NPD Showcase 2021: Inspiring professional and home bakers with Bright White chocolate, a Farmhouse Cake Mix and Soft Baked Sugar Cookie dough

By Gill Hyslop contact

- Last updated on GMT

We've got something for both professional and home bakers this season. Pics: GettyImages/Wavebreakmedia/evgenyatamaneko
We've got something for both professional and home bakers this season. Pics: GettyImages/Wavebreakmedia/evgenyatamaneko

Related tags: Christmas, Natural flavours, Natural colours, Cocoa powder, White chocolate, plant-based, cookie dough, Lisa Frank, allergen-free, pretzels

Cargill has developed a dazzling bright white chocolate that will transform any sweet treat into a real eye-catcher; Kells has created an easy-to-produce spiced fruit cake mix for bakers wanting to maximise festive sales, and Pillsbury has added a seasonal offering to its range of soft, chewy treats.

Christmas belle

Christmas Cake

Irish miller and family-run bakery expert Kells has developed a range of products to help bakers make the most of the festive season.

For bakers wanting to maximise festive sales, it has created a Farmhouse Cake Mix that takes only moments to prepare. The lightly spiced fruit cake only requires vegetable oil, water and dried fruit.

For those wanting to offer a bit more indulgence, Kells’ range of flavoured cakes – including Chocolate, Coffee, Red Velvet, Toffee and Lemon – can be used to make a host of festive bakes from Yule logs to cupcakes and sponges.

Trifle is a perennial favourite and Kells’ Sponge Cake Mix contains only natural flavours with no added colours. Bakers just need to add egg and water.

For the more savoury took, Kells’ flagship Nore Soda Bread Mix can be pimped up with seasonal additions like cranberries and walnuts.

“After a challenging year for bakers, this festive season is an especially important time for bakers to increase sales,”​ said Robert Mosse, MD of Kells.

“The Kells range will help them maximise time and resource by delivering a high-quality range of festive cakes and bakes.”

Inspiring professionals

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olam food ingredients (ofi) has launched its range of premium deZaan cocoa powders for chefs, bakers and foodservice professionals in the US. Known for its 110 years of Dutch cocoa-making expertise and commitment to sustainability, deZaan is on a mission to encourage professionals to explore cocoa in new and creative ways.

The collection comprises six cocoa powders in 1kg and 5kg bags, crafted around four key elements that impact the outcome of a recipe, including flavour, colour fat content and level of alkalization. For example, flavours range from light and fruity citrus to velvety chocolate and caramel notes, while hues run the gamut from Crimson Red and Rich Terracotta to Carbon Black.

It also makes natural powders available to US-based professionals for the first time. Most cocoa powders on the market are dutched, meaning they have gone through a process of alkalization to mellow the acidity and develop the flavour. deZaan has introduced two natural powders, True Gold (flavour notes of flowers and citrus, and a light colour) and True Dark (nutty fruitiness, and a dark colour).

The range is sourced through Cocoa Compass, ofi’s sustainability ambition to a) help farmers achieve a living income; b) eliminate child labour; and c) protect forests through a net increase in tree carbon stock, all by 2030.

“Cocoa is a vital ingredient across so many pastry and dessert recipes. Yet professional chefs in the US have had to make do with limited options,”​ said Diane Stopford, director of Sales, deZaan for Professionals.

“With the support of our team of ingredient development and innovation experts based in Chicago, we want to change that. Our deZaan powders are incredibly versatile and made only with the finest cocoa beans and processing techniques. We hope that by making these available, we can help inspire professionals to explore how cocoa can be used in their recipes and open their eyes to its unlimited potential.”

The VIP PIB

Subway® P.I.B. (Plants.In.Blanket.) Sub

Subway has unveiled a limited-time only addition to its Plant-Based menu for the festive season – the PIB (Plants In Blanket).

The success of last year’s Tiger Pig Sub (a 6” Pig In Blanket served on Tiger Bread) has inspired the sandwich retailer to extend its vegan offerings with a plant-based version of a traditional favourite.

The company’s experts spent months developing the PIB Sub, which has smoky ‘bacon-like' notes and a sweet maple syrup glaze, served with Heinz Tomato Ketchup. The PIB is fully customisable and available as a 6-inch Sub, Footlong, Salad or Wrap.

Available instore for a limited time across the UK’s West Midlands, including Birmingham, Coventry and Wolverhampton, while stocks last.

The PIB joins Subway’s popular plant-based menu that includes Meatless Meatball Marinara, TLC (Tastes Like Chicken), Plant Patty, Vegan CheeZe Toasted Bite, Potato Crispers, Hash Browns and Vegan Double Choc Cookie.

