Voices: Nutrition Trends

Bakery Trends Go Back to Basics

Whether in finished products or in use-at-home mixes, 'natural' is moving the baked goods category.

By Jill Russell Qualizza, Contributing Editor

Bakery Muffin Tin

A stabilizing economy has cooled the baking and dessert mix category as consumers are no longer baking at home. Instead, they’re opting for more healthy and convenient prepared options at grocery stores and restaurants – which is great news for producers of baked goods.

Nevertheless, Mintel Group sees continued growth in baking and dessert mix sales through 2018. In fact, Mintel reports in its "Baking and Dessert Mixes U.S." research that close to half the people that use baking and dessert mixes do so to save time, while less than half use mixes because they simply taste good.

As for how mixes fit into the healthy eating trend, Mintel says “providing products that keep pace with general consumer health interests and developing products that allow for increased, responsible consumption will be key to keeping the category relevant to the greatest percentage of consumers, and growing sales.”

Food processors with product launches that fall in the “other” category are already benefiting from the healthy trend with a 24 percent increase in sales since 2008. Other mixes include coffee cake, gingerbread, pasty and more.

One such product is a premium, all-natural scone mix. Vanilla Chai Scone Mix from Sticky Fingers Bakeries appeals to consumers with its lack of preservatives, artificial flavors, trans-fat, cholesterol and high-fructose corn syrup ingredients. It's also easy to make (just mix and bake).

Bob's Red Mill has had considerable success in providing mixes that target consumer trends for whole grains, gluten-free, organic products and ancient grains. Most of the ancient grains in the company's Grains of Discovery line (amaranth, chia, faro, kamut, millet, quinoa, sorghum, spelt, teff and now freekeh) are cooked as porridge or side dishes, but a few make it into baking mix products.

Actually, convenience might be the biggest trend. Bob's Red Mill has specialized in creating one-bag mixes that combine specialty grains and other ingredients so home cooks can quickly and easily create complex baked goods with products such as 10 Grain Bread Mix, 10 Grain Pancake Mix and Gluten Free Chocolate Cake Mix (containing evaporated cane juice, unsweetened cocoa, garbanzo bean flour, potato starch, tapioca starch, whole grain white sorghum flour, fava bean flour, baking soda, xanthan gum, sea salt and cream of tartar).

Gluten-free is becoming a huge category for Bob's Red Mill. In addition to the chocolate cake mix, Bob's offers gluten-free mixes for chocolate chip cookies, cinnamon raisin bread, Irish soda bread, pizza crust and pie crust.

"We've responded to this growing need by increasing the number of gluten free products that we sell, now over 50 products, and offering unmatched selection and nutrition to those who depend on it most," says Bob Moore, founder and president/CEO.

According to some observers, flavor profiles in baked goods seem to be taming down, while flavors are being punched up in other food segments. “While infusing exotic flavors into baked goods has become popular, classic flavors are making a comeback,” says Craig Nielsen, CEO of Nielsen-Massey Vanillas, Waukegan, Ill.

Specifically, cinnamon, fruit and the tried and true chocolate and vanilla flavors are classic favorites that continue to reign supreme in baking. Nielsen also says that natural, organic, gluten-free and fair-trade baked goods have become especially popular.

“Whether the item is gluten-free, GMO-free, certified organic, fair-trade certified or a combination of all, the overwhelming trend is towards ‘natural.’

Consumers only want to put in their bodies ingredients they recognize as coming from nature. Ingredient manufacturers need to be prepared to meet that desire in the next year if they want to keep up with consumer demand.”

Few things are perceived as more natural than fruits. In addition to the traditional benefits of fruit such as fiber, blueberries are antioxidant powerhouses, contain several vitamins and minerals and can be used to help replace sugar, high-fructose corn syrup and other sweeteners in baked goods, says Tom Payne, industry consultant for the U.S. Highbush Blueberry Council.

“Food product developers take advantage of the quasi-mythical power of blueberries to rev-up interest in their products,” says Payne. “So powerful is the ‘blueberries-are-good-for-you’ message, that the simple fact they are included in the ingredient mix [can] certify the healthy attributes of a product.”

Payne calls them "the darling of today’s nutrition deconstructionists.”

Nielsen has seen a recent “tidal wave" of requests from consumers for natural products. "Long, complicated ingredient lists are giving way to simple ingredients anyone can understand," he says. "Consumers are bypassing products full of chemical compounds created in a lab and are turning instead to products that can be found in nature.”

More from this author...

Title

New Food Bars Designed To Put Health In The Palm Of Your Hand

No longer styled just for candy, food bars are making it easier to have a healthy snack on the go.

10/20/2008

Consumers Choosing Healthier Foods

Processors are providing – and wise consumers are choosing – foods that just may turn around the obesity epidemic.

10/08/2008

Ingredients for Healthy Indulgence

Just a few tricks can deliver products consumers will buy that also are good for them.

10/08/2008

Nutraceutical-Enhanced Alcoholic Beverages Gaining Popularity

The idea of “better-for-you booze” might seem like an oxymoron, but brewers and distillers are toasting the emerging market for nutraceutical-enhanced alcoholic beverages.

08/07/2008

Different Fiber Has Different Benefits

08/07/2008

Baby Boomer Nutrition High Priority for Food Processors

Nutrition has become baby boomers’ antidote for most of the negative effects of aging.

08/06/2008

Aging Baby Boomers Devoting Nutrition and Money to Maintain Eye Health

Nutrition’s role in eye health has become a topic of conversation, no doubt correlating at least somewhat with the aging of the baby boomers.

08/06/2008

More Choices on Restaurant Menus in 2008

More choices on restaurant menus means more choices on the dinner table

06/25/2008

Lignans A Valuable Component of Flax

We’ve been putting flax on our cereal as a plant source of highly valuable omega-3 fatty acids, but look for the word lignan to begin popping up on labels of foods with added flax, much as isoflavones became the reason for our expanded appetite for soy products.

06/05/2008

Red Bull Heats Up Carbonated Drinks Category

Red Bull’s entry heats up the flat category of carbonated soft drinks

06/03/2008

Growing Trends in Healthful Baby and Toddler Foods

The growing trends in healthful foods finally spilled over to better foods for babies and toddlers

06/03/2008

Pepperidge Farm Develops Double-Fiber Bread

Pepperidge Farm does its competitors one serving better, delivering a tasty whole-grain bread that might take some getting used to.

05/30/2008

Organic Food More Nutritious Than Conventionally-Grown Foods

05/09/2008

Housewares Show Examines Changing Trends in Home Food Prep

Annual housewares show gives a peek at changing trends in home food preparation.

04/30/2008

Poll Shows Increasing Concern Over Meat Prices

Economic factors lead to more meals at home … and more purchases of meat.

04/14/2008

Jamba Juice Ready-To-Drink Beverages

04/07/2008

Enhanced Waters Mean Instant Nutrition To Consumers

Enhanced waters are the preferred choice of consumers seeking nutrition and wellness in an instant format.

04/05/2008

New Iron Formulations Make Iron-Rich Foods Easier

New formulations for iron are making it easier for processors to include the vital metal in beverages and foods.

04/05/2008

Ingredients And Formulation: Ingredient Round-Up April 2008 - Sweeteners

April's Ingredient round up features non-nutritive sweeteners from Wixon, Danisco Sweeteners and other ingredient companies.

04/01/2008

Trendy Fruits, Nuts, And Vegetables

From heirloom potatoes and tomatoes to near-superfruits cranberries and blueberries, consumers are nuts about nature’s health benefits.

03/31/2008