Astutely executed research and development processes can yield products that quickly resonate with today’s shoppers, driving significant levels of repeat purchase. And sometimes, a new product can help point new directions for an entire industry.

Such products also often win awards.

Over several weeks during fall 2015, Snack Food & Wholesale Bakery hosted a contest on to determine the Best New Snack & Bakery Products of 2015: one category for snack products released within the past year, and another category for bakery products, with 10 new products to choose from and one vote permitted in each category. The products on the ballot represented every major trend across snack and bakery today, including portion control, gluten-free, artisan, bold flavors, better-for-you and convenience.

The two winners, as determined exclusively by voting of the online Snack Food & Wholesale Bakery audience, were Lance Gluten-Free Sandwich Crackers in the snack category and La Brea Bakery Gluten Free Sliced Sandwich Bread in the bakery category. Analysts have predicted continued growth of gluten-free over the coming decade, with sales potentially doubling during that time. As the gluten-free marketplace grows more crowded, strong innovation will support the products that emerge as category leaders.


Best New Snack & Bakery Products of 2015


lance cracker Lance Gluten-Free Sandwich Crackers

Company: Snyder’s-Lance, Charlotte, NC


Introduced: May 2015

Distribution: National

Suggested Retail: $3.99 for a 5-ounce box, $7.99 for an 8-ounce multipack

Product Snapshot: Gluten-sensitive consumers looking for savory, on-the-go fuel to take them through the day will appreciate new Lance Gluten-Free Sandwich Crackers from Snyder’s-Lance. Available in Peanut Butter and Cheddar Cheese, the bite-size snack comes in a multiserve pack that contains eight, 1- to 1.25-ounce, single-serve packs.

In order to learn more about these award-winning gluten-free crackers, we reached out to Eric Van De Wal,vice president of marketing and innovation, Snyder’s-Lance, Charlotte, NC.


Douglas J. Peckenpaugh: What went into the development of the Lance Gluten-Free Sandwich Crackers line?

Eric Van De Wal: The first priority was to make absolutely certain that we had a phenomenal product worthy of the Lance brand and loved by consumers. Next, we had to select a wheat replacement that gave the product the best possible taste and texture when consumers enjoyed the finished product. There are a number of off-the-shelf wheat flour replacements that can be used. However, none of them gave the end product the taste and texture that we were striving for, and that consumers expect for the Lance brand. Next came the undertaking of marrying that base building block with the other ingredients to give us the sandwich cracker that we believe best eats like a sandwich cracker that is made with wheat flour. This was not an overnight process, but we are very pleased with the results and proud to offer it to our consumers.


DJP: What is the makeup of the grain mix in the product?

EV: It’s a mixture of rice flour, rice starch and potato starch.


DJP: How has the product been received?

EV: Overwhelmingly positive. Consumers continue to thank us for bringing back a childhood favorite that they had been unable to enjoy either because of gluten sensitivities or a lifestyle choice.


DJP: What are the biggest challenges of developing truly great gluten-free crackers?

EV: The flavor and texture of the cracker were challenges that we needed to meet from a brand expectation and consumer acceptance standpoint. We needed to give them something that both tasted great and also had the texture that was very much the same as a “regular,” or wheat-based, cracker. The manufacturing challenge is that without the gluten of the flour, the extensibility that we are used to working with was completely absent. We had to test many different combinations of ingredients to get a dough that we could machine efficiently and satisfy the needs of this growing segment of consumers at the same time.


DJP: What other gluten-free snacks has Snyder’s-Lance released to the market?

EV: Snyder’s-Lance has introduced a number of gluten-free products including Snyder’s of Hanover Gluten-Free Pretzels, Snack Factory Gluten-Free Pretzel Crisps and Cape Cod Popcorn. As a matter of fact, Snyder’s of Hanover Pretzels are the market leader in gluten-free pretzels.


DJP: Does Snyder’s-Lance have any other gluten-free products in the works?

EV: At Snyder’s-Lance, we are always developing new products and recipes to deliver innovative solutions that make snacking better for everyone. This includes delivering the best-tasting snacks for those following a gluten-free diet. At this time, we are in the process of developing a number of products that we feel will delight our consumers. Many of which will be coming to a retail store near you very soon!


la breaLa Brea Bakery Gluten Free Sliced Sandwich Bread

Company: La Brea Bakery, Los Angeles


Introduced: July 2015

Distribution: Select Markets

Suggested Retail: $6.99 for a 13-ounce loaf

Product Snapshot: La Brea Bakery recently added two gluten-free sandwich breads to its product line. La Brea Bakery Gluten Free Sliced Multigrain Sandwich Bread has a nutty-tasting crust and a soft interior that gets its texture and flavor from flax seeds, sunflower seeds, pumpkin seeds and millet. Soft and light, La Brea Bakery Gluten Free Sliced White Sandwich Bread has a thin crust and a clean, fresh, classic white bread flavor that, according to the company, makes it the perfect base for any sandwich. Both varieties are certified gluten-free by NSF International. As of January, the breads are also available on Amazon Fresh in Seattle, Oakland and the surrounding Bay Area, Los Angeles, New York, and Philadelphia.

In order to learn more about this award-winning gluten-free bread, we reached out to Jon Davis, senior vice president, innovation, ARYZTA, Los Angeles.


Douglas J. Peckenpaugh: What went into the development of La Brea Bakery’s Gluten Free Sliced Sandwich Bread?

Jon Davis: As leaders in the artisan bread category for over 25 years, it made sense for us to take on the challenge of what truly great gluten-free bread could be. We bring a level of expertise and devotion to uncompromising standards that we knew could raise the bar for the entire category. Many of the gluten-free bread options on the market don’t taste very good. We wanted to create a gluten-free bread that was delicious by being moist and flavorful, and fill a void consumers currently experience in the marketplace by giving them bread that is true to what bread should taste like.


DJP: What is the makeup of the grain mix in the product?

JD: It was important to us to make sure that the grain mix was not only delicious, but also captured what consumers were looking for. Our Gluten Free Multigrain bread has amazing texture and flavor from flax seeds, sunflower seeds, pumpkin seeds and millet.


DJP: How has the product been received?

JD: People who have tried the bread love it. They know it is very different from any of the gluten-free breads out there in terms of texture and taste. Currently, is it available in markets around the United States, including Southern California, Washington and Philadelphia, with more to come in 2016.


DJP: What are the biggest challenges of developing truly great gluten-free bread?

JD: The trick to developing a gluten-free food is to have it taste like the food you are looking to emulate, minus the gluten. We worked for months to find the right combination of ingredients that yielded bread that has the right texture—which is what lacks in most of today’s gluten-free offerings. Our combination of ingredients led to the best-tasting bread—it’s moist, it’s flavorful and people appreciate that it doesn’t taste gluten-free. Rather, it tastes like delicious bread, which is what La Brea Bakery always strives for.


DJP: What other gluten-free breads has La Brea Bakery released to the market?

JD: These gluten-free breads are our first offering in the category, and it is currently it is available in two flavors: Multigrain Artisan Sandwich Bread and White Artisan Sandwich Bread.


DJP: Does La Brea Bakery have any other gluten-free products in the works?

JD: It was important to us to focus first on creating these delicious gluten-free sandwich breads to give those who have to adhere to a gluten-free diet a better option than what was currently on the market. Now that these have launched, we’re always looking to create delicious offerings that our customers will be excited about, which will include additional gluten-free options in the future.