The soft options

Pillsbury

Pillsbury is getting into the Christmas spirit with Soft Baked Sugar with Sprinkles & Drizzled Icing Cookies.

The seasonal offering – available in the cookie aisle for the first time this holiday season – introduces the combo of a soft, chewy treat to an iced sugar cookie that’s ready-to-eat and convenient to take on-the-go. Each box contains 18 cookies and is available at retailers across the US for an RRP of $3.69.

Pillsbury’s Soft Baked cookies were first introduced in the spring of 2021 and now include Peanut Butter Chocolate, Chocolate Chip, Confetti, and Sugar with Drizzled Icing and Butterscotch.

The brand has also partnered with Lisa Frank to create the limited edition Pillsbury Lisa Frank Unicorn Shape Sugar Cookie Dough.

Each package of the sugar cookie dough comes with 20 pre-cut cookies that are ready for the oven and safe to eat raw. This is the first-time consumers can find Lisa Frank’s bright colours and signature whimsical designs within the refrigerated baked goods section.

“We are thrilled to partner with Pillsbury to bring The Fantastic World of Lisa Frank to grocery retailers nationwide,”​ said Forrest Green, head of Brand at Lisa Frank.

“Our teams created this amazing product to bring generations together and share the infinite joy that defines our everlasting brands.”

The Pillsbury Lisa Frank Unicorn Shape Sugar Cookie Dough has an RRP of $2.67 per pack.

The new black is a bright white

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In the age of social media, visual appeal is more important than ever. With this in mind, Cargill developed Bright White, a dazzling bright white chocolate that will transform any sweet treat into a real eye-catcher.

“Nearly 20% of consumers state that the visual appeal of a product is the key factor influencing their purchase decision,”​ said Cathrin Simon, Cargill’s marketing manager for chocolate.

“This reality gives new meaning to the saying that we ‘eat with our eyes.’”

Consumer testing found 92% of consumers said the new range was noticeably whiter than the white chocolate currently on the market.

“Historically, white chocolate actually meant cream-colored chocolate,”​ said Matthieu Rouvillain, senior R&D manager at Cargill Cocoa & Chocolate.

“Our new Bright White chocolate reimagines what is possible with a whiter-than-white recipe that truly dazzles.”

However, while Bright White was created for its visual appeal, it also delivers on other sensory attributes, said Cargill, including a round, balanced taste with a subtle vanilla flavour, and a smooth texture.

It aligns with further key consumer trends, as it is produced from sustainably sourced, Rainforest Alliance Certified cocoa beans and contains no extra or artificial ingredients, enabling a label-friendly positioning.

Perfect for enrobing and decorating, Bright White chocolate can be used in bakery, cereals, confectionery, dairy, decorations, cereals and similar applications. It will be available in solid, liquid and easy-melt formats.

Spreading Christmas cheer

Birds Bakery festive van

Craft baker Birds Bakery has wrapped one of its delivery vans in a cheery camouflage to help spread joy this festive season.

For those with an eagle eye, the happy delivery van can be spotted on the main roads across East Midlands, delivering the bakeries’ famous mince pies and confectionary to one of its 62 stores across the region.

The family-run firm – which was founded in 1919 by three brothers – has also launched an online service to give customers’ front door access to its festive treats.

“Christmas is the most joyful season, and we really wanted to make people smile when they see the van out on the road,”​ said Mike Holling, sales and marketing director at Birds Bakery.

“If our customers are struggling to get out, we now offer our online shopping service, so customers can get their treats ordered from the comfort of their own sofas, just in time for the Christmas season.

“Celebrate with us and try our delicious mince pies or our Santa inspired gingerbread people. If you see our van on the road, make sure to give the driver a wave.”

Future-proofing what everyone loves

Voyage Foods

Voyage Foods claims to have made a major breakthrough – with an allergen-free peanut butter. The brand is also touting sustainable and scalable alternative, like a chocolate without cacao, and a coffee with the coffee bean.

According to the founders, its breakthrough technology provides endless opportunities to make nearly identical versions of favoured treats without compromising individual health or the planet.

The brand officially launched in October this year with its Peanut Free Spread, which will be available mid-January. The spread is made from all-natural ingredients, is allergen-free, clean label, non-GMO and nutritionally identical to its counterparts on the market.

Watch this space.

Sizing up

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Natural snack food producer Quinn has rolled out a ‘Family-Size’ bag of its Creamy Peanut Butter Filled Pretzel Nuggets – in response to countless requests – on the Costco and Amazon sites.

The 11oz bags will pack in its popular treat, that is gluten-free, non-GMO Project Verified, corn-free, soy-free, dairy-free and vegan-friendly.

