Snack Food & Wholesale Bakery was recently able to talk to Pilar Arellano, marketing director, Nature's Bakery, about its new Baked-Ins bars, as well as some current healthy snacking trends.
Douglas J. Peckenpaugh: What inspired the creation of the new Nature’s Bakery Baked-Ins bars?
Pilar Arellano: We want the choice for better for you snacks to be easy and appealing for children and parents alike—we call this a wholesome win-win. As a parent myself, I am always searching for new snacks that both my kids and I will love AND that are also made with great ingredients, which is where our idea for Baked-Ins started. We wanted to create a snack that offered an extra boost of better-for-you ingredients that children would love, and parents could feel good about, while also catering to a variety of dietary restrictions. That’s when we decided to add organic ingredients like real fruits and veggies, whole wheat, and whole grains like flaxseed to Baked-Ins. The best part of this new product line is that you don’t even taste the veggies!
In our consumer research we found that many families love classic baked recipes such as banana bread, but the market alternatives currently available to consumers are made with unhealthy ingredients or they don’t taste good. The inspiration for the two delicious Baked-Ins flavors: Banana Chocolate Chip, and Chocolate Oat came from our insight that both children and adults alike love banana bread and chocolate zucchini bread. We wanted to create a soft-baked bar that not only satisfied this consumer desire for these homemade recipes, but also includes more high-quality purposeful ingredients to provide a healthier snack option for families.
DJP: How did you settle on using ingredients like apple, banana, and sweet potato purées?
PA: At the core Baked-Ins is a new take on classic recipes like banana bread, so it was very important during the product development process that we create a similar taste profile. We also wanted to tap into the home baking trend of using fruit purees as a replacement for the added sugar frequently found in baked recipes. For our new Baked-Ins product line we used fruit and veggie purees, such as banana, apple, and sweet potato—all ingredients commonly used in home baking.
DJP: What is in the veggie blend that’s included in the bars?
PA: Nature’s Bakery’s Research and Development team worked very hard to include other veggies to give Baked-Ins all that classic baked flavor we crave in a healthier, more nutritious way. The fruits in our product are apple and banana puree, and the veggies are sweet potato, beet, kale and carrot.
DJP: How do these bars fit into current trends related to healthy snacking?
PA: At Nature’s Bakery we believe healthy snacking does not have to sacrifice taste. As Certified Vegan and Non-GMO Project Verified, Baked-Ins are a snack you can feel good about—they’re good for you and good for the environment. According to Hartman Group Organic & Beyond Report 2020, 66 percent of consumers wish there were more healthy snacks to choose from. At Nature’s Bakery we saw an opportunity for Baked-Ins to provide a delicious and clean label organic product that both adults and children can enjoy. We know that families are always on the lookout for convenient snacks their kids can ‘self-serve’ at home, making Baked-Ins the perfect option to ensure the whole family is eating enough whole grains, fruits and vegetables.
Additionally, Organic is a growing trend sought out by our target audience and customers. It brings an incremental buyer to our brand and fills whitespace opportunity within our portfolio, strengthening our position as a leader in the better-for-you soft baked bar category. Consumers can trust that Nature’s Bakery is thoughtfully baked to make better-for-you snacking a deliciously easy and appealing choice.
DJP: How important is a clean label for a healthy snack?
PA: Our company was founded on the idea that clean label products should be accessible for everyone, and we continue to have that as our guiding mission when developing new products. The future of the snack industry is not simply a pursuit for healthier options, but also for plant-forward, delicious, and convenient products that cater to a variety of dietary needs. We keep our health-conscious consumers top of mind throughout the product development process and will continue to keep their preferences and dietary parameters at the forefront of our ingredient selection.