Even as health and wellness trends abound in most other food categories, consumer interest in pies and cakes has not waned. According to the American Egg Board, the largest portion of sales is driven by private label brands, representing 38% of the market. While there is an increase in seasonal pie consumption during the holiday season, the trend toward more snacking has Americans wanting more indulgent options year-round.

To keep growing in the pie category, manufacturers will need to continue to innovate with fresh flavors, convenient packaging and single-serve portion sizes that appeal to today’s consumers.

In a recent study for the American Egg Board (conducted by CuliNex), eggs were reduced or removed from pumpkin pie filling formulas and replaced with commercial egg replacer products at the manufacturers’ suggested rates. The recommended whole egg replacement for pie fillings ranged from 50% to 100%.

Eight egg replacer ingredients were tested in pie filling formulas. Those tested included blends of various ingredients, including starches, proteins, leaveners, emulsifiers, enzymes and hydrocolloids; citrus fiber; algae; and dairy protein.

Pies were all prepared in the same conditions, in the same model equipment and on the same day. Consistent batching, mixing, portioning and cooking procedures were used to limit variables. Baking times were neither adjusted nor optimized for each test formula. Instead, a standardized time and temperature setting was used to ensure each test saw the same conditions. The filling viscosity test was performed immediately after mixing, while all other tests were done after the pies were baked and cooled on the following day.

Conclusions: Changes to pie fillings with reduced egg content were noticeable. The sensory evaluation results from panelists on the organoleptic attributes of the pie fillings tested were generally consistent with the findings of the objective analytical test results. The areas of pie filling quality most negatively affected when eggs are removed or replaced included unbaked filling viscosity, baked pie appearance and firmness.