Looking to make some dough? Pardon the play on words but bakers have a formula for success. Today’s most popular new offerings either provide convenience for customer operators, crave-ability for consumers (by way of new flavors or forms), or address a conscious consumer’s interest in health, diet, ethics or sustainability.

First things first: foodservice operators need back-of-the-house items that save time, money and labor.  Among many processors addressing this need is General Mills Foodservice. The past 12 months have seen this Minneapolis-based company launch a range of Pillsbury frozen baked goods that can be baked fresh on site to give restaurants, retail bakeries and foodservice operations added versatility and creativity.

New Pillsbury offerings have included Unbaked Biscuit Dough (4.5-ounce Buttermilk and 4.5-ounce Southern Style EZ Split), TubeSet Muffin Batter (Cinnamon and a Variety Pack with two Blueberry, two Chocolate, Chocolate Chip and two Cinnamon), BatterPro Muffin & Cake Batter (Vanilla and Chocolate), Unbaked Twirls (Orange and Caramel) and Unbaked Scones (Chocolate Chocolate Chunk, Lemon Poppy Seed). Also new were Pillsbury Mini Cinnamon Rolls. Available in a freezer-to-oven format, they give non-commercial operations a versatile, low-labor solution to compete with popular quick-service restaurant chains serving on-trend mini cinnamon rolls.

General Mills Foodservice also partnered with Sysco to offer Pillsbury Preformed, Ready-to-Bake Pie Shells. The new 9” pie shells provide a convenient, consistent way to bake fresh pies on-site. In addition, the smaller size requires less filling than the 10” shell yet, offers the same number of slices—helping operators to lower foods costs and bake a more profitable pie, officials say.

Speaking of foodservice distributors, US Foods’ summer 2019 new products included Chef’s Line pre-sliced, individually wrapped grab-and-go bakery products for snack and/or dessert options. These included a Lemon Loaf Cake Slice and a Chocolate Banana Swirled Loaf Cake Slice. Also new was a Chef’s Line Buttermilk Biscuit, a larger biscuit that can be served warm from the oven, with gravy or as a sandwich holder. 

How about a shelf-stable option? Competing in Prepared Foods’ 2019 Spirit of Innovation awards was Bella Chi Gluten Free Corp. This Grand Island, N.Y., company offers a line of shelf-stable instant, single-serve rolls and cupcakes in individually packaged containers. Operators simply add water and microwave the product for two minutes. Officials say the line addresses operators’ need for a variety of “on hand” gluten free items for specific customers. 

Craving New Forms, Flavors

Shifting from operator customers directly to the consumer, it’s clear many more new products target the tastebuds and appeal to the eyes. National Restaurant Association (NRA) showcased many of these items during its annual May convention in Chicago.

Chicago’s own Eli’s Cheesecake Company used the show to highlight a range of new offerings, including a Gooey Butter Cake (soft center, crackly sugar crust),  Cheesecake Cubies (snacks), a Goat Cheese Cheesecake and several ethnic-inspired treats such as a Basque Cheesecake, Japanese-style Cheesecake and Mini Dulce de Leche Pies.

Also serving up Hispanic-style tastes at NRA were J&J Snack Foods, Pennsauken, N.J., which debuted California Authentic Loop Churros; and Kontos Foods Inc., Paterson, N.J., which showcased Gorditas handmade soft flatbread taco shells. Meanwhile, those promoting a little heat included Lantmannen Unibake USA, Lisle, Ill., with its Hatch Chile Bun; and Aunt Millie’s Bakehouse, Fort Wayne, Ind., with its Jalapeno Hawaiian Hamburger Bun.

In other news, ARYZTA North America, Chicago, started importing Mette Munk branded Danish pastries to US retail, convenience and foodservice customers. Mette Munk, Odense, Denmark, offers a premium line of Danish pastries made with real fruit, free-range eggs, certified sustainable palm oil, real Bourbon vanilla, and pure maple syrup. 

Also promoting premium taste appeal has been Sysco Corp., which last year introduced Baker’s Source Imperial Biscuit Mashups (the “sweet taste and appeal of a waffle in the versatile and savory format of a biscuit”) and Sysco Imperial Wild Blueberry Flapjack Cake, a buttery flapjack-inspired decadent cake. This year saw Sysco come back with individual-sized, thaw-and-serve Classic Brown Butter Cakes.

