Fruit filling and layers on packaging, texture
Layers and fruit fillings on the front of packaging are ways to show texture.

Indulgence through texture

Coatings, fillings, inclusions and layers all may add texture in baked foods

Indulgence lives, and texture is providing much of the marketing oxygen, especially in baked foods.

“Even in this clean, healthy trend that we see, there’s still a lot of room for indulgence, but there’s a lot of definitions for indulgence,” said Lu Ann Williams, director of innovation for Innova Market Insights, Duiven, The Netherlands

Texture claims increasingly are appearing on the front of packaging, she said during a June 26 presentation in Las Vegas at IFT17, the Institute of Food Technologists’ annual meeting and exposition. The number of global food and beverage new product launches tracked with texture claims had a 13% compound annual growth rate from 2012-2016, according to Innova Market Insights.

Ms. Williams listed several superlative examples of front-of-package claims: “super moist,” “deliciously moist,” “double crunch bar” and “ooey gooey chocolately chewy.”

“There’s a lot of claims, and we’re seeing more and more interest in this every year,” Ms. Williams said. “So I think there’s a lot of innovation possibilities within this whole texture area.”

Promoting texture attributes in a product should involve all the senses, not just what consumers taste but also what they hear and smell. Many products feature visual cues on the front of packaging, such as showing crispy snacks breaking and little pieces flying into the air, she said. Colors, shapes, patterns, coatings and fillings also may be communicated on the front of packaging.

Baked foods offer different ways to create texture.

“You can add texture through toppings, through coatings, fillings, inclusions, the product base itself, and then you also use layers,” she said.

Fillings may add another layer of indulgence.

“Some people like to really have something thick and creamy that swishes up to the top of their mouth,” Ms. Williams said. “Other people like the little crunchy bits.”

She pointed to a pastry in which consumers could choose from two double layers of frosting, either chocolate and raspberry or hazelnut and white chocolate. In the same pastry, consumers also could choose from two double fillings, either white chocolate with black chocolate or raspberry with Bavarian cream.

“We could have a whole day, I think, looking at all the different layers that are happening in bakery,” Ms. Williams said.

Icings, glazes, fondants and frostings may serve as coatings. She pointed to the popularity of a donut with blue glaze. Co-branding also may involve coatings, such as Ghirardelli chocolate coating.

Texture and clean label claims may work together, a practice most often seen in Western Europe and North America. Western Europe accounted for 41% of all food and beverage launched with both a clean label and texture claim that Innova Market Insights tracked from 2012 to 2016. North America accounted for 31%.