Baked Good­ness GRO­CERY

In line with cur­rent de­mand, bak­ing in­gre­di­ents and even mixes are cleaner than ever.

Progressive Grocer (India) - - Contents - By Brid­get Gold­schmidt

In line with cur­rent de­mand, bak­ing in­gre­di­ents are cleaner than ever.

Bak­ing, as re­tail­ers know well, en­com­passes a broad spec­trum of skill lev­els, from ut­ter be­gin­ner all the way up to those ca­pa­ble of pro­duc­ing restau­rant-qual­ity breads, cakes, pas­tries and the like. Dur­ing Pro­gres­sive Gro­cer’s visit to the Food City store in John­son City, Tenn., our Septem­ber 2016 Store of the Month, Dan Glei, EVP of mer­chan­dis­ing and mar­ket­ing at the Abing­don, Va.-based gro­cer, pointed out this fact dur­ing a brief stop in the bak­ing aisle: “We have a strong [number] of cus­tomers that seek a high level of con­ve­nience, and many cus­tomers, still, that are very, very ba­sic, scratch-made cook­ers at their house.”

Given this wide di­ver­gence in abil­ity among home bak­ers, the trend­ing de­mand for clean in­gre­di­ents can be more eas­ily met by some prod­ucts than oth­ers. For scratch bak­ers who con­trol ev­ery item they in­clude in their cre­ations, it’s a rel­a­tively straight­foward process — de­pend­ing on mar­ket avail­abil­ity, of course — to source or­ganic, all-nat­u­ral, non-gmo or free-from in­gre­di­ents, but for con­sumers de­pen­dent on mixes for their bake-at-home treats, it’s been some­what more tricky — un­til now.

Suzy Mon­ford, CEO of Emeryville, Calif.-based An­dron­ico’s Com­mu­nity Mar­kets, which op­er­ates five stores in the Bay Area, ac­knowl­edges that while bak­ing prod­ucts were slower to fol­low the trend to­ward cleaner cooking in­gre­di­ents that be­gan more than a decade ago with the elim­i­na­tion of trans fats, the cat­e­gory is see­ing what she calls a “mas­sive em­pha­sis” on lower-sugar and lower-sodium so­lu­tions, as well as such in­no­va­tions as gluten-free, an­cient grains and even cricket flours.

An­dron­ico’s flags th­ese types of in­gre­di­ents in the bak­ing aisle with its Fit­mar­ket at­tribute, cre­ates eye-catch­ing end cap dis­plays, and of­fers clean op­tions in its bulk sec­tions, as well as pro­mot­ing items on­line via its e-news­let­ter and web­site.

Mean­while, the bak­ing in­gre­di­ent cat­e­gory “has been per­form­ing well over the past year and con­tin­ues to grow,” notes Jeff Cul­hane, SVP mer­chan­dis­ing at Wil­liamsville, N.y.-based Tops Mar­kets LLC, which op­er­ates more than 170 stores in up­state New York, north­ern Penn­syl­va­nia, western Ver­mont and north cen­tral Mas­sachusetts.

“Con­sumer trends are to­ward cleaner, less re­fined prod­ucts, more or­ganic, more nat­u­ral, less ar­ti­fi­cial colors and less high-fruc­tose corn syrups.”

Pri­vate la­bel of­fer­ings, as well as an in­te­grated prod­uct as­sort­ment, can help draw shoppers to cleaner bak­ing in­gre­di­ents. “We pro­mote Tops brand prod­ucts in con­junc­tion with other brands,” ex­plains Cul­hane. “We tra­di­tion­ally mer­chan­dise th­ese along­side one an­other, so in some cases you’ll see an in­te­gra­tion of cleaner-la­bel flours and or­ganic flours. Even in our bulk sec­tion, we’ve in­tro­duced more or­ganic and more nat­u­ral prod­ucts like oats, flours and corn­meal for [con­sumers’] bak­ing needs. We pro­mote th­ese both in our fliers and TPR dur­ing key bak­ing sea­sons, so we will run them in con­junc­tion with more tra­di­tional, con­ven­tional prod­ucts like Tops Sugar or Pills­bury flour, or if we’re adding in the whole wheat flour or or­ganic flours into our pro­mo­tional plan.”

