Bakers Journal

It’s show time!

July 4, 2014
By Laura Aiken

If April showers bring May flowers, then Bakery Showcase was a blooming benefactor that sprouted a garden of inspiring ideas!

If April showers bring May flowers, then Bakery Showcase was a blooming benefactor that sprouted a garden of inspiring ideas!

Centennial College’s Old McDonald’s Farm themed creation won the Creative College Challenge. PHOTO: Laura Aiken


The Bakery Association of Canada (BAC) organized event, which resides every other year at the International Centre, situated just a frog’s leap from Toronto’s main airport, played happy host from May 4 to 6. A swath of information, ideas and new products was presented across a platform of exhibitors, seminars, feature areas and the BAC’s annual general meeting. 

“We were once again delighted by the industry response to Bakery Showcase,” says Paul Hetherington, president of the BAC.  “With some 4,000 participants, and 365 plus booths on the exhibit floor along with numerous seminars, Bakery Showcase was once again the place for new ideas and business opportunities.  We are also delighted with the response to this year’s College Creative Challenge and would congratulate the baking students from Centennial, George Brown and Niagara colleges for their superb efforts in this fun competition.”

The college competition garnered its share of aisle-clogging eyeballs with good reason. Who wouldn’t stop to gawk at a cake the size of a backyard shed? Teams of students from three Ontario colleges – Centennial, Niagara, and George Brown – laboured painstakingly at the show over their giant nursery rhyme-themed cakes. Attendees elected the winner by ballot, with Centennial’s Old MacDonald’s Farm and its sprawling scene rising to the top. Niagara built a storybook with 3D characters of the Old Woman in the Shoe and Jack and Jill leaping from its pages. George Brown created a large bed featuring a small child dreaming of various nursery rhymes that seem to have come to life around her. All the cakes were subject to murmured marveling by those who passed by.

OMG! A cupcake claims the throne
The last day of the show determined the long awaited winner of the Bakers Journal Great Chocolate Cupcake contest, sponsored by Callebaut, Cinelli Esperia and Mimac Glaze.

Laura MacLean, owner and chef at Omg! Cupcakes, in Grande Prairie, Alta., was crowned the winner in a tight race with her Oh! My Gosh Ganache Cupcake. MacLean travelled with her cupcakes from Alberta, putting the finishing touches on them in her hotel room before arriving at the show to present them to the judges.

Finalist Janet Somers, head baker at The Flour Shoppe, made the trek from Ottawa to compete with their Nanaimo Brownie Cupcake. Finalist Sarah Allman, pastry chef at Bouwa Whee Catering at Diavik Diamond Mine, NWT, was home in Peterborough, Ont., and able to bring her Classic Chocolate Cupcake, and two offspring as a cheering squad, to the Tuesday event.

The finalists faced an expert panel of judges: Heinz Hubbert, master baker and international consultant; Joseph Montinaro, chocolatier extraordinaire and industry veteran; Mandy Kan, past winner of the Bakers Journal Growing for Success Award and a reader’s choice favourite in Toronto; and Colleen Cross, associate editor for Bakers Journal, who was able to draw on her recent experience as a judge of the Callebaut Intercollegiate Chocolate competition.

As the cupcakes were presented, attendees were welcome to a sample, and an eager crowd gathered for their own personal bite.

Bakers Journal would like to thank all the finalists for joining us at Bakery Showcase and sharing their fabulous cupcakes with the show floor, our judges for their time and thoughtful scoring, and our sponsors for their support of this year’s Great Chocolate Cupcake contest.

New and exciting
From tasty samples to machinery in motion, there was no shortage of new products to check out. Here are some of the highlights:

  • Taste of the South: Bon Appé, an Upper Crust brand, extended tempting trays of its new mini fried Danishes to those walking by. The beignets of New Orleans inspired pastries come in five flavours and are kosher and trans fat free.
  • The real edible playdough: Virgin Ice showcased their new Doo-z-doh, a flavoured, coloured fondant geared towards crafts with kids.
  • Wonder gets an update: Weston Bakeries was making a display splash with towers of Wonder Bread, marking an update to their classic sandwich bread that will now include a new 100 per cent whole wheat plus fibre loaf. Weston will be supporting their focus on Wonder with a multimedia advertising campaign.
  • What’s sprouting?: Horizon Milling and Cargill Malt are offering a new sprouted white spring whole wheat flour. The sprouted flour touts several benefits, including bigger loaf volume, decreased proof times and more flour stability.
  • General custard: Under the Robin Hood brand, Horizon Milling launched a new custard mix that requires bakers to just add water. The custard can then be customized as its creator pleases with flavours or other inclusions.
  • Something new on a stick: Toschi la Gelateria found a way to bring dougnuts into the summer with their Mr. Donuts gelato. It looks like a doughnut, but it’s on a stick and it’s made of gelato. Product holds together well for walking and eating with a uniquely curved stick supporting the gelato at the base. The tools to make and sell the concept can be accessed by Canadian bakers through Alfa Cappuccino.
  • PreGel debuted a refreshing new summer flavour for gelato: Peach Ice Tea. The company was also sampling, amongst many other flavours, Birthday Cake Blue, which is a recent newbie to its line-up.
  • Gluten-free hybrid: What’s a Brookie? In the spirit of the popular trend to hybridize desserts, Continental Ingredients put together a gluten-free brownie and cookie combo, which was a textural greeting of moist brownie followed by cookie crunch in the centre.
  • Gluten-free handling: Handtmann’s VF 608 divider with a shorter product path and gentle dough handling coupled with a Tri-Mach single lane cutoff and conveyor was in display for bakers looking for better gluten-free handling or needing to reduce friction and maintain better integrity of delicate inclusions in traditional dough. Handtmann’s larger, more powerful VF 628 divider was also on display for bakers running higher volumes and denser dough.

