As clean label becomes the norm and protein makes its way into any product it can, formulators are left wondering what the next breakthrough ingredients will be. At the tail end of 2018, probiotics were gaining steam, as were keto-friendly items, but will their momentum continue?
To help product developers better navigate the year ahead, Baking & Snack asked 14 industry experts, “What ingredients will be game-changers in 2019?” Here is what they had to say.
John Powers, director of marketing, ADM Nutrition: Today’s consumers take a holistic approach to health — they demand functional, transparent, natural foods with wholesome ingredients. Because of this, we see several health and wellness ingredients trending into the baking and snack category. Demand for ancient grains and seeds, such as amaranth, quinoa and chia, will continue to grow as they fit into the back-to-basics approach consumers are taking.
Gut health will remain a top priority for consumers, so we predict an increase in probiotics and prebiotics, including fiber. Consumers are also seeking foods and drinks for heart health, cognitive health, and sustained energy. Ingredients such as plant-based proteins, antioxidants, MCT oils and plant sterols can help bakers meet this demand.
We also see fruit and vegetable powders for flavor and colors from natural sources trending upward since they help address clear and clean label demand. Finally, we expect global and spicy flavors to trend upward with consumers today seeking out more global and diverse flavor experiences.
Don Trouba, senior director go-to-market, The Annex by Ardent Mills: I see high fiber as a game-changer in 2019. Our recent research report, “Innovation Drivers & Trend Landscape Report, 2018,” details how consumers are driven by a need to “own their own health,” and seek highly individualized nutrition plans to achieve their own personal definitions of optimum health. Manufacturers are supplying more choices to meet their individual needs, whether it’s higher protein, more fiber, gluten-free, increased energy or feeling full. At the same time, consumers continue to be more adventurous, and that might mean they are seeking out ingredients they’ve never tried before, or they are curious about terms like “nutraceuticals,” “activated” ingredients and the microbiome. In our category, we predict the important role of fiber on a healthy microbiome and gut health will continue to be studied.
Donna Berry, contributing editor, Baking & Snack: Bakers are uniquely poised to participate in the plant-based trend through the inclusion of legumes, ancient grains, nuts and seeds in varied forms — flours to whole foods — and embraced by consumers looking for flavor and texture adventure while heeding dietary recommendations. Many of these plant-based ingredients also provide protein, which is an additional approach to boosting the nutritional profile of baked goods. This may attract shoppers who are limiting their carbohydrate intake but still crave a sandwich, muffin, cookie or cracker.
Ingredients for digestive health, namely prebiotic fibers and probiotic cultures, also entice. When including value-added ingredients, formulators should consider exploring unique flavors as well, as the curious shopper who is seeking out foods for their health often is up for culinary adventure. These are the consumers who crave ethnic flavors and fusion cuisine. Bakeries need to be creative and price their innovation at a premium. By sharing the story behind a concept, today’s shopper is often more than willing to support efforts.
George Vindiola, vice-president of R.&D., Campbell Snacks: With Middle Eastern flavors now more common, the sour flavors of dried limes, pomegranate molasses and tamarind aren’t so foreign anymore. I’ve seen more and more articles and recipes embracing sour profiles. With fermentation so common in restaurants and home kitchens, sour flavors are more appreciated than ever it seems.
Like it or not, marijuana is also making its way into our food systems. The non-psychoactive component C.B.D. has made its way into candies, beverages and snacks, providing a new form of relaxation for consumers. New stores specializing in C.B.D. have started popping up all over the country.
Matt Gennrich, senior food technologist, R.&D. bakery applications, Cargill: I see ingredients that fall within three specific categories as playing a major role in shaping the bakery space for 2019. The first of these categories is plant protein. Consumers are very focused on finding alternatives to animal protein, and quality plant proteins, like quinoa, along with high-performing, neutral-flavored products like pea protein will be in demand.
The second category is clean label. Bakers are looking for label-friendly alternatives to DATEM, mono- and di-glycerides and similar ingredients. As a result, we’ll continue to see increased use of lecithins, which offer similar functionality.
The final category that is poised to have a greater effect on bakery is sugar reduction. While it has already taken hold in the beverage space, sugar reduction continues to ramp up in bakery. Effective solutions to replace bulk, such as combinations of erythritol and chicory root fiber, and consumer-friendly options for enhancing sweetness, such as stevia leaf extracts and steviol glycosides, will be key to achieving success. While it will be difficult to match the levels of sugar reduction seen in beverage (sometimes up to 100%), more modest reductions of 15 to 20% should be achievable in high-sugar-content bakery items, with limited effect on overall product performance.