Sweet Stuff

“Par­ents want to in­still the val­ues of mak­ing health­ier life­style choices in their fam­i­lies,” notes Russ Moroz, VP of re­search, de­vel­op­ment and qual­ity at South Bend, Ind.-based Whole Earth Sweet­ener Co., a maker of bak­ing-friendly zero- and low­ercalo­rie sweet­en­ers in­cor­po­rat­ing nat­u­ral in­gre­di­ents such as ste­via and monk fruit. “While they want to be mind­ful of where their food is com­ing from, they don’t want to sac­ri­fice the recipes, in­gre­di­ents or tastes that they love.”

When it comes to en­cour­ag­ing trial, Moroz says Whole Earth “[works] closely with re­tail­ers to co-pro­mote and lever­age the bak­ing sea­son start­ing in Oc­to­ber and the New Year res­o­lu­tion pe­riod to pro­mote health­ier in­gre­di­ents for bak­ing.” The com­pany has also teamed with celebrity chef Buddy Valas­tro — TV’S “Cake Boss” — on a cam­paign to get con­sumers to Re­think Sweet, which in­cludes easy-to-pre­pare recipes for lower-calo­rie baked goods.

Re­cent in­tro­duc­tions, such as zero-calo­rie Na­ture Sweet pack­ets and Monk Fruit Juice Con­cen­trate, and lower-calo­rie Bak­ing Blend, Turbinado Raw Cane 50, Whole Earth Sweet­ener Honey 50 and Whole Earth Sweet­ener Agave 50 (the last three blended with ste­via ex­tract for half the calo­ries and sugar of their tra­di­tional coun­ter­parts), re­ceive par­tic­u­lar em­pha­sis. “When in­tro­duc­ing a new prod­uct … we make sure we are prop­erly ed­u­cat­ing the con­sumer at the point of pur­chase, with shelf and floor sig­nage de­tail­ing the nu­tri­tional facts and in­for­ma­tion,” adds Moroz.

Sugar 2.0 + Pro­bi­otics, launched in March 2016, is “mar­keted as a clean-la­bel prod­uct with just three nat­u­ral in­gre­di­ents [and] no ar­ti­fi­cial in­gre­di­ents or high-in­ten­sity sweet­en­ers,” says Trong Nguyen, CEO of River­side, Calif.-based Foods 2.0 LLC, who de­scribes the prod­uct as “a health­ier sugar re­place­ment that aims to fill the gap be­tween reg­u­lar sugar and ar­ti­fi­cial sweet­en­ers.”

To pro­mote such items in-store, Nguyen sug­gests: “Re­tail­ers can place ‘call tags’ in-store to pro­mote clean bak­ing in­gre­di­ents. Such call tags could ef­fec­tively iden­tify clean-la­bel prod­ucts in the store and high­light the ben­e­fits of us­ing [them].”

Mix­ing it Up

“Now, more than ever, con­sumers are look­ing for qual­ity prod­ucts that are made with nat­u­ral in­gre­di­ents — a trend that di­rectly ties into how they ap­proach bak­ing at home,” as­serts Han­nah Her­shey, mar­ket­ing man­ager at Ukiah, Calif.-based Pamela’s Prod­ucts, which of­fers items that “are al­ways made with nat­u­ral in­gre­di­ents that are nongmo and meet gluten-free cer­ti­fi­ca­tion stan­dards as well.”

Pamela’s lat­est prod­uct roll­outs in­clude a Grain­free line of­fer­ing a Nut Flour Blend of al­monds, co­conuts, pecans and wal­nuts. “We have mar­keted this line as gluten-free, ve­gan and Pa­leo-friendly, dairy-free, sugar-free, and non-gmo, which are at­tributes that we call out on the pack­age and high­light in our mar­ket­ing mes­sages,” says Her­shey. “Th­ese prod­ucts are be­ing mer­chan­dised with other prod­ucts like al­mond meal and Pa­leo bak­ing mixes.”

Her­shey rec­om­mends mer­chan­dis­ing such items as a group. “Cat­e­go­riz­ing prod­ucts to­gether that fea­ture th­ese in­gre­di­ents makes it easy, so con­sumers don’t have to sift through the en­tire store to find what they are look­ing for,” she notes. “High­light­ing prod­uct cer­ti­fi­ca­tions such as NON-GMO Project Ver­i­fied, which con­sumers have come to ex­pect from brands and the in­gre­di­ents they use, [is] also a great way to pro­mote and mer­chan­dise th­ese in­gre­di­ents.”

