Adding diversity to baked goods and snacks with inclusions

By Gill Hyslop

- Last updated on GMT

Blackberry and apple muffin. Pic: Chaucer
Blackberry and apple muffin. Pic: Chaucer

Related tags inclusions MarketInsights Chaucer Food Group plant-based Clean label coronavirus

Inclusions have long been used to provide consumers with creative snacking experiences and are increasingly being used to add a nutritional and functional boost to keep up with the growing demand for healthier, clean label indulgences.

The global food inclusion market is one of the fastest growing segments in the F&B industry, driven by the snowballing diversity of consumer preferences.

According to MarketInsights, the global food inclusion market recorded a revenue of over $10,74bn in 2018 and is projected to grow at a CAGR of more than 7.5% in the next five years.

What is an inclusion?

Inclusions – such as wafers, dry fruits, jellies, flakes and nuts – add sensory retreats like mouthfeel, flavour and visual appearance to products like baked goods, snacks, confectionery and ice cream. They can also enhance the nutritional and functional properties of a snack.

Inclusions vary in shape, texture, colour, size, shape and taste, and are available in a range of forms and solid, semi-solid and liquid states.

There is also an increasing array of clean label, non-GMO and allergen-free inclusions coming to market, which expand the scope of the sector and open avenues for producers.

Growth is attributed to the sensory profiles they impart – such as surprising textures, a new flavour profile or a pop of colour – to appeal to the consumer’s growing taste for adventurous eating.

Inclusions also add a functional benefit to a baked good or snack – particularly pertinent now as the coronavirus pandemic has boosted focus on consumer health and wellness

According to Kathy De La Bastide, Group R&D manager for Chaucer Foods, prior to COVID-19, novel inclusions helped food manufacturers add new sensory experiences to their snacks.

Now, she believes brands are seeing consumers return to comfort and familiar ingredients. This will put even more emphasis on the well-established trend toward natural, clean-label inclusions and healthier snacking.

Chaucer Foods has identified three trends product developers should keep top of mind:

Emphasise natural and simple

Healthy and functional ingredients – as well as those with an ethical and clean label story – will support a product’s premium status. This means a greater focus on inclusions that are recognisable on the label, as well as ones that are produced from sustainable sources. It also means a reduced need for artificial preservatives, while adding unique flavours, texture and nutritional benefits to enhance consumer appeal.

“Look for inclusions that can offer health benefits without sacrificing taste or texture,” ​said De La Bastide.

“Baked inclusions are ideal for snack products because they are minimally processed and can be tailored to a range of different flavours and formats to suit a variety of application needs.”

Don’t shy away from indulgence

Despite an increased focus on healthier options, consumers still consider occasional indulgence an important aspect of self-care. Mintel’s March 2020 A Year of Innovation in Salty Snacks & Fruit Mixes” report noted 73% of Americans agree that indulgences are permissible as part of a balanced, healthy diet.

Inclusions are often a much welcomed bonus in sweet goods like ice cream or candy. For consumers who prefer healthier snack options, they add a small dose of indulgence and a guilt-free way to satisfy cravings.

Consider evolving lifestyles

Today’s biggest buzzwords are plant-based and vegan, with a growing slant towards keto and paleo lifestyles.

Mintel’s 2020 report also noted 16% of all snack launches in North America featured a vegan claim in 2019, up 4% from 2018.

“It’s important to consider current and emerging diet trends when sourcing inclusions for new and existing products,” added De La Bastide.

“Natural, plant-based, and clean label inclusions are going to make products more permissible and accessible to the majority of consumers, including those with specific health and wellness goals in their diet preferences.”

Chaucer produces a range of sweet and savoury baked ingredients – which are shaped, dried versions of authentic bakery recipes – that can be used as inclusions or toppings for a wide variety of snacks, confectionery and dairy products.

The inclusions are available as standalone snacks, inclusions, crumbs, coatings, and toppings to give producers even more versatility in innovating new products or refreshing existing product lines.

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