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Versatility of Honey
bakemag.com, August 6, 2012
by Staff

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A recent consumer survey sponsored by the National Honey Board showcases honey’s versatility as an ingredient — delivering not only a sweet flavor profile, but also providing bakeries with marketing and moisture retention benefits.

The survey polled more than 400 retail bakers, and the National Honey Board was not revealed as the sponsor of the research.

According to the survey, 72% of retail bakers said they use honey in their bakery, the second most popular sweetener behind granulated sugar.

“Honey has always been a popular ingredient in the baking industry for its ability to sweeten bakery foods and bring an exceptional flavor profile to a wide variety of products,” says Catherine Barry, National Honey Board’s director of marketing.

“However, retail bakeries are using honey in their bakery foods for much more than just flavor. They are using honey because it is natural, appeals to consumers and helps extend the shelf life of products by keeping them moist.”

Honey’s versatility as an ingredient helps retail bakeries deliver sweet treats and exceptionally flavored breads, all while maintaining a natural product with a clean label.

The National Honey Board is a federal research and promotion board under USDA oversight that conducts research, marketing and promotion programs to help maintain and expand markets for honey and honey products. These programs are funded by an assessment of 1¢ per pound on domestic and imported honey.

Gluten-free options

Formulating, developing and manufacturing a gluten-free bakery food that tastes good is a challenge, especially if you’re not using artificial ingredients, flavors or preservatives. Bakeries can overcome this challenge by using honey.

Honey plays two significant roles in gluten-free products.

First, bakers love using honey in gluten-free products because it provides an exceptional sweetness while maintaining a clean label. Second, and just as important, honey significantly contributes to a bakery food’s moisture, making sure it stays soft and maintains a desirable texture.

According to a recent report from Leatherhead Food Research, gluten-free is the fastest growing “suitable for / free from” claim in US markets, and gluten-free baked goods have continually improved in quality and flavor over the past 10 years.

For more information, including gluten-free formulas, visit the National Honey Board’s website at www.bakingwithhoney.com

When retail bakeries were asked their reasons for using honey, they listed the following top reasons:

55% Flavor / sweetening
40% All natural sweetener
26% Customer appeal
23% Humectancy / moisture retention
16% Extended shelf life / mold inhibition
7% Coloring
7% Other (dissolves better, locally produced, recipe calls for honey)

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