This is the next in our series of Supply Side Innovators featured in our Bake Twentyfive issue. Each weekday, we will spotlight a new Supply Side Innovator that can help you create the flavors, textures, and designs your customers will love.

Sugar reduction is a key concern on the minds of today’s consumers, particularly younger shoppers, and Sunsweet Ingredients offers bakeries a wide range of innovative solutions.

“I believe sugar reduction is key and fewer preservatives are to follow,” says Rick Perez C.E.C. AAC, corporate R&D chef for Sunsweet. “Finding cleaner and more innovative ways to accomplish some of these target are paramount to the baking industry.”

With ingredients from Sunsweet, bakers can lower sugar and sodium. Sunsweet’s ingredients also maintain peak freshness longer.

For example, a fresh muffin extends its peak shelf life with Sunsweet. In addition, “we keep cookies soft and a real complement to vegan and gluten-free bakery items, creating a moister tasty product,” Perez says.

“Crumbling is a thing of the past when using our plum ingredients,” he adds. “We also add natural caramel color, which is also trending now as well.”

Sunsweet can assist bakers with the benefits of plum ingredients. For example, Sunsweet prune juice concentrate is sweet, but not all of its sweetness comes from sugar.

Broken down, the sugars in 100 grams of concentrate contain 21.28 grams glucose, 14.38 grams fructose, 16.2 grams sorbitol and 14.38 grams fructose.

The low levels of sucrose can help keep labels free from added sugars.

Meanwhile, the sorbitol also helps hold onto moisture, which helps ease issues involving dried-out low-sugar baked goods. (Both sugar and sorbitol are hygroscopic.)

With the consistency and color of molasses but with a mellower sweetness, prune juice concentrate works in a number of baking recipes to boost sweetness and moisture with lower amounts of sugar and fat.

“In the next five years sugars will be reduced due to the current tide in other food categories,” Perez says. “Awareness and changes in preservatives gain more natural ways and R&D thinking out of the current box.”

Fast facts

Headquartered in Yuba City, California, Sunsweet has evolved into a global company with wide international distribution. Sunsweet Ingredients are produced by Sunsweet Growers Inc., a grower-owned cooperative founded in the valleys of Northern California in 1917. Derived from the d’Agen prune plum variety, Sunsweet’s plums are farmed, harvested and processed using the proprietary technology and experience of Sunsweet Growers. Sunsweet plums are distinguished from common table plums by their high levels of natural sorbitol, antioxidants, and acidity. When the company’s fresh plums are dried, they yield a rich and complex, tangy caramel flavor.