Emerging ‘housebound health-consciousness’ trend drives molasses sales for home bakes and snacks

By Gill Hyslop

- Last updated on GMT

Home bakers are increasingly swapping out sugar for all-natural sweeteners like molasses. Pic: GettyImages/fermate
Home bakers are increasingly swapping out sugar for all-natural sweeteners like molasses. Pic: GettyImages/fermate

Related tags coronavirus home baking molasses International Molasses Malt Products Corporation Natural sweeteners

Consumers have become more discerning about ingredients lists and all-natural sweeteners in lockdown, according to International Molasses (IM).

The supplier of molasses and natural sweeteners said it has seen a definite tie between the coronavirus-caused stay-at-home lifestyle and an uptick in sales for its CaneRite portfolio of sugar cane molasses.

The increase in dry molasses sold for domestic-centric foods like bake mixes – along with an increase in liquid molasses sales for marinades and condiments like BBQ and Worcester – showcases not only the products Americans are choosing while remaining home but also their selection process within those niches, said IM.

Limitation-driven discernment

“For obvious reasons, consumers are eating more meals at home, so eating healthy means paying particular attention to the ingredients labels of grocery items,”​ said Amy Targan, president of IM and its sister company, Malt Products Corp (MCP).

“The sales gains we’re seeing aren’t in the restaurant sector – of course, they aren’t considering the pandemic – but rather in direct-to-consumer food products sold at grocery stores.”

According to Targan, the sales spike draws a clear conclusion. Consumers who might have otherwise grabbed an on-the-go healthy snack are now instead eating healthier at home.

“There’s a housebound health-consciousness trend, a sort of limitation-driven discernment that favours all-natural products,” ​she said.

The company’s CaneRite portfolio of sugar cane molasses ticks the boxes of this emerging trend.

For starters, it combines a wide-ranging, light-to-dark flavour profile with reassuring clean label-friendliness, eliminating the need for overly processed sugars like high-fructose corn syrup or other ‘red flag’ ingredients like artificial sweeteners.

Molasses is rich in antioxidants, and is available in non-GMP certified and organic varieties.

On a commercial scale, it is formulation-friendly, serving as a subtle sweetener as well as a natural colorant, humectant and shelf-life extender. Molasses can help keep soft batch cookies soft and chewy bars chewy, and serve as an excellent binder for granola bars.

IM’s portfolio provides a full gamut of flavour profiles, from dark and full-bodied to light and honey-esque, allowing bakery and snack formulators to go as light or as dark as they desire.

For example, IM’s l Golden Trim Molasses – which complements or even replaces honey flavour – provides distinctive notes that mask off notes commonly found in plant-based proteins, such as those found in granola or energy bars. The company’s darker molasses blends add a not-too-sweet appeal to a wide variety of items, such as both meat and vegan jerky.

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