“This new partnership with Costco will not only make Quinn products more accessible to those looking for healthy snacks for their families, but it will also allow Peanut Butter Pretzel lovers to stock up on a favourite nostalgic snack, which is naturally gluten-free and made with cleaner ingredients,”​ said Kristy Lewis, Quinn founder and CEO.

Female-founded Quinn is known for delivering industry firsts and committed to transparency and sustainability. Quinn’s ‘Be Better Do Better’ initiative seek outs agriculture partners who are taking steps to improve their practices to improve food supply and the environment, while its Farm to Bag campaign showcases its commitment to transparency by providing details about their ingredients, growers and suppliers.

Not mincing around

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Synonymous with Christmas, a mince pie, Christmas cake or slice of brandy-infused festive loaf is a must. And Fatherson Bakery is taking this array of indulgent fayre a step further.

The award-winning bakery manufacturer’s range of mince pies run the gamut from traditional greats to exotic new variants like Port & Cranberry and Luxury: brandy-soaked mincemeat wrapped in an orange flavoured shortcrust pastry to make the 2021 festive season one to remember.

Other Christmas goodies include a Round Dundee Cake (a traditional Scottish fruit cake topped with an array of almonds), Festive Loaves, Christmas Cupcake Platter and an Iced Christmas Cake, lightly burnished with a delicate gold spray.

“We know from our consumer testing panel, as a nation we love those nostalgic, traditional Christmas favourites from mince pies to fruit and festive loaf cakes,”​ said Laurence Smith, baker and  owner of Fatherson Bakery.

“But when it comes to mince pies, people also want something a little different, which creates both a taste twist and a surprise when eaten. That’s why this year our mince pie range has been borne out of a host of consumer taste tests and a revision to our family pastry recipe is set to bring the very best Fatherson mince pies.”

The Fatherson Christmas range is in store across the UK, including grocery retailers, convenience stores, garden centres, farm shops and delis plus hundreds of independent retailers. All the items are packaged in eco-friendly packaging, which is 100% recycled and 100% recyclable.

Hyper-chilled

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Injecting a touch of tropical sunshine into a wintery Christmas scene is Trü Frü with the launch of a Piña Colada, White Chocolate and Coconut Covered Pineapple snack.

At only 70 calories per serving, this poppable, better-for-you, hyper-chilled pineapple snack is designed to instantly transport you to your favourite beachside paradise.

It starts with a slice of pineapple fully ripened, which is immersed in a blend of white chocolate and roasted coconut before undergoing the brand’s proprietary Hyper-Chilled process to lock in nature’s goodness.

“Trü Frü will only ever be as good as the fruit at the centre of it all. We travel the globe for this,”​ said Taz murray, cofounder of Trü Frü.

“For Pina Colada, our star is the best Costa Rican Pineapple, picked at the peak of ripeness. After that it is all about the pairing. We want the chocolate to complement the fruit, never dominating. With Pina Colada, we had tried dark chocolate, but it didn’t come across really clean until one of our fans suggested a white chocolate and coconut pairing. Once we were able to solve the layering and mixing of that pairing with the juicy slice of pineapple, we were golden.”

The new treat is rolling out exclusively at Target stores across the US in the frozen dessert aisle.

Presenting his royal cheezness

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A new mascot is entering the playing field for the 2021 Cheez-it Bowl.

Prince Cheddward is joining a lineup of iconic college football characters as the Cheez-It Bowl’s first-ever mascot to celebrate the century-long, 100% real cheese dynasty.

With the help of Prince Cheddward, Cheez-It will cap off a year of 100th​ birthday celebrations by encouraging the competing teams to play like kings on 29 December. Whether fans are cheering at Camping World Stadium or from home, Prince Cheddward will deliver unpredictable, entertaining moments throughout this year’s game.

“We kicked off our 100th​ year with a Cheez-Itennial cake and knew we had to keep the party going until the very end,”​ said Erin Storm, brand senior director for Cheez-It.

“Over the past three years, the Cheez-It Bowl has seen unbeatable action, towering Cheez-It Box seats and end zones packed with animatronic cheese wheel fans, but this year calls for the royal treatment. Prince Cheddward takes team spirit to the next level, and we can't wait for him to help bring fans into the fun of the cheesiest bowl game of the season.”

Tune in for the 2021 Cheez-It Bowl on 29 December at 5:45pm ET on ESPN to see Prince Cheddward’s cheesy debut. Loved last year’s Cheez-It Wheel Fans? Cheez-It brand owner Kellogg’s did too, and will be bringing them back – this time next to real live fans.

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