(The cretzel from Zaro's in NYC)
The lure of late summer and early fall is not only reliant on seasonal change, but also what that change brings with it, namely a shift in food tastes.
Over the course of the past few years, pretzels have taken off as a reliable source of business for bakeries looking to capitalize on an emerging trend. This is apparent in items such as pretzel buns and breads, which was spurred by national food chains such as Wendy’s adopting them in their menus and taking them mainstream.
The pretzel boom started with bakeries in Europe and eventually made its way to America. The novelty of the items took hold first, but the taste is what has allowed them to thrive in American bakeries. According to Food Business News, mentions of pretzel breads on menus have gone up 97 percent between 2012 and 2015. It adds a level of excitement, especially when implemented during the fall.
As the taste for pretzel continues to grow, bakeries must adapt in order to satisfy consumer demand. This means creating new and interesting takes on a classic flavor.
We’ve all heard of pretzel buns, but the pretzel flavor is expanding to other breads, such as the croissant. While first developed in the 90s, the cretzel has exploded onto the scene recently as the taste of pretzel has encouraged its placement on menus. The cretzel has sprung from the need for innovation in places such as New York. Zaro’s Family Bakery developed its Bronx Cretzel by fusing its signature Zaro croissant with the pretzel recipe of the Bronx Baking Co.
“The Bronx Cretzel is designed to offer the novelty of a traditional pretzel on the exterior and the sophisticated satisfaction of croissant on the interior,” Zaro’s said.
Zaro’s has successfully enhanced its product lineup with new pretzel offerings, and in doing so has made it much more appealing to consumers who are looking for a standout.
Merging Salty and Sweet
The average consumer’s palette is inclined to enjoy a combination of the salty and sweet tastes. Salted caramel has been a popular treat in America for a long time, and foods like bacon are seeing a popularity boom in part because of their inclusion in desserts such as donuts and cupcakes.
Naturally, pretzels provide the perfect canvas to add a sweet flavor. Continuing with the theme of witty name fusions, we next look at the prezookie: stuffed pretzel cookie.
Stuffed pretzel cookies almost sound too good to be true, but they are very real and quite spectacular. Sprinkling chocolate chips, brown sugar, and cinnamon into the pretzel dough before baking can turn the average pretzel into a sweet and chewy surprise. By merging a satisfying pretzel with a delicious cookie flavor, you’ve created a new menu item that combines the best of both worlds.
Better for you
Healthy food options have become a priority in recent years. Consumers are looking for foods that fill that role in their snacking. Pretzels have long been considered healthier than many conventional snacks. While their sodium content can be high, they also contain iron, vitamins, and other essential nutrients, which can aid digestion and boost metabolism. Depending on the type of flour used, those levels can sway even further.
One segment of the population that is often underserved on menus would be those with gluten intolerance. Last year, a study published in the journal Digestion claimed that an estimated 1 percent of the population has celiac disease, and must completely avoid gluten. Additionally, those with gluten sensitivity, an estimated 18 million (or 6 percent of the population), are encouraged to avoid gluten as well.
That doesn’t even cover those Americans who avoid gluten regardless of their tolerance to it. A Gallup poll published last year stated that 1 in 5 people say they try to include gluten-free foods in their diet.
Bakeries across the country have undergone the process of adjusting to the growing percentage of Americans who rely on gluten-free foods in their diets.
Pretzels are no different. For those who love their taste but can’t handle the normal gluten content, you can provide a gluten-free option that is true to the flavors and textures of standard pretzels.
By examining these pretzel trends and including them in your bakery’s menu, you can ensure that you are keeping pace with a consumer demand that constantly evolves. They are one of the hottest bakery items in recent years, and their popularity will allow them to continue expanding in our food culture.