Welcome to the third post in our Texture Blog Series. In our first post, we discussed with Erik Nadig ways to use texture as a differentiator in Nutritional Bars and in the second post, we explored texture and chocolate with Gwynnie Hagen. This time we have invited William Angleys, Taura’s Category Manager for Bakery, and Renn Thompson, Sales Manager for Australia to discuss texture in bakery products.
Innovation in bakery is driven by consumer interest in more nutritious and 'clean' versions of bakery products without compromising appealing sensory attributes (Mintel). The expectations for ingredients are clear: they need to be surprisingly indulgent and healthy. Challenging of course. How can fruit inclusions come up to the challenging expectations that consumers have from bakery products? We had a chat with William and Renn about myths and truths around fruit inclusions and texture in baked goods. Curious? Let’s find out!
Bread is hot. And nostalgic.
Bread and sweet goods are hot. Even before COVID-19 came around, we could see clear signs of a revival in bread. In the Netherlands, consumers ate 3,5% more bread in 2019 compared to 2018. Bread used to have a dubious position for some consumers, due to its carbohydrates, but there is a clear positive vibe around bread throughout recent years. Bread consistently scores well in the diets of Generation Z (source: Bakery & Snacks), and for the health-conscious consumers, bread manufacturers are experimenting with fortification.
During the COVID-19 Pandemic, the bakery category has been boosted, by a trend for nostalgia. People discovered home-baking again, especially the ‘slow down benefits’ after a busy day in the home office, or as a pleasurable experience to share with housemates. Bread & sweet baked goods regained their place in our homes: as much-deserved comfort food to share with family and housemates or as a little home office treat just for ourselves. Forbes even talks about The Bread Influencers as Lockdown’s Unexpected Stars (source: Forbes).
Within the bread category, luxury and artisan breads are on the rise: inclusions in bread offer great variety and more eating pleasure versus classical raisins. Toasting a slice of bread with soft & warm fruit inclusions is creating a little wonderful eating moment. Pop a bun with chocolate and fruit inclusions under the grill for a melted delight
Myth Nr 1: Fruit is impossible in thin crunchy biscuits
Don’t you just love those tiny thin crispy biscuits? Just holding them carefully in your hand already feels very sophisticated and prepares you for cookie delight. It is only a pity that all the inclusions that could bring them even further to perfection are too thickly shaped to work. Well, think again: fruit inclusions come in sizes as small as 3 mm and bring a soft fruity note to thin crunchy biscuits (Image credit: Jules Destrooper on Pinterest)
Myth Nr 2 : As fruit topping on soft bakery products they are always burning
Some bakery products just wouldn’t be the same if the fruit on top wouldn’t have browned/caramelized at least a bit during baking: think of apple cake. Other products definitely make you lose your appetite when they look even slightly burned and are sticking to the foil: think of raspberries, ginger or orange. Is that a reason to not develop those type of soft bakes? Of course not, there are nice bake stable solutions to be found….
The magic happens in with the composition of the recipe plus your equipment and baking time. Fruit inclusions are delicate, coming in several bake stable formulations: as they are bake stable, they keep their pleasant chewy softness.
Myth Nr 3: Fruit inclusions become super hard after baking
No one wants to hurt their teeth by biting on a hard inclusion baked into a bread or muffin. Inclusions should enhance the eating experience; by releasing flavour and giving a pleasant mouthfeel. It is important to find a balance between water activity, the type of baked product and the inclusion. Many formulations exist and can make a fruit piece or honey piece soft and melty in moist bakery products like muffins.
Truth Nr 1: Indulgence & decadence
Consumers are looking for indulgent and decadent cakes to satisfy cravings (Mintel, A year of innovation in cakes and sweet bakery, 2019). Since Bakery is an indulgent-driven category, brands need to look at innovating with novel and luxurious flavours and contrasting textures. Think of strawberry cheesecake, caramel and pecan nuts, orange & dark chocolate. Toppings on donuts are another good example of offering variety in texture and adding extra indulgence. Check out these flower shaped strawberry cheesecake donuts by Vandemoortele, topped with mini strawberry pieces.
Truth Nr 2: Fun multi-sensory experiences
Fun multi-sensory experiences such as cookies with glitter and popping candy, can ignite happy impulse purchasing and make consumers feel a fun connection with the brand (Mintel, A Year of innovation in Biscuits, Cookies & Crackers 2020). These Oreo trolls cookies are a perfect example (Picture from Delish).
Truth Nr 3: Cookies with pleasure within
Looking at the success of American cookies and all the other more “rugged” cookies around, texture is an important driver in the eating experience. Especially in bakery texture is be a sign of unexpected delights and pleasure to be found within: crunchy outside, soft & chewy inside. Create a treasure hunt in a cookie.
Innovation in bakery is driven by consumer interest in more nutritious and 'clean' versions of bakery products without compromising appealing sensory attributes. How can fruit inclusions come up to the challenging expectations from consumers? Tips for creating bakery products that are surprisingly indulgent and healthy include:
- bringing soft mini fruit spots in thin crunchy biscuits
- adding fruit sprinkles as a topping
- choosing the right formulation to make a fruit piece or honey piece soft and melty in moist bakery products like muffins.
- creating indulgence and decadence with luxurious flavours and contrasting textures
- using texture as a sign of unexpected delights & pleasure within