Dairy flavors, which run the gamut of cheddar cheese to sour cream to yogurt, have long been used in both sweet and savory baked goods, either alone or in combination with spices and seasonings. Think cheddar jalapeño bagels, sour cream and onion crackers and yogurt-coated granola bars. To appeal to consumers’ more sophisticated taste preferences, Edlong Dairy Technologies, Elk Grove Village, IL, recently rolled out a line of European cheese flavors that can take a baked good from mainstream to specialty. 

“Familiar favorite profiles of Brie, Camembert, Comte, Edam and Gouda, for example, connect with today’s adventurous consumer who appreciates sophisticated tastes,” said Jen Lowry, Edlong’s vice-president of sales and marketing. “These cheese flavors create authentic profiles at a fraction of the cost of the artisanal cheese.” Prototypes include an almond and cherry Gouda protein bar and gluten-free Gruyere crackers.

Fruit continues to do well in baked goods, but today’s foodie-inspired consumer wants more than the basic raspberry or cherry. “We are seeing a lot of fruit flavors with a twist,” said Greg Kaminski, executive research chef, Synergy Flavors, Wauconda, IL. Unexpected pairings include blueberry lime, grapefruit hibiscus and honey fig.

“Some of the combination flavors are used to complement one another,” Mr. Kaminski said. “When we think of grapefruit on its own, it can be perceived as sour, too tart or polarizing, but when put together with hibiscus, the consumer now thinks of floral, sweet and subtle. These flavor blends are showing up in everything from protein bars to cupcake icings to biscotti cookies.”

Baked goods have enjoyed a revolution in the past decade where almost nothing is off limits, Mr. Schaefer concluded. “Baked goods are much more versatile than they have been given credit for.”