Today’s consumer wants more from their baked goods. Many are looking for something new and unique, whether it be an innovative flavor or texture, while others prioritize products they can feel better about consuming. 

At BakingTech 2024, held Feb. 27-29 in Chicago, Catherine Hogan, senior category marketing manager, IFF, detailed the biggest trends driving consumers’ baking and snack purchases.

“Newstalgia,” described as a new spin on a familiar favorite, is trending among product launches, Hogan said. Milk Bar, Brooklyn, NY, for example, puts innovative twists on classic offerings like chocolate chip cookies and cake, including Chocolate Chip Passion Fruit Cake Truffles and a Compost Cookie featuring pretzels, potato chips, coffee and more. 

Global flavors are on the rise as well, and Hogan noted the United States’ growing multicultural population will continue to fuel this trend. 

“Younger generations are more diverse, identify as bi-cultural and willing to experiment with new flavors,” she observed. 

Offerings like Monrovia, Calif.-based Trader Joe’s Ube Tea Cookies and Minneapolis-based General Mills’ Dulce De Leche Toast Crunch, for example, are introducing these international flavors to the marketplace.

Taste is king for most consumers, but texture has undergone its own evolution as consumers seek out products that are crunchy, creamy, flaky and more at the same time. 

Smucker’s Hostess brand, Lenexa, Kan., for example, launched Kazbars, a “first of its kind” creamy, crunchy bar with layers of soft chocolate cake, crème, candy crunch and caramel or smooth chocolate fudge.

Hogan added that launching these new products as limited-time-offerings is another trending strategy for manufacturers to test how they perform in the marketplace before making them a permanent addition.

At the same time, more consumers want to feel better about the product they’re consuming while it still meets their flavor and texture expectations. 

Hogan noted that promoting healthy and permissible indulgence by adding indulgent qualities to inherently healthy product categories is a significant opportunity for producers. This can be done by launching better-for-you (BFY) products with indulgent and dessert flavors or adding cleaner ingredients like real fruit inclusions. 

Within the trends of permissible indulgence and BFY, keto/low carb and high protein claims are top of mind for many consumers, and often go hand-in-hand among new product launches. 

Fling Pastries, Montreal, Canada, launched in the United States in February with its BFY toaster pastries that offer 10 grams of protein and 1 gram of sugar.

“Baked goods are the perfect medium to deliver healthy indulgence — satisfying both body and mind,” Hogan said. “Market existing products to promote new usage occasions and deliver fresh excitement via on-trend flavors and formats.”