Len Heflich, president, The Center for Food Integrity, and Baking & Snack contributing editor: We have seen several trends in food ingredients in the past few years that are likely to be with us for some time. Coconut oil used in foods and as a topical application — vindicated by the way from poison to health food. Bone broth is a popular health food alternative to sugary beverages. Gluten-free and keto diets, designed to help with weight loss, remind me of the line in a Golden Earring song: ‘Where am I to go now that I’ve gone too far.’ There is a lot of accumulating evidence of the harm these diets do in the long term. The answer, I think, is a return to moderation. We need fiber in our diet to feed our intestinal bacteria, and these diets largely eliminate foods that are highest in fiber, especially gluten- and carb-containing baked goods. I think the hot new ingredients will focus on fiber, low or reduced sugar and antioxidants. Sprouted grains are a likely choice. Charcoal is also an interesting ingredient, good for the intestines and finding its way into foods, toothpaste and topical applications.
Ashley Robertson, market manager, bakery, Corbion: Ingredients that jump out to me as major game changers in the bakery segment for 2019 are those used to promote healthy living and gut health as well as those for ethnic-inspired, label-friendly or free-from, plant-based or high-protein, and fiber-rich applications.
Health and wellness, including gut health, is top of mind for many consumers when purchasing food and beverage products today, and the bakery segment is no exception. As a result, there’s a strong need for cleaner, more natural ingredients that provide the functionality of traditional ferments and mold inhibitors. These ingredients, which are typically listed as fermented wheat, fermented sugar and vinegar, serve as clean label alternatives for artificial ingredients like calcium propionate.
At one point, plant-based proteins were perceived to only be for vegans or vegetarians, but now, thanks to better technology and improved product formulations, other consumers are seeking out snacks and baked goods made from beans, lentils, seeds, algae, hemp and even crickets. Some of the biggest game-changers in this arena in 2019 will be lentils and lentil flour, pea proteins and pea flour, and fava beans or fava flours.
Newly discovered health benefits beyond digestive health are driving fiber-based applications in multiple product categories, including bakery. Fiber benefit claims largely centered around improving cholesterol and blood sugar levels, managing weight and increasing energy have become especially popular today. As a result, we anticipate seeing an increase in fiber-based applications, including those made from nutrient-dense ancient grains like sorghum and amaranth.
Global flavors such as chilis, herbs, mint, limes, berries and floral flavors are also increasing in popularity as consumers continue to look for new and exciting ways to explore the world through the foods they eat. Many of these ingredients can be used to spice up breakfast options like pastries or to create Middle Eastern- and Latin-inspired fare like flatbreads and naan.
Al Orr, vice-president of sales and marketing, J&K Ingredients: One trend that we have seen is the growth in organic baked goods produced by larger wholesale bakeries. There are much better organic ingredient options for wholesale organic bakeries than just a couple of years ago. The advent of organic dough conditioners, anti-staling shelf life extenders and mold inhibitors is very exciting for the organic baker.
The advances in organic ingredient technology are aiding these larger wholesale bakeries in producing organic baked goods more efficiently and consistently. The shelf life of organic baked goods has also been greatly helped by the development of organic ingredients that keep products softer and mold-free for longer periods of time. Many of the traditional problems related to organic baked goods such as too slow to process, low tolerance leading to inconsistent product and very short shelf-life have been significantly reduced due to the new generation of organic baking ingredients.
Sian Cunningham, marketing insights specialist, Kerry: Holistic health across all food and beverages has become a table stake. Within food and beverage, consumers are increasingly conscientious about the items they consume, from whole, less processed and clean label items to ingredients providing additional health benefits.
Functional ingredients that boast added protein and probiotics have begun to grow within snacks, coffee, and tea, beyond their usual presence in bars, nutritional beverages and sports drinks. Although products with functional claims hold a small share of sales within bakery and snacks (1% or less), the desire for functionally nutritious products is growing. Adaptogenic, anti-inflammatory and antioxidant rich ingredients are also a part of this growing trend. According to Mintel GNPD data, Ashwagandha, an adaptogenic herb, grew in snack product launches by 9.6% since last year. Turmeric grew in product launches in bakery and snacks since last year by 66.67% and 12.5%, respectively. And Spirulina, containing high levels of antioxidants and anti-inflammatory properties, grew by 81.7% in bakery launches and 14.5% in snacks since 2015. Offering consumers added functionality while satiating their taste expectations is crucial.
