Chocolate is one of the most popular and widely consumed products. Everyone likes chocolate. On average people consume 12.57 pounds of chocolate per year. And snacks and baked goods provide many opportunities for people to enjoy chocolate.
Taste remains a key driver in consumer food purchases. According to the 2018 IFIC "Food and Health Survey," taste was rated the No. 1 factor, with 81 percent of consumers stating taste impacts their decisions. Consumers still seek nostalgic, familiar flavors, but also flavors that appeal to their adventurous side.
Fruits are high in essential nutrients, and the 2015-2020 Dietary Guidelines for Americans recommends adults eat at least 1½ to 2 cups per day. According to the CDC, though, only 12 percent of adults meet those guidelines. But snack and bakery product developers have a wide range of options to bolster their wares with more wholesome fruit ingredients.
Consumers want to achieve better overall health and wellness, and adding more dietary protein and fiber helps. FDA defines dietary fiber as "certain naturally occurring fibers that are 'intrinsic and intact' in plants, and added isolated or synthetic non-digestible soluble and insoluble carbohydrates that FDA has determined have beneficial physiological effects to human health."
Nuts, seeds and other inclusions add new dimensions of color, appearance, texture, nutrition, flavor and more to an increasing range of snack and bakery products. Nut and seed consumption has continued to increase over the past several years. One of the contributing factors to the growth is consumer awareness and interest in plant-based foods.
Whether hard or soft, pretzels have long benefited from an inherently simplistic approach. After all, the core ingredient makeup for pretzel dough is predominantly flour, salt, leavening and water, likely with a bit of malt extract for flavor and browning.
Fats, oils, starches, fiber, dough conditioners and texturizers all serve critical functional roles in snacks and baked goods, particularly maintaining the quality of the product throughout the desired shelf life. As consumers demand cleaner labels, more health-and-wellness benefits and better sustainability, product developers face a wide range of functional ingredient challenges.