Q&A: Innovating with Baked Inclusions

August 2020

Today’s consumers have an appetite for products that can offer a new and memorable sensory experience, such as those that boast over-the-top garnishes, unexpected flavor combinations, and striking visual characteristics.

Kathy De La Bastide, Group R&D Manager at Chaucer Foods, explains that companies are challenged to source ingredients that meet consumers’ expectations for a clean label, taste great, and perform up to their expectation for an innovative snacking experience. Baked inclusions can help developers deliver on all counts.

1. What trends are you observing in inclusions?

Most leading global brands today mix fruits, nuts, and baked inclusions in chocolates, bars and other snacks to add more robust flavor combinations while contributing to the indulgence factor. Recently, brands had been striving for more novelty in inclusions, experimenting with oversized pieces and over-adorned products.

Now, the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic may lead some consumers to return to more familiar and trusted ingredients. This is because many consumers are currently feeling a loss of control and heightened anxiety about their health. When they see ingredients that they know and recognize as being healthier, it provides them with a sense of reassurance, comfort and control. Despite these trends, there are still opportunities for brands to be creative with inclusions to layer flavor, texture, and indulgence in new and existing products.

2. What products does Chaucer offer to help R&D teams innovate against these trends?

Chaucer’s sweet and savory baked ingredients are shaped, dried versions of authentic bakery recipes, and these can be used as inclusions or toppings for a wide variety of products. Our baked ingredients are available as stand-alone snacks, pieces, crumbs, coatings and toppings to give food manufacturers even more versatility in innovating new products or refreshing existing product lines.

Our mini pitas, tortillas, focaccia, and naan ingredients are the perfect addition to any savory snack or meal solution – from salads to snack mixes. For sweet applications, our new sweet baked ingredients – waffle, gingerbread, and brioche – can add a sense of special occasion and layer of indulgence to bakery, confectionery, dairy and beverage products. All of our baked selections are made in small batches using authentic and traditional ingredients. Our products contain no additives or artificial preservatives, supporting a simpler label.

3. How can baked inclusions be used in sweet and savory snack applications?

Baked inclusions can add texture and flavor variety to popular snack packs, which typically incorporate other dry ingredients like freeze-dried vegetables, fruit, nuts or seeds. Larger pieces can also be used as “dippers” along with chilled or other ambient ingredients. Savory toppings, coatings and crumbs are great additions to salad bags, pasta dishes, salads and vegetable sides, or meat and vegetables. We also offer croutons in a range of popular flavors, like garlic and herb and black pepper, for soup and salad applications.

Our new sweet baked ingredients add texture, taste and visual appeal to a wide range of products, including ice cream, baked goods, desserts, yogurts, confectionery, and snack bars. Sweet baked ingredients can be made in any of our signature bakes, and in a range of formats and sizes. Sweet toppings are ideal for sprinkling on ice cream and other desserts, while larger sweet inclusions can add texture and interest to snack bars, cakes, yogurts, and beverages.

4. What other benefits do Chaucer’s baked ingredients offer?

Our baked products can be easily added to existing recipes and will not compromise applications due to their low water content. We also offer a high degree of customization to tailor the taste, texture, and shape requirements based on customers’ needs.

Additionally, many of our products are vegan, kosher and non-GMO, enabling product developers to formulate new and indulgent snack offerings for consumers with specific dietary preferences.

5. What other trends do you see impacting NPD in 2021?

Today’s consumers show a growing preference for “gut-friendly” foods, with 48% of US consumers claiming thatgood digestive health is important for overall
wellbeing, according to Mintel1. This suggests that digestion-related claims could help enhance consumer appeal for snack products.

Chaucer remains on the forefront of innovation and consumer trends, and recently introduced a new sourdough bread range in baked ingredients. Available in different presentations like dippers and croutons, Chaucer’s sourdough products contain lactic acid, which helps digestion by making the nutrients more readily available and absorbable.

Our bakery R&D team is constantly developing new application ideas and creating ingredient solutions that add real value for our customers. Check out more inspiration for formulating with our baked ingredients, or contact us today at customer.services@chaucerfoods.com to request a sample or more information.

1. “A Year of Innovation in Salty Snacks & Fruit Mixes,” Mintel. March 2020.

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