One of the shining stars in the bakery business, the nutritional health bar category witnessed nearly 6% growth in the year ended May 19, 2019, according to the latest data from Market Advantage; IRI Liquid Data, the leading global provider of enterprise market information solutions.

Both sweet and savory options are bolstering demand for nutritional snack bars, as consumers continue to migrate toward convenience options with a perceived health benefit.

At the National Restaurant Association 2019 Show, Dawn Foods showcased creative takes on this trend such as the quinoa crunch brownie bar. To make such products, Dawn Balance cleaner ingredients are formulated without artificial flavors, colors or sweeteners to deliver a delicious taste.

At the recent International Symposium on Bread, King Arthur Flour’s head bread baker Martin Philip developed a formula for a flavorful savory cracker made with cheddar cheese, pastry flour and Antebellum sweet cornmeal from Anson Mills, Columbia, South Carolina.

During the annual Institute of Food Technologists Meeting & Food Expo, Ardent Mills’ culinary team paid homage to the rich culinary legacy of New Orleans by giving a taste of how grains can complement Cajun cuisine, as well as on-trend applications featuring ancient grains, crisps, flakes and Individual Quick Frozen (IQF) grains. The Cajun tastes on the menu included shrimp and Colorado Quinoa grits, IQF mixed grain jambalaya, ancient grain boudin and much more.

Of note, The Annex by Ardent Mills recently announced a new partnership with Colorado Quinoa, LLC to clean, mill and market quinoa grown in Colorado’s San Luis Valley. Through the relationship, commercial customers benefit from the many advantages of US-grown quinoa including stable pricing, scalable supply, sustainability and traceability back to local farms, all backed by the resources and support of Ardent Mills.

At IFT, the team’s three-day sampling menu inspired industry professionals to consider how other grain innovations can meet the demand for simple, delicious, and wholesome plant-based foods. The menu included delicious applications of chickpea crackers, Pure-Purple Barley smoothies and food-safe edible cookie dough made with SafeGuard RTE Application flour.

 Since last year’s IFT gathering, The Annex (a business unit created to cultivate the future of specialty grains and plant-based ingredients) has marked its first full year of operation.

“We’ve been focused on driving innovation, expanding production capabilities and building out our product portfolio since launching in March 2018,” says Shrene White, general manager, The Annex by Ardent Mills.

“The Annex team has worked closely with our farmers, and we’re building new relationships with chefs, bakers and developers to connect the entire supply chain. We are enthusiastic about how these connections will develop and guide our work in crops like quinoa, chickpeas, heirloom wheats and identity-preserved grains,” says Don Trouba, senior director, Go-To-Market for Specialty Products at Ardent Mills.