The ready-to-eat and ready-to-prepare baked goods category is booming and it’s no surprise. Not only has “from scratch” baking enjoyed a huge resurgence during the lockdown brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic, the yearning to find comfort in the nostalgic and tasty indulgences of baked goods has also contributed to an already-strong market for baking mixes and ready-to-eat (RTE) bakery products—both savory and sweet. However, in this era of enhanced awareness about nutrition and wellness, not just any product will do.
Today’s consumers are looking more closely than ever at what’s in their food, especially when it comes to how they indulge. This includes seeking out items made with wholesome, real food ingredients, functional add-ins, limited processing and qualities such as USDA Organic, non-GMO, vegan, plant- based, Fair Trade and more. At the same time, people are paying equal attention to what isn’t in their food, which might mean ingredients such as sugar, gluten, soy or dairy.
Despite these demands, U.S. consumers still want all the indulgence of their favorite baked treats with none of the guilt. And, thanks to the creativity of natural products brands—particularly with regard to ingredient innovation—there’s no reason they can’t have their clean label cake and eat it too. Today’s products offer all the great taste and texture of beloved cakes, cookies, crackers and even breakfast foods, along with added benefits that might include extra protein, superfoods, hidden veggies, good fats and more.
Here are a few of the very different takes on clean label baked goods that have been hitting store shelves and reflect some of today’s most noteworthy dietary tribes.
This piece originally appeared on Food & Beverage Insider, a New Hope Network sister website. To read more expert analysis about this topic, check out the "Clean label innovation in the bakery aisle" digital magazine.