Americans learned how to bake in 2020. When stay-at-home orders were put in place in March, some of the supermarket shelves that were cleared included the baking aisle. For many consumers, the lightbulb came on as to how baked goods can be made much simpler than the packaged products purchased from the in-store bakery and bakery aisles.

This simplicity will likely be habit-forming for some, while others may become more diligent label readers. Dairy and egg ingredients are some of those that are most recognizable and functional.

Clean, simple, relevant

Clean ingredients are the new baseline for today’s shoppers, according to the “2020 US Grocery Shopper Trends,” a report produced by the Food Marketing Institute (FMI), in collaboration with The Hartman Group. Consumers are reevaluating their purchase criteria and product assortment needs. They have a sharper focus on health, a heightened awareness of the environmental consequences of consumption and a desire for a deeper connection to food, according to the study. Ingredient lists matter.

Clean label is not a passing trend. It’s a movement that is here to stay. This is something that is proving to be even more valued during these uncertain times, as consumers are taking control of their health by being selective with what they put into their bodies.

Milk, dairy products and eggs are about as clean label as whole-food ingredients can be. For economic reasons, many egg and milk-derived ingredients are sold in a dry format, which extends shelf life and makes them nonperishable. With powders, bakers are also not paying to ship water. When preferred, bulk-tank liquid formats are available as well as frozen options. With solids such as cheese, not only are dried powders available but so are shredded, crumbled and even concentrated formats. 

These ingredients are also natural approaches to formulating baked goods that complement popular low-carbohydrate diets, including the keto lifestyle. Traditional grain-centric baked goods are typically the first products to be excluded from these dietary regimens. Careful crafting with milk, dairy products and eggs keep baked goods on the menu.  

General Mills, Minneapolis, is launching :ratio, a keto-friendly product line that includes crunchy bars. The keto lifestyle has been a major contributor to the popularity of healthful fats and protein. The keto diet is approximately 70% fat, 20% protein, and 5% each simple carbohydrates and non-starchy vegetables.

Consumers are increasingly looking for ways to cut back on sugar and carbohydrates through better-for-you alternatives, according to General Mills. This is fueling innovation in the ketogenic products category, which is predicted to grow 5.5% through 2027, according to The Insight Partners.

The :ratio bars come in Lemon Almond and Toasted Almond flavors. Whey protein isolate gives the products a protein boost, with each bar providing 220 calories, 17 grams of fat, 12 grams of protein, 2 grams of net carbs and a mere 1 gram of sugar.

HighKey, Ferndale, Wash., is all about making better-for-you and keto-friendly products that taste just like the original. This summer the brand added new flavors of cakes, cookies and baking mixes to its product lineup. Almond flour is the main ingredient of these gluten-free products. The cookies also rely on butter and dried eggs for aeration, moistness and flavor development.

Premium concepts

Minimally processed ingredients from the refrigerated dairy departments may not be feasible for industrial bakers; however, suppliers offer solutions that keep labels clean while producing consistent product with that farm-fresh taste experience. These ingredients add value and may command a premium price tag.

“Not only are consumers looking for original, high-quality products in bakeries, but studies also show they are willing to pay more,” said Elisa Maloberti, director of egg product marketing, American Egg Board. “All-natural ingredients with no added preservatives will increase the value of your bakery’s products in the eyes of the consuming public.”

This has been the mantra of Pepperidge Farm since its inception when the brand was started in the home kitchen of its founder Margaret Rudkin, who said she had just one idea: producing a top-quality food product. The brand continues to uphold her standard and stay as close to kitchen staples as possible when creating new product.

Owned by the Campbell Soup Co., Camden, NJ., the brand introduced limited-edition Pumpkin Spice Milano cookies, which are two crispy cookies filled with a premium pumpkin-flavored chocolate cream. The milk chocolate filling is made with butter, whole milk and nonfat milk, while the cookies include eggs, nonfat milk and reduced-minerals whey.

Perfect Snacks, San Diego, manufacturers of Perfect Bar, The Original Refrigerated Protein Bar, has become a leader in fresh snacking by relying on the food principles the family behind the company learned as children: to focus on the power of quality, whole-food ingredients.

“The ingredients found in our products are derived from whole, minimally processed foods, including nuts, honey, milk and eggs,” said Bill Keith, chief executive officer and co-founder, Perfect Snacks. 

For the fall, the company brought back its seasonal Pumpkin Pie Perfect Bar flavor. The Pumpkin Pie bars include organic nonfat dry milk and organic dried whole egg powder. One bar contains 310 calories, 19 grams of fat, 14 grams of protein and 16 grams of sugar.

This article is an excerpt from the October 2020 issue of Baking & Snack. To read the entire feature on dairy and eggs, click here.