Stephanie Perruzza, registered dietitian and health and wellness expert, KIND: It’s no surprise that 2018 was the year of alternative nut butters — such as almond butter, cashew butter and walnut butter. While nut butters’ popularity likely won’t slow down in the coming year, we anticipate a new offering to hit the scene: seed butters. Even though tahini, or sesame seed butter, has been a staple in Middle Eastern cuisine, no other seed butter has made its way West with the same significance. In 2019, keep an eye out for sunflower, pumpkin and watermelon seed butters, which share the same good fat profile of nut butters but may offer an alternative for those with nut allergies.
There’s also no questioning that C.B.D., an extract from the cannabis plant, is a trend that will explode in 2019. Unlike T.H.C., C.B.D. has no psychoactive effects and has historically been used as an alternative medicine for inflammation and pain. While we’ve seen C.B.D.’s presence within lotions and oils to aide folks with chronic conditions, 2019 marks the year where C.B.D. makes its way into the food and beverage industries.
Bill Hanes, director, marketing and strategy, Lesaffre Corp.: Consumers are searching for greater flavor in their daily meals. Sourdough is rapidly becoming an ingredient the baker can use to enhance flavors, everything from sour, fruity, cereal, roasted and fermented. Toppers and seeds are ingredients that bring added flavor to finished bread products.
Consumers are also searching for foods that provide health attributes. Breads high in protein, or with added probiotic benefits, are growing in importance.
Reducing sugar is a challenge faced by bakers to make their products acceptable to ‘weight-conscious’ consumers. Lesaffre has been working on several options for sugar reduction whether it is a yeast extract, a natural flavor from fermentation or enzymes.
Clean label is not a fad that will go away anytime soon. Consumers are looking for breads that are ‘free from’ any chemical ingredients. Natural mold inhibitors and clean label dough conditioners will continue to grow in 2019.
Michael Buttshaw, vice-president of ingredients sales and marketing, MGP Ingredients, Inc.: Innovation surrounding clean label ingredients will be key to helping food manufacturers address consumers’ desire for more natural and nutritious products. With the plant-based protein trend projected to continue into 2019, food manufacturers will also seek convenient solutions to formulate vegan and vegetarian products, as well as meat extension applications.
Daniele Bianchini, senior brand and customer marketing manager, Otis Spunkmeyer: I think companies are going to be pushing the boundaries in 2019 by introducing foods with daring ingredients designed to wow consumers. Whether its subtle ingredients like blood orange — that will provide a zesty taste or bolder ingredients, like urfa chilies, that create a smoky, sultry flavor that can be paired with a number of different foods.
In addition to specific ingredients, ingredient sourcing will be a game changer next year. Consumers want to know where their food comes from, and because of this, companies will be more transparent by explaining the origins of the ingredients they use. For example, since Otis Spunkmeyer began pinpointing the source of specific ingredients — whether it be the wild blueberries we use in our muffins or the California raisins and Madagascar vanilla we use in our food service portfolios — we’ve piqued consumer interest and have subsequently seen this reflect positively for select portfolios. With so many different foods for consumers to choose from, especially in the snacking space, highlighting specific ingredients is one way companies can start to differentiate from one another.
Simon Yeung, senior vice-president, R.&D., PepsiCo: I believe four ingredients are on the rise in 2019: plant protein sources beyond chickpea and pea; single-source heritage grains; coffee and tea; and sea vegetables and algae. Plant protein-based diets and consumer interest have been popular the past few years leading to protein sources from an increasingly wide array of beans and lentils. And, consumers are still seeking wheat alternatives. What first manifested as the ancient grains trend, is now shifting into single-source grains or pseudo grains driving interest in amaranth, chia and freekeh. Freekah, a smoked green cracked wheat, has the added impetus of tapping into both the smoked flavor trend and the interest in Middle Eastern foods.
In addition, as coffee drinks proliferated, so have coffee flavored items, including baked goods and desserts. Tea is having a similar moment driven in part by its purported health benefits. Expect both to move into savory applications beyond barbecue sauces and meat rubs.
Last, increased interest in Asian cuisines fostered an interest in sea vegetables like nori and kombu as a condiment or in sheets as a snack. Adding to their cachet, both algae and sea vegetables have purported health benefits and positive sustainability perceptions among consumers. Expect to see these ingredients expand further into the snacking world.