The rise of premium mixes makes for inspired baking options
By Jane Dummer
Since the nineteen fifties, the traditional Betty Crocker and Duncan Hines baking mixes and branding has always conjured up the image a housewife in an apron wanting to create a dessert for her husband and kids, with the convenience factor in mind. Fast forward to 2019, there has been a revival in home baking and more specifically in the baking mix category. With more and more premium baking mixes on shelf, I’m seeing rebranding and new launches in this category at conferences including International Baking Industry Expo (IBIE).
Beyond convenience, the trend of lifestyle nutrition has changed how premium mixes are created today with a new approach to everyday baking. Thinking about Lenny & Larry’s ready to eat baked goods like the Muscle Brownie and Organic Gemini’s Tigernut Vanilla Muffin & Cake Mix, consumers are craving decadent, and delicious, yet options to meet their demands for dietary preferences, fitness routines, plus their need to understand ingredient lists.
With these factors in mind, George Papanastasatos, CEO of Organic Gemini, based in California explains, “We are noticing food bloggers and social media influencers have inspired moms to do more baking at home. Many of these moms want to access healthy, freshly made baked goods, but also have dietary preferences such as less sugar, no gluten or grains. All of our products are available online, super convenient for the home baker. We’re developing a series of baking mixes including pancakes, brownies, and bread all with tigernut flour. They will be launched in early 2020. With its nutrient profile, sweet flavor and versatility, tigernut flour has become the number one option for nut-free, gluten-free and grain-free sweet goods baking.”
As the consumers in Canada and USA increasingly opt for simple, quality ingredients, there are lines of premium baking mixes touting tag lines such as: ‘wholesome made easy’; ‘made with real ingredients’; ‘made local ingredients’; and, ‘just add honey and nut or seed butter.’ These mixes have front of package statements including no artificial colours, flavours or preservatives. Nutrient content also contain claims such as a good source of fibre. This is making the baking aisle more appealing to the health conscious consumer looking for a convenient dessert or snack they can make at home for themselves and for their families.
Sprouting grains, pulses and seeds are resurging in the baking and snack categories as I observed at IBIE. Sprouting gives a premium value-add to an otherwise traditional blend. Cooking whole grains, seeds and pulses is often inconvenient and time consuming. Sprouting reduces cook time, in most cases by half, making preparation much quicker and easier. Second Spring Foods based in Seaforth, Ontario has a line of six organic sprouted baking mixes with simple ingredients and flavours like sprouted pumpkin muffin mix and spouted black bean brownie mix ideal for everyday baking.
Meeting the demands of today’s consumers is a much faster pace than when Betty Crocker or Duncan Hines hit the shelves. Whether it is premium quality, organic, vegan, keto friendly, gluten free, non-GMO or transparent ingredient lists, companies who are agile will deliver especially among the Millennials. This cohort is eager to try new ingredients and recipes, and then post on social media and/or blog about it.
Food business veteran Michael Theodor, President MT Consulting describes, “When it comes to consumers using baking mixes at home, they want natural, organic, and premium ingredients. Mixes with ingredients like almond flour (grain-free and gluten-free), and zero calorie sweeteners such as monk fruit are marketed in the USA as keto-friendly and are popular among people following a low carbohydrate diet. Moving forward in the baking space, keep your eye on yacon flour, powder and flakes. All are gluten-free and are high in non-digestible soluble fibres with a slightly sweet flavour.”
Everyday baking is changing as consumers want more control over the ingredients they use, while craving premium, convenience and exceptional flavour. Lifestyle nutrition continues to be an important aspect in all areas of food production, including premium baking mixes. From on-the-go snacking to desserts, consumers desire new ingredients, new recipes and new usages. In the premium baking mix category, I’m anticipating more top quality mug cake mixes to fit this market for the single serve option.
Jane Dummer, RD, known as the Pod to Plate Food Consultant, collaborates and partners with the food and nutrition industry across North America. www.janedummer.com