New player in the bakery market
Bakers Journal sat down with Benoît Keppenne, general manager of Sensient Flavors Canada, to discuss the company’s 2014 debut in the Canadian bakery market. Sensient is a long-standing global player in the flavours industry with a heritage spanning more than 125 years. Its reputation is built on flavours, and the company has been selling to the dairy industry (ice cream and yogurt in particular) for a long time.

Sensient’s bakery solutions portfolio includes offering technical solutions, colours, flavours and clean label fillings with no preservatives that maintain shelf life through aseptic processing and packaging. The flavour range goes from artificial to all natural and even organic. The company also offers a natural origin line with extracts that claim provenance, such as Sicillian Lemon, and are designed to deliver a powerful true and natural taste. Some of their technical solutions, such as DairyBoost, aim to allow bakers to reduce the fat in the product but keep the rich mouthfeel and intensity of taste. Sensient is offering a variety of ‘taste modulation systems’ to tweak to keep the flavour while reducing sugar or salt, masking undesirable notes, or replacers to reduce amount of a cocoa or MSG required. 

Today’s trends
Bakery Showcase offered a number of educational sessions prior to show hours, with one by Karen McPhee of the NFS-GFTC called “What the trend is going on?” that captured six key areas of consumer focus for the industry.

Clean label is still a biggie, with recent research showing that 75 to 90 per cent of consumers are now reading ingredient declarations on the label. Since clean label is not regulated terminology, it can mean different things to different people, noted McPhee. It doesn’t necessarily mean natural, because natural is regulated and it is prescriptive. 

Gluten-free is on McPhee’s list…hesitantly. From her research, some are predicting the market to grow 48 per cent from 2013 to 2016. Other findings are predicting gluten-free has peaked, or is nearly peaking, as the lifestyle adopters are abandoning the diet in face of a dearth of health community and dietitian statements in the media reinforcing that it is a medical diet. McPhee shared a diagram from Mintel that outlined the reasons other than medical that people were eating gluten-free foods. Thirty-six per cent said “for reasons other than sensitivity.” Sixty-five per cent opted to because “they think it’s healthier.” Twenty-seven per cent “believed it aided in weight loss.” Seven per cent thought it “helped reduce inflammation.” Four per cent had adopted the diet to “combat depression.”

Ancient grains are still drawing consumer interest. For companies formulating with gluten-free grains, of which there are a multitude to choose from, McPhee identified Teff as an up and comer.

Sugar reduction is an inevitable member of any trend list. “It’s the new bad boy; the new salt,” said McPhee. There are plenty of recent headlines to speak to this fact. Recent Mintel research shows that 21 to 60 per cent of consumers are concerned about the total sugars in their diet. So far, the beverage industry has taken the brunt of it, says McPhee, and it is too early to tell the extent to which the bakery industry will be affected.

Ethnic flavours remain a popular source of experimentation. Brazillian cuisine is going to step into the limelight as the host of the upcoming soccer world cup and then the summer Olympics in 2016. Upcscale Mexican, Malaysian and Peruvian flavours are also poised to draw consumer interest.

One would be remiss not to include the aging population as a demographic fact to keep on the baker’s radar. The retirees have new needs, such as high calorie items, because they are eating less, and fortified products that are high in protein and/or fibre. Health is not the only focus for this group. Packaging that opens and reseals easily is also a concern, and marketers should consider communication that appeals to this audience while being careful not to patronize.

Paul Hetherington, president of the BAC, offered an additional closing comment to McPhee’s list by drawing attention to the low FODMAP diet. FODMAP stands for Fermentable Oligo-Di-Monosaccharides and Polyols. The FODMAP diet is currently being prescribed for those suffering from irritable bowel syndrome and focuses on a more all-encompassing gut health scenario than a gluten-free one. Stanford University’s digestive health centre identified these items as being FODMAPs in the diet: “fructose (fruits, honey, high fructose corn syrup (HFCS), etc.; lactose (dairy); fructans (wheat, onion, garlic, etc., fructans are also known as inulin); galactans (beans, lentils, legumes such as soy, etc.); and polyols (sweeteners containing sorbitol, mannitol, xylitol, maltitol, stone fruits such as avocado, apricots, cherries, nectarines, peaches, plums, etc.” 

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