After years of mediocre innovation, the baking industry has rebounded in the last few years with a slew of new product launches designed to meet consumer preferences. The trends that dominate supermarket shelves have forced bakers to rethink their product lines and launch enhanced offerings appealing to demands for "better-for-you" products. The defining trends in today’s industry include whole grain enrichment, trans-fat free solutions and no-sugar added products.
With so many strong trends, it has been a major problem for many research and development departments to stay on top of the formula challenges that these new trends present. Even more difficult is the quest to formulate "better-for-you" products that still taste good.
"There is still skepticism that if a product is healthy, it’s not going to taste good," Fran Strazzella, George Weston Bakeries’ vice president of marketing, told Baking Management earlier this year. "It has been a challenge making sure these healthful products taste good."
Fortunately, many baking industry suppliers offer turnkey solutions to new product launches. The following trends have defined the baking industry in the last couple of years, and promise to play a significant role in the industry’s future:
Whole grain products: This dominant trend has changed the face of the bread aisle and slowly is encroaching into other categories such as buns, rolls and cookies. When formulating whole grain products, it is essential to understand options and obstacles fully.
Whole wheat flour is the traditional choice for most whole grain products, and its use in the baking industry has eased formulation challenges for years. However, the increasing popularity of multigrain products has complicated product development. Bakers must determine what types of grains to incorporate into their formulas and how these grains affect formulation and processing.
Fortunately, some ingredient suppliers offer turnkey solutions to these problems in the form of grain mixes and bases. These products take the guesswork out of product development, and allow bakers to lean on the expertise of ingredient suppliers.
Trans-fat free products: For large wholesale bakers with vast plant networks and research and development capabilities, reducing or eliminating trans fats has cost millions of dollars and months to years of time. However, what about small and intermediate-size bakeries? How do they find formulation assistance and solutions in a cost- and time-effective manner? How does a bakery with a small product line gain the necessary formulation assistance from leading industry experts?
To answer these questions, bakers turn to a variety of ingredient manufacturers, and not just large shortening and oil suppliers. Many ingredient suppliers have developed solutions for trans-fat free bakery foods, and offer these ingredients as bases and mixes that ease formulation challenges and obstacles.
Sugar-free solutions: As Americans’ waistlines expand, so do diagnoses of health-related diseases and illnesses. For example, type-2 diabetes is growing at an accelerated pace, forcing many consumers to seek out bakery foods devoid of sugar.
Creating sugar-free bakery foods, especially desserts, has been a challenge for most bakeries because they must sacrifice taste to eliminate sugar. However, ingredient technology significantly has progressed in the last couple of years, allowing bakers to create great tasting sugar-free desserts.
One ingredient supplier offers a complete line of bases and mixes designed to provide sugar-free solutions for products such as brownies, streusel, muffins and angel food cake. These mixes and bases provide an easy solution for bakers seeking to launch a line of sugar-free desserts aimed at diabetic and health conscious consumers.
Problem Solver Quick Tip
Skepticism still exists about healthful bakery foods’ abilities to taste good. Always remember that taste trumps everything else.