Summer promotions are playing an uplifting role for decorated cupcakes and cakes. And colorful berries and rich dark chocolate are elevating sweet bakery items to star status.

For the first time, consumers nationwide can purchase Rubicon Bakers’ Vegan Lemon Raspberry Cupcakes at more than 1,800 Kroger stores through a creative collaboration between Washington red raspberry farmers and the Certified B Corporation.

The national rollout follows the success of the new flavor launch last spring at a regional level. The Washington red raspberry industry partnered with Rubicon Bakers’ research and development team to feature a Washington red raspberry puree in both the filling and icing that complements the citrusy lemon cupcake flavor.

To celebrate the national availability of the product, Washington red raspberry growers will donate $1 to FareStart for every package of cupcakes sold, up to $10,000. FareStart is a non-profit organization based in Seattle that transforms lives, disrupts cycles of poverty and nourishes communities through food, life skills and job training. FareStart’s work is in line with Rubicon Bakers’ social mission to provide opportunities for those with significant barriers to employment.

“We believe in creating baked goods you can feel good about enjoying, and our Vegan Lemon Raspberry Cupcakes are no exception. The pink color in the icing and filling comes entirely from the vibrant red raspberry puree we source from Washington red raspberry growers,” said Andrew Stoloff and Leslie Crary, co-owners of Rubicon Bakers. “We’re thrilled to see how excited our customers are about this product, now available nationally, and we’re proud to continue working with Washington red raspberry growers.”

The cupcakes are packaged in a 4-pack clamshell with a suggested retail price of $5.99. This is the first time the logo of the Washington Red Raspberry Commission, which represents the growers who produce approximately 90% of the country’s frozen red raspberry crop, is prominently featured on a consumer packaged good.

“It’s always a pleasure to introduce the many benefits of Washington red raspberries to research and development teams looking for natural and delicious ingredients, but this particular effort is special,” said Henry Bierlink, executive director of the Washington Red Raspberry Commission. “This is bigger than raspberries and cupcakes. We commend Rubicon Bakers for its commitment to hire and support those with significant barriers to employment. It’s our honor to extend that mission to our neighboring Seattle area by donating to FareStart in addition to the good that is done by purchasing the cupcakes.”

A burst of blue

July is National Blueberry Month, and that means promoting a boost of blue – all for a good cause. The U.S. Highbush Blueberry Council has put together a list of daily tips designed to boost the whole you, lifting the mind and body.

For instance, celebrate National Blueberry Muffin Day on July 11 your way: small (Blueberry Mini Muffins), streusel-y (Blueberry Streusel Muffins) or even sippable (Blueberry Muffin Smoothie).

Throughout July, for each blueberry boost retailers post, the U.S. Highbush Blueberry Council will donate $1 to No Kid Hungry. Just tag @blueberries on Instagram, Facebook, Twitter or TikTok, to help raise up to $50,000 and 500,000 meals for kids in need.

Retailers are invited to join the council for this fun, meaningful challenge to get you doing good and feeling good when you grab a boost of blue. (Bonus: You’ll pick up some great tips to inspire you all year long.)

Strawberry fields, forever

California Strawberries kicked off peak season with the launch of its national 'Love, Strawberries' Jingle Contest. In April, aspiring musicians and strawberry enthusiasts alike were encouraged to write, record, and post their original 45-second jingle masterpieces highlighting the love people have for the famous heart-shaped berry via social media. California Strawberries will award one talented winner $10,000 plus an all-expense-paid trip for two to California.

'Love, Strawberries' launched in February as a new, year-long campaign platform inspired by the love and the care the heart-healthy berry provides. By design, the campaign taps into and celebrates the love that consumers have for this vibrant, sweet and juicy berry, and the millions of ways people enjoy them every day. The 'Love, Strawberries' Jingle Contest aims to elevate the reputation of California strawberries, while aspiring to reach new iconic standards within pop culture. 

"We are reaching new heights in 2022 with the launch of the first-ever strawberry jingle contest," said Chris Christian, senior vice president of the California Strawberry Commission. "We are excited about this year's Love, Strawberries campaign designed to simply remind people of the extraordinary care that goes into growing and harvesting one of the healthiest and most versatile fruits to eat."

Sugar reduction

Blommer Chocolate Company and DouxMatok, a food tech company spearheading sugar reduction, have announced the launch of additional chocolate and confectionery products. Earlier this year, Blommer launched the innovative Discovery product line, empowered by DouxMatok’s award-winning sugar-based sugar reduction solution, Incredo® Sugar. The first products were chocolate-flavored chips and they have now expanded the product line to include additional coatings to support utilization in a broader range of food applications, including but not limited to panning, enrobing, and molding.

Providing sugar-reduced chocolate that delivers on taste, sweetness and nutrition has been a long-standing industry challenge, particularly while fulfilling increased consumer interest in short and understandable ingredient lists. Blommer is pushing the envelope again with this new line of milk, dark and white coatings, achieving up to 50% sugar reduction without using any high intensity sweeteners or sugar alcohols. The team of chocolate scientists at Blommer have designed various concepts to demonstrate that it is now a possibility to achieve over 40% sugar reduction in some of the beloved snack and bakery applications such as nut butter cups, bars and chocolate chip cookies.

“Global research continues to indicate that taste is the first consideration when consumers make food choices, but they have historically shied away from chocolate products with less added sugar due to negative taste perception,” said David Meggs, chief operating officer at Blommer Chocolate Company.  “We have tremendous opportunity at our fingertips to bring consumers back to this category who have avoided sugar-reduced products because they simply didn’t taste good enough.”

Blommer is excited to be first to market with this innovation and will continue to expand the Discovery product line to meet the rapidly changing consumer needs.

“We’re thrilled about the new opportunities that the expanded Discovery product line will open up for food brands,” said Kelly Thompson, DouxMatok’s senior vice president, head of North America. “Chocolate-covered snacks are beloved by consumers, and they shouldn’t have to compromise on taste or nutrition when they reach for their favorite treats.”

Recognized as a special mention in the Best Inventions of 2020 by TIME magazine, Incredo Sugar is the flagship product of DouxMatok, a global food-tech company pioneering the development of efficient nutrition and flavor technologies and enabling tastier and healthier consumption of foods. Incredo Sugar is a sugar-based sugar reduction solution that improves the efficiency of sugar delivery to the sweet taste receptors and enhances the perception of sweetness enabling substantial sugar reduction without compromising taste, mouthfeel, or texture. Based on real cane sugar, this breakthrough, patented sugar reduction solution enables food manufacturers to develop delicious, better-for-you formulations that deliver great taste experiences and enhance nutritional values of sweet food products while reducing sugar.