Otis Spunkmeyer No Funky Stuff label, Aryzta
Otis Spunkmeyer’s No Funky Stuff foods are made without artificial flavors or colors, high-fructose corn syrup, or partially hydrogenated oils.

ANAHEIM, CALIF. — At Dairy-Deli-Bake, the annual conference and tradeshow for the International Dairy-Deli-Bakery Association (IDDBA), clean label was king. And going a step further, transparency rules beyond the ingredient list and all the way into the brands. Many exhibitors at this year’s show, which took place June 4-6, recognized that people want to know what’s in their food. If these wholesale bakery companies can tell them where those ingredients came from, even better. And if they can somehow make consumers feel like they know the people making that food, it’s a home run.

Jonathan Davis, Aryzta
Jonathan Davis, senior vice-president of R.&D. for Aryzta

“The word for the year is ‘transparency,’” said Jonathan Davis, senior vice-president, R.&D., Aryzta, Los Angeles.

Getting back to basics was another big theme seen across the show floor. Salted caramel is out. Sustainably sourced chocolate is in. Mr. Davis noted consumers are less interested in outrageous flavor combinations but are instead gravitating to one standout.

“We’re getting really detailed into ingredients, now,” Mr. Davis said. “It’s not just about chocolate; consumers want unique types of chocolate.”

Rich Products Simply Delicious
Rich Products’ Simply Delicious line of baked goods includes such indulgent treats as chocolate cheesecake.

Even the most everyday ingredients — lemons, for instance — can bring something special to baked foods.

“We can go as far as calling out a type of lemon … is it a California lemon or a Meyer lemon? Things like that,” Mr. Davis said. “There’s a difference.”

From Otis Spunkmeyer’s No Funky Stuff platform in its most recent line of retail foods, to the new Firefly brand from Dawn Foods, Jackson, Mich., to Buffalo, N.Y.-based Rich Products’ Simply Delicious line of baked goods, indulgences that people can feel better about eating are at the forefront of innovation. It’s not about trying to make a “healthy” indulgence — after all, it’s still indulgence — but the focus is on making it in a way that doesn’t feel so … “dirty” for the end user.

Dawn Foods Firefly Baking Co.
Dawn’s new Firefly brand includes cookies and brownies with easy-to-read ingredient labels.

For people to feel good about the foods they eat, nostalgia plays a big role. Dawn’s new Firefly brand includes cookies and brownies targeted to moms who don’t want to withhold treats from their children but also don’t want to feel guilty about what they’re feeding them. These consumers remember their own moms making cookies and treats for them, and while they are likely working outside the home, they just don’t have time.

Jennifer Lapaugh, Dawn Foods
Jenny LaPaugh, senior director of global market research and insights for Dawn Foods

“We looked at the marketplace, and we uncovered a consumer we call the balanced engager,” said Jenny LaPaugh, senior director of global market research and insights, Dawn Foods. “She still wants to feed her family baked goods, and she wants them to be real, but they have to taste good.”

The Firefly line of products has an easy-to-read ingredients label made with ingredients that moms will feel good about feeding their children and families, Ms. LaPaugh said.

Similarly, Otis Spunkmeyer’s No Funky Stuff foods, which include cookies, muffins, loaf cakes, snack cakes and more, are a throwback to the frozen cookie dough and food service cookies that the brand has been known for for decades, from the first days of its retail shops in Oakland, Calif., to the famed frozen cookie dough known for countless elementary school fundraisers over the years. As the No. 1 food service cookie dough provider, Otis Spunkmeyer received numerous requests from consumers for better access to them.

Otis Spunkmeyer
Aryzta's No Funky Stuff foods appeal to consumers who grew up on Otis Spunkmeyer products.

In developing the retail line of foods, Otis Spunkmeyer chose to revisit the ingredient list — while staying true to the original recipe — in order to use more wholesome ingredients that people will feel better about feeding their families.

The No Funky Stuff foods appeal to consumers who grew up on Otis Spunkmeyer products.

Charice Grace, Aryzta
Charice Grace, brand director of Otis Spunkmeyer.

“We started with fun foods that make people smile, and it takes people back to their childhood when they think of Otis Spunkmeyer,” said Charice Grace, brand director, Otis Spunkmeyer. “People always remember how great those freshly baked Otis Spunkmeyer cookies were.”

These kinds of foods give consumers an opportunity to reclaim their youth when they just don’t have the time and resources to do it the way mom used to. They get a piece of the past while still moving forward in today’s fast-paced life.