Baking is a marriage of art and science. It’s a combination of formulation and processing and a marriage of people and machines. These are the concepts driving Bud’s Best Cookies product development as the company looks to the future.

“We focused on the value arena for so long that we’re ready to get outside of that with some new quality offerings and different configurations of things we’ve done in the past,” said Al Cason, president and chief operating officer of Bud’s Best.

After restarting a sugar wafer line, the bakery is working on developing new varieties of this vintage product. At the Sweets and Snacks Expo, held May 21-23 in Chicago, the bakery displayed two sugar wafer sour flavors made with Pucker Powder.

“We’re looking at doing some more niche things on this line,” Mr. Cason said. “We have some interesting things coming down the pike that could be well suited for a specialty sugar wafer operation.”

And under the Bud and Al’s Signature brand, the bakery launched a line of “thins,” similar to Uncle Al’s stage planks, an old item from the company’s early days.

“We have people call and tell us they remember the planks from their childhood,” said Jamey Helton, vice-president of finance.

The thins come in two flavors — chocolate and coconut — and are wrapped two thins to a pack.

“[Bud and Al Cason] have taken them to a couple of trade shows recently, and they’ve done fantastic,” Ms. Helton said.

As the bakery builds its management team and expands production capabilities, it’s ready to launch new ideas.

“There are many opportunities out there with all we can produce,” Mr. Cason said. “We work with different companies on different ideas. We’re all ultimately working retail, and we’re selling to the same types of stores. But different people have different relationships with companies; if we put our heads together, maybe we can come up with some ideas that would be good for us all.”

To achieve this, Bud’s Best recently hired Kevin Rackham as director of quality and R.&D.

“Kevin comes to us with a tremendous amount of R.&D. experience,” Mr. Cason said. “He’s a formulator. He’s a quality guru. He’s always thinking and not afraid to come up with new formulas.”

This article is an excerpt from the July 2019 issue of Baking & Snack. To read the entire feature on Bud's Best Cookies, click here.