Q&A with Raquel Rawlins, Rich Products
A culinologist's perspective on desserts
Prepared Foods talks with Raquel Rawlins, a culinologist with the Desserts Category Business Unit at Rich Products. Rich’s, Buffalo, N.Y., is a private, global $3.8 billion supplier and solutions provider to the foodservice, in-store bakery and retail channels. The company is the world leader in non-dairy toppings, icings and other emulsions. Its diverse product portfolio also includes cakes and desserts. Rawlins joined Rich’s in 2018 after 30 years of bakery and desserts work for a variety of national chains and brands.
Prepared Foods: What desserts caught your eye in 2018?
Raquel Rawlins: It’s all about the monster shakes! Picture an over-the-top drink adorned with everything under the kitchen sink—from donuts and candy, to cake, ice cream and more. Then it comes with whipped topping and other embellishments—to boot!
Why have monster shakes caught my attention? Quite literally, you can’t miss them. But more so, I think, how does one even go about eating and drinking one of these creations? It’s a team sport for most, that’s for sure.
In all seriousness, monster shakes are a great trend starter for the beverage industry in desserts.
PF: How will desserts change in the near future?
Rawlins: I think about innovation and sustainable packaging. Specifically, around innovation, it might involve flavor, color, unique texture or crazy shapes. Anything that draws consumer attention will play a part and change the way we view desserts.
I also think of dessert ingredients. Some desserts will feature “superfood fruits” with healthy benefits, such as mangosteen. Or they may have exotic ingredients, like mamey, commonly found in Central America; or yuzu, commonly found in Asia; as well as teas with exotic flavors. Across the board, I’d say to watch for desserts with better-for-you properties and healthier ingredients.
I’d also introduce you to chamuy, a salty and spicy sauce delivering a savory-sweet experience. This sauce is Mexico’s signature and it’s coming to life in the USA in all sorts of eatable, ethnic flavors.
PF: Tell us about a few Rich’s desserts in 2018. What are you proud of?
Rawlins: I’m most proud of our growing variety of cheesecakes and ice cream cakes. These delicious, indulgent desserts appeal to all ages and are perfect for any occasion—from every day to special celebrations.
Within our Bettercreme portfolio, we recently launched new Bettercreme Bag flavors, including Vanilla Bettercreme Perfect Finish, Chocolate Bettercreme Made with Hershey’s, Strawberry Bettercreme, Lemon Bettercreme, Cream Cheese Bettercreme, and Caramel Bettercreme.
What makes these so dynamic and why we’re proud—involves our innovation with pastry bags. Combined with these new and delicious flavors, our bag design helps simplify decorating. It allows supermarket in-store bakeries to offer fresh and innovative desserts—made right in the bakery. Several of these new flavors also have no artificial flavors, colors or high fructose corn syrup.
After the overwhelming success of “Our Specialty Sweet Middles,” we launched “Our Specialty Sandwich Cookies.” This lets in-store bakery and foodservice customers offer an extra indulgence: two soft cookies sandwiched between a layer of cream, which are garnished with sprinkles or chocolate chips.
Our Specialty Dessert Dippers are a “blast from the past” item, perfect for limited-time offers and everyday enjoyment. This interactive and fun dessert allows you to customize your cookie. It’s fun, shareable and delicious!
PF: What’s a dessert trend to watch in 2019?
Rawlins: Meringue’s the one to watch! This dessert trend is picking up speed with its many ways to adapt into a dessert. It can be used as a garnish, topping, meringue icing or marshmallow icing. The possibilities are endless.
Meringue also makes for an elegant garnish with its glossy white peaks; it also can be easily toasted with a blow torch for a fabulous component ingredient. Think of a naked cake or perhaps, just a portion, such as a “just-for-one snack.” These items are just waiting for a generous heap of roasted, torched meringue.
Originally appeared in the April, 2019 issue of Prepared Foods as First Person.