As a baked, low-fat snack, pretzels are a good choice for those interested in healthy eating. And makers of all types of pretzels are trying new formats, seasonings and fillings to interest consumers.

“We’re giving people opportunities to eat our products for breakfast, lunch and dinner,” Gary Gottenbusch, president of the pretzel-making company Ditsch USA, Cincinnati, told Baking & Snack’s Executive Editor Dan Malovany. “We’re trying to get them to focus on eating pretzels 24 hours a day.”

At IDDBA 2022, Ditsch tested individually wrapped, microwaveable sweet and savory pretzel sticks that come filled with cream cheese, chocolate or salted caramel as well as various flavored butter and cheese products. The company is exploring better-for-you options as well 

Randy Kelly, applications specialist, Fritsch, a Multivac Group company, said he’s seeing interesting flavor combinations with pretzels.

“With the popularity of flavor combinations such as salted caramel or lye pretzel pieces in ice cream, we notice that the lye pretzel is also increasingly combined with sweet ingredients that at first seem contrary, such as chocolate spreads,” he said. “Pretzels made of sweet dough are almost reminiscent of donuts: colorful and glazed in various flavors, such as Maple Pecan, Peanut Caramel, Chocolate, etc. The product ‘pretzel’ is really versatile.”

With half of all meals today consumed as snacks, according to Melissa Abbott, vice president of retainer services, The Hartman Group, there are plenty of opportunities for pretzel makers.

“Our snacking is just as important as our mealtimes in American culture,” Ms. Abbott said. “So we look to fill those gaps with nutrition whether it’s fiber, protein, good fats, healthy carbohydrates. We look to make sure our snacks are representative of those things that should be showing up at our mealtime.”

This article is an excerpt from the October 2022 issue of Baking & Snack. To read the entire feature on Pretzel Processing, click here.