Raisins are becoming an important ally for retail bakeries that are introducing new products geared for America’s snacking generation. Ridley’s Bakery Cafe in Troy, MI, is one example of an independent retailer enjoying great success with a new product called Cinnamon Krisps, which is made from cinnamon roll bread with raisins. Originally, a Ridley’s baker discovered that he could use leftover cinnamon bread to create a new snack food by slicing the bread into thin pieces and then brushing with egg wash, adding coarse sugar and baking. One 8-oz package of Ridley’s Cinnamon Krisps sells for $3.99.
“We can’t make enough of them,” says Ridley’s owner Karl Kornack. “Now we make cinnamon roll bread specifically for this product. Our cinnamon roll bread is made with honey, cinnamon, sugar, raisins and whole wheat flour.”
Sinfull Bakery in Houston is another that is introducing new products geared for changing demands. This health-focused bakery, specializing in vegan, offers a new Everything Bar that is made with organic seedless raisins and numerous other organic ingredients.
Such products appeal to the growing appetite among American consumers for health-focused snacks. A recent NPD food market research report finds that although Americans still carve out main meal times, the number of items consumed at each main meal has declined over time and consumers snack in-between meals often.
Granola with raisins makes a great snack food, and more retailers are jumping on this bandwagon. Great Harvest Bread Co., which just opened its newest location in Katy, TX, offers a product called Groovy Granola, which is billed as a “healthy snack straight from the bag.” This resealable 1-lb bag contains raisins, rolled oats, cashews, honey, molasses, dried cranberries, sunflower seeds and cinnamon.
Delightful Pastries in Chicago makes its own Granola Cookies with raisins, cranberries, bittersweet chocolate, cashews and sunflower seeds.
California seedless raisins are available in a variety of sizes appropriate for bakers. These include mini midget raisins, midget raisins, select raisins and jumbo raisins, according to the California Raisin Marketing Board. Golden raisins, Zante currants and other dried grape varieties are also available for specialized applications.
Raisins can be used right out of the case, but experienced bakers commonly condition raisins in advance. This involves re-hydrating raisins to the desired moisture level. Conditioning is an important step in the production of raisin breads. If raisins are not conditioned but added directly to the dough, they will draw moisture from the bread during fermentation and baking. This also causes the bread to stale during shipping and distribution, which reduces the shelf life.
Promoting raisins to kids
Bakery snack foods that contain raisins are particularly well-suited when developing new snack products for children. Research from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill indicates that children consume a quarter of their daily calories from snacks.
A recent study from the University of Toronto revealed that snacking on raisins may help control hunger in children, an added benefit for weeknight evenings when dinner is delayed due to soccer practice, band rehearsal or other after-school activities. The study showed that among children, eating raisins as an after-school snack prevents excessive calorie intake and increases satiety — or feeling of fullness — as compared to other commonly consumed snacks.
California raisins are all-natural, fat- and cholesterol-free and are ranked first as the most economical dried fruit by the USDA, making them a delicious snack addition. For more snack ideas, visit www.LoveYourRaisins.com.