Indulgence is continually top of mind for consumers who look toward confectionery and sweet bakery products for comfort. With the “guilt-free” indication trending in branding for some time now, solutions that help reduce saturated fat and sugar maintain their hold on the market.
In flavor trend developments for the sweet snacking space, “niche fruits” including guava, lime, peach and yuzu are appealing to a wider audience. Meanwhile, cheese flavors in ice cream are marrying sweet and salty for elevated decadence.
“Indulgence is still one of the main reasons why consumers reach for sweet snacks and sugar as a stimulant naturally plays an important role here,” comments Angela Lötscher, marketing project manager at Jungbunzlauer.
“On the other hand, sugar reduction is becoming increasingly important in all food categories, including the sweet snacks market.”
Slashing saturated fat
Addressing the reformulation demands of sweet bakery consumers, Fuji Oil has developed its Redusat fats to lower the saturated fat content of biscuit creams by up to 60%, without impacting the original texture and taste of a well-structured cream.
“Despite the fact that Redusat fats contain a large amount of unsaturated fatty acids, they crystallize very fast and result in a harder texture and often better heat resistance compared to the traditional, higher SAFA fats they replace,” Karen Saey, product manager at Fuji Oil Europe, tells FoodIngredientsFirst.
“All these facts – healthier, fast crystallizing and with no compromise on texture – makes Redusat a fat range for which we see a growing interest from confectionery and biscuit manufacturers.
Saey adds that significant attention has been drawn toward the origin of Redusat’s ingredients, particularly shea and sunflower, for which consumers expect an elevated level of transparency and ethical sourcing.
“Fuji Oil has its own logistics and processing facilities in Ghana, Fuji Oil Ghana. We commit to local value creation through 100% local processing of the shea kernels and fractionation of shea butter to the high-value shea stearin,” she details.
“Further, we focus on the preservation of green areas of shea trees and zero deforestation,” she continues. “As the endemic poverty is the source of many other issues, we are dedicated to growing the female cooperatives.”
“Additionally, in consideration of our environmental footprint, we promote changing to non-fossil fuels as energy source for our Fuji Oil Ghana production activities. Tebma Kandu is our program covering all initiatives and actions aiming at fulfilling our commitments.”
Cut the sugar, keep the sweet
Sugar reduction is an ongoing consumer trend that has impacted the baked goods industry. However, replacing sugar is challenging due to the properties that sucrose exhibits during baking.
Jungbunzlauer specializes in Erylite Erythritol, which helps aid the development of reduced-sugar and ketogenic baked goods and can be mixed with allulose for optimal results.
“Erylite can be used as an excellent alternative to sugar in a variety of applications. Providing the outstanding benefit of a clean sweet taste, a glycaemic index of zero and a high digestive tolerance,” Lötscher.
“In combination with allulose, both ingredients can complement each other with regard to technological and sensory parameters in all sorts of sweet baked goods like muffins or cookies.”
Jungbunzlauer has developed ketogenic cookies with a combination of erylite and allulose for an overall taste optimization, a balanced browning effect and low calorie contribution from carbohydrates.
Flavor themes in sugar confectionery
Fruit dominates sugar confectionery flavors this year, with brown flavors, such as fudge and toffee, in a “distant second,” according to Innova Market Insights data.
The top six flavors in the category have remained solid for many years but beyond this, there are more frequent changes of focus. For example, green apple has very much come to the fore in recent years at the expense of red apple, which was previously popular.
Exotic and tropical fruit flavors have also performed well.
The broader botanical world remains a source of flavor inspiration, with alternative fruits, vegetables, nuts and even flowers featuring among the fast-growing tastes in recent years, the market researcher underscores.
Top palates in sweet baked goods
Chocolate flavors dominate in sweet bakery NPD and take four of the top five places in the rankings, highlights Innova Market Insights.
There are no stand-out growth categories within flavor. The core chocolate, vanilla and fruit categories are all growing slightly ahead of the total market so the emphasis remains on these staple choices.
Within fruit flavors, however, choices are diversifying more widely, with strawberry and banana each gaining ground within the rankings in recent years. At the same time, more niche fruits are also performing well, including guava, lime, peach and yuzu.
Tradition is crucial in this market, with butter and buttermilk flavors also performing well as part of this theme.
Core flavors expand
Nuts and brown flavors continue to flourish within chocolate NPD this year, with hazelnut, almond and caramel crowned as the most important flavors overall, according to Innova Market Insights data.
Fruit is the third core flavor type and fruit use is diversifying thanks to its association with naturally healthy plant ingredients, adds the market researcher. There is also some local influence to be found in fruit choices.
Salted caramel stands out as a significant on-trend core flavor and is finding use in all areas of the chocolate market.
Elevating desserts and ice cream
Brown and fruit flavors lead the way in desserts and ice cream but better growth is coming from more niche categories such as tea flavors and cake, cookie and pie tastes.
Innova Market Insights underscores that dairy alternatives flavors continue to flourish as plant based milks extend their reach into other areas of the traditional dairy market. Coconut is the latest taste to benefit from the plant based trend.
Meanwhile, salted caramel has been another big winner in this market in recent years, as have brownie and peanut butter flavors.
The rise of brownie flavors demonstrates the importance of bakery crossover to add taste value to desserts and ice cream.
Another interesting trend is the rise of cheese flavors in Asian markets. Tapping into this trend, Lactosan recently experimented with ice cream applications for its cheese powders, which help enhance the dairy and buttery notes in the frozen treat.
In the Asian ice cream market, the preference is for the savory cheese types like gorgonzola, cheddar and camembert. Lactosan highlights contrasting preferences for the sweeter cheese types like mascarpone, cream cheese and the Norwegian brunost in Europe.