Final Proof: No Bake ‘Baking’
How the pandemic has fuelled the No Bake craze
By Jane Dummer
The no bake baking trend is not just for the summer anymore. From home bakers to artisan bakeries, no bake is gaining momentum year-round. What started out as a convenient option for home bakers who did not want to turn their kitchens into sweltering furnaces has transitioned to bakeries and niche manufacturers. They’re responding to the consumer demand for natural, minimally processed baked goods. During the global pandemic lockdown many people were experimenting in their own kitchens and no bake recipes were on that list. Now that we are in reopening phases, people are looking for easy and convenient baking options, plus ready-to-eat snacks.
Over the last decade, small to mid-sized manufacturers have been launching no bake cookies, bites, and baking mixes. Momentum for these products has picked up. In fact, a recent article:
Product showcase 2020: From No bake Energizing Oat Bites to the ultimate almond flour written by Gill Hyslop for Bakeryandsnacks.com July 2020, features a new innovation, Energizing Oat Bites Mix from Krusteaz. Available in two varieties – chocolate chip oat and cinnamon oat, the products require no baking and feature whole grain oats, flaxseed and chia. The mixes are made without artificial flavours, artificial colours or artificial preservatives and contain 8 grams of plant-based protein per serving. The Oat Bites Mix is easy to make in just 30 minutes and can be ‘glammed up’ with nuts or seed butters, honey and rolled in chopped nuts or flaked coconut.
Another company in the no bake space is The GFB. From the beginning, the company’s mission has been to make truly good-tasting, good-for-you foods. Foods that are ridiculously tasty and packed with protein. What started out as a small side project by two celiac brothers has turned into a company with products, including their popular grain-free bites, sold across the US and Canada. All The GFB products are certified gluten-free, certified non-GMO, certified vegan, certified Kosher, soy-free and made in a dedicated gluten-free facility. Ben Wahl, co-owner explains, “We follow a super simple small batch process. Ingredients are first weighed, mixed in an intentional order and interval, then portioned into the final size and shape. Our bites go through an additional step of coating in roasted nuts or coconut then the product is packaged and ready for sale. The GFB facility is a zero waste facility. From an environmental standpoint, the no bake process does offer some clear advantages. One advantage is that no additional energy is needed to heat or cool the product which reduces our carbon footprint. Also, by skipping the baking step, we have less processes, which result in less yield loss and therefore less waste is generated. Zero waste has also pushed us to get creative in finding ways to re-use or re-purpose materials that would typically be thrown in the trash making us a better steward of our environment with everything we do.”
Creation Nation is one of the original companies in the premium no bake mix category. The Founder and CEO, Karen Nation’s mission was to provide healthier bite and bar mixes that were delicious and customizable. The easy no bake format makes it fun for anyone including kids. Karen Nation describes the process, “Several years ago Creation Nation launched the world’s first protein bar and bite mixes. All no bake. I never considered making them anything other than no bake. Protein Bars are traditionally extruded, not baked, and protein bite recipes are traditionally no bake as well. Our target market was initially focused towards special diet needs like vegan, paleo, gluten free, and keto, in order to launch our new category, but we quickly expanded to parents and kids, then ultimately anyone wanting healthier, tastier, customizable snack options.”
The small-batch, artisan, better-for-you no bake products seem to be trending more than ever. Not just for specialized diets, these products are catching on with many consumers who are interested in health and wellness. Wahl and his company The GFB envision the no bake trend continuing to gain steam, as demand grows for raw and minimally processed products. With simple ingredients like nuts, seeds, fruit, pulses and gluten-free oats, consumers are getting delicious no bake flavour, nutrition, and texture in every chew.
Jane Dummer, RD, known as the Pod to Plate Food Consultant, collaborates and partners with the food and nutrition industry across North America.