When I ran a bakery, we would make dozens of sweet treats. Some of the more popular items were products made with Danish dough. This is a rich, flavorful and flaky dough used for various items like Danishes and coffee cakes in all shapes and forms. We would complement Danish dough with a cherry, apple, or blueberry filling and would sometimes top it off with a glaze drizzle, a streusel topping, or chopped nuts. We would also stuff it with a flavored creamed cheese, flavored almond paste or a chocolate mixture. Our signature petit fours (also known as mignardises) are small bite-sized confectionery or savory appetizers with both classic flavors and new on-trend ones. Mango and passion fruit were popular for their sweet and sour flavor profiles. Our petit fours are made of a chocolate-covered, multilayered cake cut into bite-sized pieces.
An Éclair is an oblong choux pastry filled with a cream and topped with a variety of icings. The same dough can be used for profiteroles, which are other savory and sweet baked items. These can be piped into oblong or small round shapes and filled with something savory like a chicken salad, or something sweet like a pastry cream. The center of a profiterole is hollow and perfect for stuffing, and consistent size and a keen attention to detail are important during production.
Special occasion and holiday cakes are proving to be the hottest sales growth category for all sweet bakery items. Decorating mainstream items like brownies and cupcakes with seasonal colors is popular and has shown to enhance consumer’s purchase intent. Examples of seasonal colors are orange around Halloween, red, white, and blue for July the 4th in the US and red for Valentine’s Day. Seasonal flavors are also quite popular, such as pumpkin in autumn. Chocolate, peppermint, cherry, cinnamon, and vanilla are other examples of commonly-used seasonal flavors in baked items.
Health & Wellness Development
Current health and wellness issues have fueled the surge of consumers looking for specific health and wellness claims. Clean labels are important for all consumers who have an ideology of eating what is better for you, what makes you feel good, and what is best for the world. All of these positions can affect the labeling of key marketing messages and ingredients. Growing categories in today’s market are “better for you” ingredients, controlled size and calorie count, sweeteners and antioxidants, to name a few. There is also a plethora of “craft ingredients” used in trendy sweet bakery items, such as maple syrup, beer, honey, and expeller sunflower oil. These items add flavor, texture, color, and a nuance of local produce that is right on trend. Many health-conscious consumers are concerned or sensitive to artificial ingredients and preservatives in all their food choices. Consumers in general are looking to reduce carbs while getting their fiber, minerals, and vitamins though wholegrain and fortified products. It is very possible to support their honorable efforts in the bakery, through products like brownies fortified with wheat berries, flaxseed, and the like. With the right development strategy, we will be able to add healthy, all natural ingredients to mainstream items, which will enhance their wellness
appeal and drive home craveable flavor.
A Healthy Edge
Wellness ingredients are quite abundant in today’s development portfolio and can be used in the bakery category to develop healthy and tasty bakery alternatives. For example, using an ancient grain like quinoa in a sweet baked item (muffin, brownie, and cupcake) formulation can add a healthy halo to the label and provide nutrient dense products. Pulses added to a sweet baked product can provide protein, micronutrients, and texture, which can attract the attention of those flexitarians out there. We are now in the day and age where the nutrients found in a healthy diet can be procured from new and unique places. I am looking forward to all the development possibilities that will add value and make the world a more flavorful place to live. Remember, however, that in order to drive repeat sales: “it is all about the flavor that sells!”