When it comes to snack and bakery products that feature dairy ingredients, consumers are demanding flavor innovations, as well as clean label and environmentally friendly dynamics.

“Dairy trends in bakery are all about imparting a rich creamy flavor and mouthfeel to baked products, which gives a premium and indulgent eating experience to the consumer,” says Deborah Waters, senior manager, bakery applications, and enzymologist, Kerry, Beloit, WI.

Most recently, Kerry launched a new line of Irish grass-fed dairy ingredients, produced in Ireland with Non-GMO Project, rBST-free, kosher, halal and Sustainable Dairy Assurance Scheme (SDAS) certification. “Kerry is the first major Irish dairy processor to achieve 100 percent SDAS certification of our liquid milk pool. SDAS verifies a more-sustainable approach to milk production, best practices on Irish dairy farms, and measurement and reduction in carbon footprint.” The portfolio can be used with salty snacks like pretzels, popcorn, potato chips, extruded puffs and tortilla chips. In bakery applications, these products are currently used in breads, buns, rolls, flatbreads, cakes, doughnuts and crackers, as well as fillings and toppings.

Waters notes there has been an interesting shift toward reintroducing dairy ingredients in bakery applications. This ties to consumers seeking more traditional and familiar ingredients in the foods they buy.

“We’re seeing a lot of interest in matching cheese with other profiles, both sweet and savory, in various bakery applications. For example, on the savory side, we’re seeing cheese powders and flavors used to complement spicy notes, as well as more traditional herb and fruit flavors, such as Cheddar jalapeño or cream cheese and herb,” shares Waters.

Nutrition is also always a factor with dairy. Farbest Brands, Park Ridge, NJ, offers a range of dairy proteins that are minimally processed, come from dairy cows fed a pasture-based diet, are not processed with GMOs and are intact proteins. Its newest dairy ingredients include whey proteins. “Our flagship whey protein product is FB 805, which is a sunflower lecithinated instant whey protein concentrate 80 percent. This product is ideal for use in sports nutrition (i.e., bars), protein-enhanced snacks (such as chips and protein bites) and in bakery (as a soy-free addition to quick breads, protein-enhanced cakes, etc.). FB 805 combines excellent dispersibility, a bland dairy flavor and smooth texture for a number of applications,” notes Michael Sutich, product manager. FB 805 can help bakers replace or reduce the amount of eggs or egg powder in a formula, or to enhance protein-fortified chips.


Clean cheese

Kraft Heinz Ingredients, Glenview, IL, has updated its portfolio to address consumer demand for clean label. This has involved switching soft cheese products to sustainable RSPO-certified palm oil, eliminating artificial colors for natural options and using cleaner emulsifiers.

And flavor trends continue to go global. “In the snack space, we’ve seen an explosion in interest in the use of traditional cheese powders in snacks that are being influenced by global spices and flavoring innovations,” says James Heike, senior associate brand manager, Kraft Heinz Ingredients. “Mediterranean, Asian and even African flavor influences are making their way to the mainstream for everything from popcorn to chips, crisps and nut-based snack mixes. For bakery applications, we’ve seen continued strength in our cream cheese offerings from customers making cheesecakes, frostings for things like red velvet and carrot cake applications, and fillings for Danishes and assorted baked goods.”

Heike notes that blending sweet and savory profiles holds promise. “We’ve innovated with using cream cheese in traditionally sweet bakery applications, such as muffins, cakes and even pancakes or waffles. We found that the savory profile adds just the right amount of tang and a more-tender crumb in certain applications. Mixing other trending cheeses, such as ricotta, goat or Brie, elevates the cream cheese even further.”

Organic cheese represents a still-small—but growing—portion of the market. According to IRI, Chicago, year-over-year dollar growth of organic cheese grew nearly 6 percent in 2018.

Emmi Roth, Fitchburg, WI, has introduced a new collection of Roth Organic Cheeses made with organic milk from Wisconsin. The line includes Grand Cru Original, Van Gogh Gouda, Havarti and Sharp Cheddar.

Heather Engwall, director of marketing, Emmi Roth, notes that while cheese continues to be used in savory baked goods like breads and scones, they’ve seen chefs using cheese to add richness and depth in sweet bakery applications. For instance, Chef Elizabeth Falkner uses Emmi Kalbach Le Gruyère  AOP in her recipe for a Milk Chocolate and Kalbach Cheese Souffle with Caramel Sauce, with the cheese baked into the soufflé and added to the caramel sauce.

In traditional savory baked goods, spicy cheese can shine. Roth developed recipes for scones using its Spicy 3 Chile Pepper Gouda, and pull-apart bread featuring its Sriracha Gouda. They’ve also used Roth Grand Cru in a recipe concept for cranberry-sriracha brownies.

