Bakery Trends Show Balance Between Delight and Lite

Convenience, premium products, wellness, nostalgia/comfort and global flavors are driving trends in the U.S. bakery industry.

By Diane Toops, News and Trends Editor

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The formula uses MaizeWise whole-grain corn flour for 16g of whole grains in one 55g serving. CitriTex stabilizer blend is incorporated to reduce fat while maintaining the moistness and "springiness" consumers expect in a muffin. Clear Valley omega-3 oil is canola-flax oil blend that provides food manufacturers with a method to add alpha-linolenic acid (ALA) omega-3 to shelf stable products without affecting product taste, mouthfeel or shelf life.

Cargill research found 58 percent of consumers would opt for a healthier version of the same product, 87 percent use whole-grain foods, 56 percent desire more whole grains from their foods, and 33 percent of U.S. adults indicate they have increased their usage of whole grains over the past year. (You can read more about Cargill's formulations and ingredients on its Formulating Ideas blog on

Focus on the right target
"There is a strong opportunity for better-for-you baked goods," says Rhonda Witwer, senior business development manager-nutrition at National Starch Food Innovation (, Bridgewater, N.J. "Consumers want to eat better and are trying to make better and healthier choices. They want great tasting products but they also want better nutrition and easier ways to stay healthy. Baked goods delivering functional ingredients, while maintaining great taste, will have a bright future."

Witwer explains that for a significant portion of the population, traditional approaches to dieting don't work. "People can lose weight by reducing calories, but keeping it off is more seriou problem, so it may be that we're focusing on the wrong target," she says. "Yes, calories count, but some types of foods – like resistant starch – help by focusing on the underlying metabolic mechanisms.

"The imbalance in insulin sensitivity causes further imbalances: higher than normal levels of insulin cause individuals to gain weight, which triggers additional insulin resistance, both of which lead to type 2 diabetes," she says. "Studies show that lowering insulin resistance can actually lead to easier weight loss.

"Baked goods have been caught in the cross-hairs of this issue," says Witwer. "On one side, Atkins and other dieting programs advocate that processed baked goods should be controlled or minimized as part of a weight-control diet. On the other side, baked goods deliver resistant starch, dietary fiber and many other components of a healthy diet and are a strong comfort food for consumers."

Corn Products/National Starch offers a broad range of soluble fibers, resistant starch, whole-grain corn flour and a unique mineral source that provides important benefits in weight, digestive, bone, joint, heart, glycemic and immune health.

"Hi-maize resistant starch is particularly suited to bakery because it easily and invisibly replaces flour in baked goods while maintaining the taste and texture that consumers prefer," says Witwer. "There is published clinical evidence that that including Hi-maize resistant starch in a person's diet can improve their metabolic state. There is also published clinical evidence that [it] helps people stay fuller for longer and eat less, not only for 2-3 hours after eating, but because of its metabolic effects, people are less hungry the day after they have eaten foods with Hi-maize resistant starch."

"More consumers believe that ‘helps maintain healthy blood sugar levels' is an extremely or very important labeling claim than believe ‘helps you feel fuller longer' is extremely or very important – especially so in individuals monitoring carbohydrate intake," she says. "Thus, there is a strong opportunity for baked goods that help maintain healthy blood sugar levels for not only glycemic control but also weight control and energy benefits. "

And then there's the gluten-free market. Or markets. Packaged Facts forecasts gluten-free food sales will grow to $5.5 billion in retail sales by 2015. "The gluten-free category has grown from a rather niche market made up of those that require a gluten-free diet into a mainstream market, which now also includes people interested in gluten-free because of the perception that it is a healthier option," says Patrick O'Brien, National Starch's marketing manager for bakery.

The Corn Products/National Starch portfolio includes three products that were developed specifically for gluten-free applications. Homecraft Create GF 10 and Homecraft Create GF 20 are specialty flour systems derived from rice and tapioca that that have functionality very similar to that of wheat flour. They serve as excellent bulk flours and enable commercial production of gluten-free baked goods with texture and product quality that closely resembles that of gluten containing products."

The third is a texturizer. "Expandex modified tapioca starch enhances the appearance, texture and flavor of gluten-free bakery products, creates a moist and expanded crumb structure and can extend shelf life."

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