In com­mon with Pamela’s, which has sourced clean in­gre­di­ents since its found­ing in 1988, the folks at Nor­wich, Vt.-based King Arthur Flour be­lieve that “scratch bak­ing and clean in­gre­di­ents have al­ways gone hand in hand,” ac­cord­ing to Brand Man­ager Erika Ran­dolph.

The ven­er­a­ble com­pany, which has been around since 1790, is still com­ing up with new prod­ucts, hav­ing in­tro­duced this past sum­mer a line of Es­sen­tial Good­ness bak­ing mixes con­tain­ing no preser­va­tives, ar­ti­fi­cial colors, fla­vors, corn syrup and hy­dro­genated oils. “To make it feel even more like scratch bak­ing, [the] line is sup­ported on our web­site with recipe con­tent and ideas to trans­form each mix into a cre­ative, deca­dent treat,” notes Ran­dolph, who says that the prod­ucts’ “ap­peal to re­tail­ers is driven in part by the op­por­tu­nity th­ese mixes present to rein­vig­o­rate a flag­ging cat­e­gory.” Ac­cord­ing to Schaum­burg, Ill.based Nielsen, to­tal bak­ing mix sales dol­lars fell 4.8 per­cent for the 52 weeks end­ing July 2.

Mean­while, the pack­ag­ing com­bines an on­trend in­gre­di­ent deck with retro styling. “The back panel harkens to the old-school recipe cards you re­mem­ber from your mom’s or grandma’s kitchen, and the line rep­re­sents a blend of clas­sic baked goods like Ev­ery­one’s Fa­vorite Choco­late Chip Cookie ... to unique prod­ucts like our Cin­na­mon Sugar Puff Muf­fin,” ob­serves Ran­dolph.

She ex­plains that “the con­sumer trend to­ward un­der­stand­ing their food has al­lowed us to broaden our hori­zons. The mix sec­tion of the bak­ing aisle has long been dom­i­nated by highly pro­cessed, low-cost mixes that con­sumers have known for a long time.

Con­sumer trends are to­ward cleaner, less re­fined prod­ucts, more or­ganic, more nat­u­ral, less ar­ti­fi­cial colors and less high-fruc­tose corn syrups. — Jeff Cul­hane Tops Mar­kets LLC

… That’s scary for a con­sumer look­ing to nour­ish their fam­ily with a quick, con­ve­nient al­ter­na­tive to bak­ing from scratch.”

“Many con­sumers are now bak­ing their own breads, muffins and cook­ies with spe­cialty in­gre­di­ents be­cause they can’t find what they’re look­ing for in stores,” notes Katlin Smith, founder and CEO of Chicagob­ased Sim­ple Mills, which she says is the third-largest nat­u­ral bak­ing mix com­pany by dol­lars sold and No. 1 for dol­lar sales per point of dis­tri­bu­tion. “For ex­am­ple, al­mond flour is now one of the best-sell­ing flours in gro­cery stores be­cause it en­ables con­sumers to bake with sim­ple, nu­tri­ent-rich in­gre­di­ents.”

Sim­ple Mills’ suc­cess “is in­dica­tive of a larger trend,” Smith be­lieves. “As you look at the bak­ing shelves, you of­ten find a lot of car­bo­hy­drates, sugar or in­gre­di­ents you can’t pro­nounce. … This is true even in nat­u­ral gro­cery stores.” The com­pany’s new­est prod­uct is Or­ganic Frost­ing in Vanilla and Choco­late fla­vors.

Notes Smith: “Our bak­ing mixes have less than half the sugar and car­bo­hy­drates of lead­ing brands of bak­ing mixes, and we clearly in­di­cate our sugar con­tent on the front of our pack­ages. Re­tail­ers that have cre­ated a strong brand block of our prod­ucts have been ef­fec­tive in grab­bing the con­sumer’s at­ten­tion at shelf and bring­ing them back into the cat­e­gory with this sim­ple mes­sag­ing. Ad­di­tion­ally, we have con­ducted many in-store demon­stra­tions, which have been a great ed­u­ca­tional op­por­tu­nity.”