Land O’Lakes Ingredients, Arden Hills, MN, also recently launched a new line of organic cheese powders. The line consists of three white Cheddar cheese powders and an organic Parmesan cheese powder. The line was designed to deliver robust, authentic cheese flavors. Another initiative was to introduce clean-label versions of on-trend seasonings, such as Elote (Mexican street corn), Fried Pickle (with Ranch) and Maple Bacon Cheddar. These ingredients can be used across a broad range of snack products. Land O’Lakes has developed applications showcasing these products and seasonings on potato chips, popcorn, pita chips and cassava chips.

According to Thomas Mazula, associate marketing manager, global dairy ingredients, Land O’Lakes, the salty snack category is continuing to grow with the introduction of bold and ethnic flavors. “Dried dairy powders, whether it is cheese, butter or cream, incorporating these flavor trends are showing up in many salty and savory snacking options entering the marketplace driven by the Millennial consumer looking to replicate a flavor they may have experienced.”


Concentrated flavors

First Choice Ingredients, Germantown, WI, recently introduced several new cheese and butter concentrates. According to Abby Pekar, marketing manager, the Toasted Parmesan Cheese Concentrates are made with a proprietary fermentation process gives it a flavor akin to perfectly browned Parmesan cheese. “From rolls and breads to cracker and scones, our Toasted Parmesan Cheese Concentrates (available in paste or powder form) will add a delectable layer of depth and complexity to your signature formula.” Other available concentrates include Smoked Cheddar, Smoked Gouda and Smoked Mozzarella, as well as Organic Cave Aged Blue Cheese.

Pekar recommends the Brown Butter Concentrates for products like chocolate chip cookies and Bundt cakes. There are two options: one that leans sweet, the other savory. The sweet version offers creamy, brown sugar notes, while the savory option delivers richer, caramel flavor with burnt or charred nuances.

These dairy concentrates can be used in formulas for cookies, crackers, breads, rolls, biscuits, tortillas and flatbreads, as well as fillings and glazes. The natural, clean-label butter concentrates work well in brioche, croissants and other pastries.

Pekar is seeing increased demand for more traditional, indulgent, higher-fat dairy ingredients for bakery applications. “Buttermilk and other cultured dairy products, such as yogurt, sour cream and crème fraiche, are being used in all sorts of bakery applications, including cakes, pastries and breads.”


Authentic and dairy-free

Edlong Corp., Elk Grove Village, IL, offers 250 dairy-free and vegan flavors in its portfolio. “While vegan products are growing in demand, many producers struggle to deliver authentic flavor and mouthfeel,” says Beth Warren, chief commercial officer. “Fortunately, functional performance improvements in texture, stretch, creaminess and flavor layering mean consumers no longer have to sacrifice the authentic taste of dairy in dairy-free applications. Dairy-free flavors with authentic regional character and taste profiles offer the formulator new options to add more-sophisticated and authentic flavors. This is often done by flavor layering. For example, one flavor can add dairy creaminess, while saltiness can be achieved without sodium by incorporating a blue cheese flavor. The right flavor processed under varied conditions during heat process, then followed by other flavors layered for mouthfeel and creaminess, ultimately achieves the sophisticated profile that is as much art as it is science.”

Warren notes that the company has demonstrated the benefits of flavor layering in a Seven Layer Cheese Crackers application—a snack that features the flavors of the traditional seven-layer dip, combining notes from cheese, sour cream, tomatoes, onions, spices, etc. The crackers are crispy and cheesy, making for a bold, savory snack.             


Dairy nutrition

While interest in dairy free foods is growing, demand for dairy products remains strong. Dairy has a healthy perception, milk and other dairy foods are a great source of protein, calcium and other essential nutrients.

Recent products trends include higher-protein versions of everyday foods like cookies and snack bars, which deliver the higher protein with milk or whey protein concentrates or isolates, notes Dan Huse, business development and strategic planning manager, Land O’Lakes.

Milk and whey permeates are gaining favor. “Broader usage globally in snacks and baked goods suggests there is room to increase usage in the U.S.,” says Huse. “Permeate is about 80 percent lactose, which is already widely used in snacks and baked goods as a less-sweet alternative to sugar, and it offers a natural source of minerals and electrolytes. Permeate is also used to enhance flavors and reduce sodium.”

The use of dairy in snack and bakery applications is seeing resurgence toward more-traditional, familiar, indulgent products, along with the desire for more bold and ethnic flavor experiences. Add in clean label, and dairy-focused snacking will continue to drive growth across multiple categories.