Among those serving supermarket in-store bakeries have been Rich Products Corp., Buffalo, N.Y. and Dawn Food Products, Jackson, Mich., Borrowing the idea of ice cream sandwiches, Rich’s developed Our Specialty Sweet Middles, a six-item line of cake-style sandwiches with cream filling. Officials say success with the line led to more varieties involving sandwich cookies. A supplier of donut mixes and bases, Dawn Food Products created a 12-item line of gourmet donut formulas, including such varieties as Dirt Cup to Chocolate Peanut Overload.

How about developing flavorful new products for the next generation of consumers? General Mills Foodservice took two of its most popular cereal brands and created Soft Filled Cinnamon Toast Crunch and Cocoa Puffs Bars for kids in the K-12 school market. The individually wrapped bars give school foodservice operations the flexibility for heat-and-serve or thaw-and-serve preparation. Officials say the whole grain rich bars feature soft bread filled with creamy cinnamon or chocolate Neufchatel cheese.  

Health Conscious, Planet Conscious

Increasingly, more consumers are scrutinizing new foods—either to see “what’s in” or “what’s out”—regarding certain ingredients. 

Judges for the NRA’s annual 2019 Food and Beverage (FABI Awards) honored three new bakery products for diet-friendly features. This year’s FABI award winners included Wild Flour Bakery LLC, Longmont, Colo., for its Bravadough! gluten free and vegan cookie dough line. Venice Bakery, Torrance, Calif., also won two awards for its Gluten-Free Vegan Cauliflower Pizza Crust as well as new Gluten-Free Beet Root, Sweet Potato, and Zucchini Pizza Crusts.

When it comes to other gluten free options, there’s certainly more than a baker’s dozen. Among those with new gluten free pizza crusts have been foodservice distributor Sysco (Sysco Simply Cauliflower Pizza Crust) and Smart Flour Foods (Cauliflower & Ancient-Grain Pizza Crust, new Tavern Pizza Crusts). Also among the many gluten-free bakeries exhibiting at NRA were Éban’s Bakehouse, Columbus, Ohio, and Homefree, LLC, Windham, N.H.

Still more foodservice bakers emphasize the positives, particularly whole grains and ancient grains. 

Last year saw Flowers Bakeries Foodservice, part of Flowers Foods Inc., Thomasville, Ga., introduce a frozen, thaw-and-serve Ancient Grain bun under the company’s European Bakers brand. Flowers says the product’s five-grain, nut-free formula includes millet, spelt, amaranth, Khorasan flour and buckwheat. It adds that each 2.8-ounce, 4.25-inch bun delivers 7g of protein and 3g of fiber.

Angelic Bakehouse, Cudahy, Wis., introduced Sprouted 7-Grain Garden Wraps for operators making veggie wraps, sandwich rollups or quesadillas. Each flavor has at least 5g of protein and 4g of dietary fiber per serving. Not only do the wraps boast fewer calories, sodium and carbs than other commonly used foodservice tortillas and wraps (a key benefit given increased focus on calorie and nutritional guidelines on many menus) but they also feature significantly more protein and fiber than counterparts made with white flour and fillers. 

Available at a similar price point to other foodservice wraps, the new Garden Wraps are soft and flexible giving them the ability to withstand hearty fillings without breakage thus eliminating the need to “double-wrap” in order to hold the contents inside. As a bonus, the wraps’ vibrant colors colors—available in Vibrant Beet, Turmeric Sweet Potato and Spring Kale Spinach—showcase their authentic nutritional benefit and elevate any simple wrap, sandwich or burrito recipe. 

Last but not least, foodservice patrons may not be able to pick up and study a product—as they might in a supermarket aisle. Nevertheless, they still may well be interested in more of the “social ingredients” related to a product. 

In keeping with its “Serve Good” program, foodservice distributor US Foods introduced as many as 24 new products this spring with features related to agricultural practices, sustainability, animal care, responsible disposables, reduced waste and increased mindfulness in environmental and social practices. New bakery related offerings have included Devonshire Passion Fruit Layered Cheesecake made with Fair Trade Coconut and Chef’s Line Banana Nut Muffins made with Rainforest Alliance Certified bananas. Among new items last year was a Devonshire Premium Banana Chocolate Swirl Cake made with Rainforest Alliance bananas and Fair-Trade chocolate.

And talk about new products with a sustainability story. One NRA Show exhibitor this year was Renewal Mill, Oakland, Calif., which “upcycles” the byproducts of food manufacturing into premium ingredients and products. Its initial ingredient has been okara flour, a high fiber, high protein gluten-free flour made from the soymilk pulp generated during soymilk production. More recently, the company also has begun selling vegan, soft-baked chocolate chip cookies.