When most of us were kids and it came time to leave out the customary sampling of cookies and milk on Christmas Eve, odds were that St. Nick had to contend with whichever big label offering was in in the pantry that night. Oh, how times have changed.
Kris Kringle has reason to smile these days, as he is more likely to find a Donsuemor Sablé than, say, a Chips-Ahoy! while making his rounds. Of course, classic big brand cookies are still selling well – one recent study found that Nabisco has sold 674.2 million U.S. dollars worth of Oreos in 2017. However, artisan cookie sales are on the rise, and some of the reasons driving that trend may surprise you.
Keeping it clean
More than simply a buzzword, “clean” has become a lifestyle-driving mantra embraced by ingredient and health-conscious consumers of all ages and demographics.
As consumers become more and more knowledgeable and demanding in terms of production methods and product ingredients, the presence of “clean labels” in foods has driven demand for artisan cookie brands. According to Innova Market Insights, the clean label trend has now become a global standard, reflecting consumers’ appetite for total transparency in food labeling. Donsuemor is one brand that has been ahead of this curve for over 40 years, as all of their products are baked in small batches, certified Kosher and free of preservatives and artificial colors.
The quest for “clean” has affected all kinds of food items – gourmet cookies included. When purchasing artisan cookies for themselves and loved ones, consumers want to feel that they’re buying products with ingredients that they can pronounce. Big brand cookie labels often can’t compete with that.
La dulce vida
Another reason influencing the nation’s growing preference for artisan cookies can be found in the ever-growing presence of Hispanic food and Hispanic shoppers in the U.S. Spending over $1 trillion per year and at 57 million strong, the Hispanic population is a key economic player and the influence of Hispanic culture on American food trends is significant.
While Hispanic consumers tend to make, buy and sell products that are fresh and healthy, they don’t shy away from decadent, higher-calorie foods –– which makes them perfect ambassadors for baked goods and specifically, artisan cookies.
Hispanic chefs are also making a name for themselves in American culinary circles –– and not for the types of food that you might guess. Named as one of the Forbes 30 Under 30, chef Andrew Gonzalez is known for his signature Ave María cookies, which are winning fans across the country thanks to a decadent blend of guava cookie dough, Maria Cookies, white chocolate chips and cream cheese frosting.
Master chefs aren’t the only ones marrying Hispanic influences with artisan cookies, however. Anybody can make delicious Donsuemor Tres Leches Tasting Cups, featuring Donsuemor Traditional Madeleines atop a delicate and creamy Tres Leches pudding. Get the recipe here.
Putting the fun in functional
As a growing number of consumers are paying more attention to labels, more and more of them are demanding cookies with minimally processed and Non-GMO ingredients. There is also a growing demand for “functional” ingredients which can add in-demand health staples such as fiber and protein to a cookie. This trend towards healthier ingredients is driven by younger generations looking for snacks that are quick and healthy yet still tasty.
In addition to fiber and protein, malt and oat extracts are starting to get a foothold in the artisan cookie industry as they reduce baking times, provide significant aroma and flavor and boast a high level of antioxidants. Other Non-GMO ingredients finding their way into more and more artisan cookies are malt extracts, molasses, tapioca and brown rice syrup.
This trend towards more wholesome, functional ingredients in artisan cookies doesn’t necessarily mean that flavor has to be sacrificed, as many unassuming buyers are shocked to find that cookies high in fiber or baked with oat extracts can be as delicious, if not more so, than their go-to favorite snack.
The pulse of sweetness
These days, products must offer ingredients that reflect the ever-changing needs of consumers with restricted diets, food aversions and allergies. That’s why pulse ingredients are another reason why more and more consumers are gravitating towards artisan cookies.
Often found in Non-GMO, vegan and gluten-free products, pulse ingredients can replace allergens and are both fiber-rich and protein-packed. They also boast low fat, high fiber and a low glycemic index. Pulse ingredients are available as flours or proteins and can be found in lentils, fava beans and chickpea bases. According to a recent report, pulse flours are expected to grow at a rate of 14.5 percent within the bakery and snacks segment until 2024, boosted by their ability to replicate the functional properties of other flours….