A huge industry trend in recent years has been movement away from traditional chemical emulsifiers like DATEM, SSL and mono- and diglycerides, towards label-friendly solutions such as enzymes and lecithin, explains Nicole Rees, product director for AB Mauri North America.

This has been done so bakers can remove negative-sounding chemical ingredient names and reduce the amount of saturated fats in their baked products.

Ultimately, the AB Mauri technical baking team understands the use of both chemical and clean label emulsifiers in the production of baked goods and can support the implementation of them for both industrial and artisan bakers.

Specifically, Rees points out that production of sweet goods raises important points to consider when evaluating the applicability – and success rate – of functional ingredients.

“Due to the relatively complex logistics for certain donuts,” she explains, “shelf life may be an issue. Also, a breakdown of glazes can occur in relatively short timeframes.”

Brownie options

As for specific sweet goods like brownies, BakeMark provides solutions for functional and appetizing sweet goods that customers will love.

“In a year like this, we all need a little bit of comfort food, and brownies are one the simplest,” BakeMark explains. “Your customers love the simplicity of a brownie. But try dressing it up with some other products from BakeMark. Products like icings, chocolate chips, chocolate chunks, and even sprinkles.”

BakeMark asks: Do customers like brownies to be cake-like or fudgy? Either way, BakeMark offers a variety of mixes – over five different options – to suit your needs.

If you are looking to create a dark, fudgy brownie with a rich chocolate flavor, BakeMark’s Westco Gourmet Brownie Mix is a perfect match. For those wanting to produce a cake-like brownie with the same rich chocolate flavor, BakeMark recommends Westco Extra Moist Brownie Mix because It produces a cake-like brownie by simply adding water. 

BakeMark also can help you make even better brownies with a few simple tweaks. If you work with oil and water mixes, you can add invert sugar to make them even fudgier than the original. Likewise, with an add water mix, you can achieve fudgier brownies by adding corn syrup. 

Fudge applications

During the Victorian Age, fudge became a destination dessert due to the theater of its production. Fudge shops provided both the entertainment of watching something unusual being made, as well as the happiness of enjoying sweets.

In today’s world, creating delicious artisan fudge is easy with Lawrence Foods Old Tyme EZ Fudge.

According to the National Confectioners Association, seasonal chocolate confectionery sales are growing at 7.5% annually. Americans have a love affair with chocolate, and the holiday season gives us permission to indulge

For one simple dessert application, simply heat Old Tyme EZ Fudge to 165˚F. Add 1 to 2 pounds of inclusions for every 8 pounds of fudge. Pour into tray and let set approximately 4 hours. Try packaging in small containers for an upscale amuse-bouche.

Problem solving

Curt Wagner, a corporate chef with General Mills Foodservice, says that as the bakery business has turned more attention to health concerns through the COVID-19 pandemic, he believes bakeries may want to take note of how they can create new items with health benefits included.

For instance, are there ways to incorporate different anti-inflammatory spices into their baked goods, such as ginger or matcha?

“These not only add another flavor note but add a health benefit to the item you are making,” Wagner says. “By adding proteins, probiotics and prebiotics, minerals, botanical extracts, fatty type acids, and anti-inflammatory spices, we will see the next “cronut” come to fruition.”

Through education, the baking industry needs to be sure folks understand how to use the correct amounts, because too much can literally leave a bad taste in your mouth and too little has no flavor.

Sampling your creations, he adds, will also allow a person to understand the profile you are trying to target.

“It’s also very easy to go online to see what flavors pair well with each, then it’s up to your own imagination,” Wagner says.

Operational challenges

On the operations side of retail business, Kathy Sargent, director of global market strategy for Corbion, shares her ideas on addressing the top priorities with regard to functional ingredients, moving forward.

“Across all categories, fresh delivery, addressing lower open case traffic, and ecommerce struggles are top priorities to retailers, as well as centralizing their manufacturing and providing more pre-packaged options,” Sargent points out. “Retailers are also focused on conditioning for higher throughput in their processes.”

Further, retailers are focused on identifying ways to improve product stability to ensure their products maintain a good freeze thaw cycle, are shelf stable and offer an enjoyable eating experience. 

Finally, packaging will continue to be incredibly important as finished products must be able to remain stable in a package for a much longer timeframe while also providing a premium feel consumers desire.

“We anticipate a continued evolution of center store behaviors in the coming year and believe we can expect consumers and retailers alike to continue embracing technology solutions,” Sargent explains. “Consumers will also look for retailers to deliver premium quality with packaging and delivery. We also anticipate retailers to focus on infrastructure and logistics to support consistent delivery of quality products and organization across their operation.”