She ad­vises that “the best way to pro­mote clean bak­ing prod­ucts in-store is by giv­ing them dis­play space, as this grabs the con­sumer’s at­ten­tion out­side of the bak­ing aisle, where many con­sumers may not have walked down for years. Re­tail­ers can in­crease the value of the dis­play by pair­ing the clean bak­ing-mix prod­ucts with other com­ple­men­tary clean prod­ucts, pro­vid­ing the con­sumer with a full so­lu­tion ver­sus just a piece of a puz­zle, and thereby in­creas­ing bas­ket ring. For ex­am­ple, our prod­ucts are of­ten mer­chan­dised with prod­ucts like pure maple syrup, co­conut oil, or­ganic vanilla ex­tract or or­ganic dark-choco­late chips.”

Smith fur­ther ob­serves that “our prod­ucts do in­cred­i­bly well when on dis­plays for Pa­leo prod­ucts, grain-free prod­ucts or lower-sugar prod­ucts. In ad­di­tion to in-store dis­plays, th­ese prod­uct bun­dles also work in­cred­i­bly well when fea­tured in store ads or in­cluded in in-store demon­stra­tions.”

The Raw or the Cooked

“Home bak­ers are ex­per­i­ment­ing more with clean sub­sti­tu­tions, for in­stance re­plac­ing eggs with other bind­ing agents such as flax or chia, and re­fined flours with nu­tri­ent-rich al­ter­na­tives such as chick­pea flour, co­conut flour and root veg­eta­bles,” ob­serves Chef Franklin Becker, co-founder and head of culi­nary de­vel­op­ment at New York-based Hun­gry­root, whose in­ven­tive prod­ucts in­clude Al­mond Chick­pea Cookie Dough and Black Bean Brownie Bat­ter, which are gluten-, dairy-, soy- and preser­va­tive-free, as well as ve­gan, and can be eaten ei­ther raw or baked.

Becker teases that an “ex­cit­ing new dessert [is] launch­ing this fall that will cap­ture the fla­vor of the sea­son, and sev­eral more desserts [are] on the prod­uct roadmap for the re­main­der of the year.”

At the Whole Foods in the Wil­liams­burg sec­tion of Brooklyn where the shelf-sta­ble cookie dough and brownie bat­ter made their de­but, and from which they are “quickly ex­pand­ing through­out the re­gion,” the prod­ucts “are mer­chan­dised in the dairy aisle along­side other cookie dough prod­ucts,” notes Becker. “As the cat­e­gory of clean bak­ing con­tin­ues to ex­pand, re­tail­ers can help build aware­ness for th­ese in­gre­di­ents and prod­ucts through in-store sig­nage, dis­plays and strate­gic place­ment.”

Re­tail­ers and man­u­fac­tur­ers agree that the en­thu­si­asm for clean bak­ing will only grow, with Becker the chef plac­ing par­tic­u­lar em­pha­sis on a re­lated rise in culi­nary ex­per­i­men­ta­tion. “We fore­see that there will be a shift to­wards the in­creased in­clu­sion of less con­ven­tional bak­ing in­gre­di­ents that are healthy and clean as a way of rein­vent­ing tra­di­tional baked goods and mak­ing them health­ier,” he says. “This will in­clude ev­ery­thing from sub­sti­tut­ing healthy fats such as al­mond but­ter and tahini to cre­at­ing new bind­ing agents through in­gre­di­ents such as seeds and legumes.”

Tops’ Cul­hane be­lieves that “we’ll see a trend more to­ward non-gmo prod­ucts from the larger brands, [while] more smaller brands [will] pop out and evolve from lo­cal com­mu­ni­ties as that ex­pands and grows, and you’ll see more evo­lu­tion in this cat­e­gory, be­cause that’s where all of the con­sumer trends are point­ing.”

Con­sumers are look­ing for qual­ity prod­ucts that are made with nat­u­ral in­gre­di­ents — a trend that di­rectly ties into how they ap­proach bak­ing at home. — Han­nah Her­shey Pamela’s Prod­ucts

Re­tail­ers can pair clean bak­ing­mix prod­ucts with other com­ple­men­tary clean prod­ucts, pro­vid­ing the con­sumer with a full so­lu­tion ver­sus just a piece of a puz­zle. — Katlin Smith Sim­ple Mills

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from India

© PressReader. All rights reserved.