakery cafe chain Panera Bread recently introduced its Crispani flatbread pizzas, a bakery product designed to appeal to evening diners and grow business in the dinner daypart. Quizno's and Arby's have both launched flatbread sandwich lines within the last several months.
Foodservice bakeries can capitalize on flatbread's versatility as a viable option for both the lunch and dinner dayparts. It can be marketed as an exotic Asian food or everyday American fare. Also, it can serve as a meal in itself as a pizza or sandwich, or as an accompaniment to a meal.