New Jersey is home to a fantastic array of sandwich diversity. The state’s definitive ham sandwich, the pork roll, dates back to the 1850s (make it with an egg and a slice of American cheese and it’s known as “Jersey breakfast”). Its sloppy Joe, originating in the 1930s and named after a bar in Cuba, is more of a Dagwood-Cuban hybrid than what folks outside of Jersey would typically expect. Rippers star deep-fried hot dogs that get their name from the split typically formed from the frying process.
Efficient cold-chain management is vital to bakers and snack producers, as consumers demand products that are fresh and government regulations require food producers to ensure food safety. Product traceability is another factor impacting this area.
When it comes to baked goods and snacks, consumers increasingly look for products in resealable, standup pouches and flexible packaging. It boosts ease-of-use for consumers, and helps improve the ability to keep foods fresh. As a result, bakers and snack producers are helping retailers meet this demand by investing in equipment capable of making packaging with popular closures, such as press-to-close zippers and sliders.
Consumer demand for baked goods and snacks that are better-for-you, clean-label, gluten-free or in line with other food trends are prompting many bakers and snack manufacturers to re-examine existing products and develop new ones. Depending on the ingredients they add to or remove from formulations to achieve the results they desire, manufacturers can find themselves dealing with dough that’s thicker, stickier or otherwise different from the original recipe—and wondering whether their processing equipment will be able to handle it.
Snack mixes today show much promise for widespread appeal. “There is opportunity for growth in the snack mixes industry, as we are beginning to see consumers snack almost as much as they eat full meals,” says Trip Kadey, director of culinary, The French’s Food Co. LLC, Chester, NJ.
In today’s food marketplace, bakers and snack manufacturers are navigating through the ever-evolving consumer awareness of better-for-you options. Digestive health. Less sugar. Fewer calories. Cleaner labels. The list goes on and on.
This recipe for Curry Spiced Nuts with Dried Tart Cherries meets consumer demand for ethnic flavor profiles, combines on-trend ingredients with complementary flavors and textures, and includes anthocyanin-packed Montmorency tart cherries, which have been linked to a number of health benefits, notes Jeff Manning, chief marketing officer, Cherry Marketing Institute.
During research and development, bakers and snack producers face formulation hurdles on a daily basis. Luckily, functional ingredients like fats, oils, dough conditioners and egg replacers can help them solve a host of common challenges.
When it comes to food trends, consumer interest in better-for-you products continues to grow. The desire to improve their overall health and well-being is prompting many Americans to be more selective when it comes to the foods they buy and eat, including baked goods and snacks. Instead of automatically placing a familiar product into their shopping cart, consumers are now scrutinizing its label for unpronounceable ingredients, artificial flavors and colors, GMOs and high levels of sweeteners and sodium.
In the world of snacks today, good ideas are sprouting up all over. Snacking is the new normal, and in order to remain competitive and relevant in a culture that increasingly leans toward better-for-you options, manufacturers are exploring formulation tactics that build more positive nutritional messaging into their products. Clean label is also top-of-mind, and if a snack can swing a gluten-free claim, its appeal instantly broadens.