Whole grains

At Ardent Mills, clean label links directly to whole grains, which, it should be noted, ranks as the No. 1 trait that consumers seek out when paying attention to specific traits in fresh bakery products, according to Rick Stein, vice president of fresh foods for the Food Marketing Institute, who presented findings from their Power of Bakery Report during IDDBA.

“You’ve got to be speaking about health and wellbeing in the bakery,” he said.

Matt Schueller, director of marketing insights and analytics at Ardent Mills, agrees that consumers in study after study say they want to eat whole grains, “and yet there’s still work to be done.”

“This may be the environment now that offers renewed opportunities to promote good taste and health benefits,” he said. “Decisions are being made around food choices for myself and for the planet.”

Ardent Mills offers products including whole wheat UltraGrain, which offers the same nutritional profile as whole grain but with a “more appealing taste profile.”

Snacking cakes

New product innovations continue to migrate into new product categories within the bakery department. Catherine Trujillo, vice president of sales and marketing for Rubicon Bakers, Richmond, Calif., explained during the International Dairy Deli Bakery Association convention that Rubicon is introducing new loaf cakes and new snacking cakes in such enticing flavors as banana brown butter and chocolate fudge.

rubicon sign next to packaged cakesSource: John Unrein / Sosland Publishing Co.

“Our new snacking cakes are perfect for any occasion – or no occasion,” Trujillo said.

Rubicon Bakers only uses clean ingredients, never any artificial colors, flavors, or preservatives.

Sebastian “Seb” Siethoff, who joined Rubicon Bakers as chief executive officer in May, elaborated on current consumer trends that favor “permissible indulgence.” “Our product portfolio delivers to that,” Siethoff said. “My wish is to aggressively grow this business and keep our business special because of the human touch.”

Siethoff comes to Rubicon from Ball Corporation, where he served as general manager. He has over 20 years of experience in the food and beverage industry and previously held leadership roles at CSM Global Bakery Solutions, Wrigley, a subsidiary of Mars, McDonald’s, Unilever and Johnson & Johnson.

Rubicon Bakers was founded in 1993 and for 30 years has helped rebuild lives by employing and empowering people who need a second chance. Many of the company’s employees have experienced significant barriers to employment, including housing insecurity, incarceration, substance use disorders, and other systemic challenges. Rubicon Bakers provides employment so they can turn their lives around.

Whole trends

Late last year Whole Foods Market’s Trends Council unveiled its top 10 anticipated food trends for 2023 in the retailer’s eighth-annual Trends predictions. Yaupon-infused beverages, produce packed pastas, repurposed pulp and climate-conscious callouts are among the food trends expected to rise in popularity in the next year.

whole foods fresh local bakery signSource: John Unrein / Sosland Publishing Co.

One key trend is Climate-Conscious Callouts. According to Whole Foods Market, climate consciousness is more relevant than ever, and as a result, brands are working to improve the impact of food and beverage production. Across its aisles, products are taking to their labels to talk about sustainability efforts in a time when consumers expect brands and retailers to do more related to carbon and climate.

Each year, the Trends Council – a collective of more than 50 Whole Foods Market team members, including local foragers, regional and global buyers, and culinary experts – compile trend predictions based on decades of experience and expertise in product sourcing and studying consumer preferences, as well as in-depth workshopping with emerging and existing brands. The results provide invaluable guidance for retailers and their supplier partners.