The bread industry has shifted. What once was an all-white bread industry has diversified with new product offerings, ranging from multi-grain to whole wheat.
That’s where honey comes in. Because, let’s face it, we all know that we should be consuming more whole grains, but most of us don’t like the taste of them. Honey rounds out the flavor of whole grains, making honey whole-wheat loaves a top choice for consumers.
And it’s not just whole grains—honey pairs well with almost any bread, whether you’re looking to mask the flavor of a vitamin premix or just looking to create that perfect sweetness.
Honey also plays countless functional roles in bread, from inhibiting mold to naturally extending shelf life to enhancing color and mouthfeel. This all-natural sweetener is also a key marketing tool, whether using the popular honey iconography or to present a clean label.
Honey’s usage in the bread industry is popular and will continue to grow as consumer trends align with honey’s benefits. Start using honey in your breads to stay ahead of the curve.
Why use honey in breads
Honey cleans up ingredient labels in better-for-you breads and manufacturers can use this one all-natural sweetener for many functional and flavor roles.
Honey is a natural mold inhibitor that extends shelf life: Looking for an all-natural way to extend the shelf life of your products? Honey’s low pH and moisture content (17%) means bakery foods stay moist longer.
Exceptional marketing tool—on both sides of a package: From the bee to the hive, honey iconography and the “honey” name itself are great tools for compelling consumers to purchase products.
It’s not always the calories and fat content of sweet goods that scare away consumers. It’s the extensive ingredient listings in these products, which often contain artificial flavors, preservatives and colors. Today’s consumers don’t have a problem indulging their sweet tooth if the indulgence comes from an all-natural ingredient with a positive perception.
Manufacturers have embraced the need for clean labels in the sweet goods category, and it’s showing through increased sales. For the 52-week period ending April 17, 2016, IRI reported doughnut sales increased 5.29%, muffin sales increased 13% and pastry/Danish/coffee cake sales increased 5.43%, compared to the previous 52-week period.
Those are impressive numbers for such mature product categories, and the sales are being driven by the some of the category’s main players driving innovation by cleaning up labels. For example, the popular Otis Spunkmeyer brand recently launched a clean-label line of muffins that includes “No Funky Stuff.”
As the major players in the category continue to clean up their labels, smaller innovative players will continue to offer consumers new options in the sweet-goods aisle, such as whole grains, ancient grains and more all-natural sweeteners, such as honey.
Why use honey in sweet goods
Honey is a natural sweetener: made by bees in a beehive. And consumers know and appreciate this. When producing a sweet good, the base should always be a natural sweetener, such as honey.
Honey is functional: With both flavor and functional roles, honey is the ideal sweetener to use to attain exceptional mouthfeel, color, aroma and flavor.
Honey is great for marketing: Honey is all-natural and timeless. It’s the perfect marketing tool to use on the front of labels when the ingredient is incorporated into a product.
Most consumers have been eating crackers since they were infants, starting with some type of graham cracker, progressing to a salty cracker and maturing to more artisan crackers paired with cheese. Despite crackers’ continual presence in our lives, they have never really taken the spotlight, ceding centerstage to the more popular cookie and snack cake categories.
Crackers are booming as consumer cravings evolve into better-for-you snacks with nontraditional flavors and grains. Take Pepperidge Farm’s popular Goldfish cracker for example. A staple for most homes with children, this popular snack has evolved from a traditional salty cracker with one flavor (cheddar) into an extensive product line with a variety for every type of consumer.
Crave flavor? Try Flavor Blasted Goldfish Snacks, which come in varieties such as Xplosive Pizza, Slammin’ Sour Cream & Onion and, our favorite, Honey Mustard + Pretzel.
Looking for a better-for-you snack for your kids? Pepperidge Farm has you covered with its Goldfish Made with Organic Wheat line and its Whole Grain Goldfish line.
Or do you want a touch of sweetness in your cracker? Snack on Goldfish Grahams, one of Pepperidge Farm’s most recent Goldfish line extensions, which includes a Honey Graham flavor.
The evolution of one of America’s most popular crackers symbolizes a new direction for the entire cracker category: flavor and better-for-you options. This has created a dynamic shift in the marketplace. Smaller manufacturers are growing rapidly as their inclusion of clean-label ingredients, ancient grains and unique flavors position them to capitalize on consumers’ evolving tastes.
“Specialty cracker companies are pushing the envelope on what a cracker can be, and consumers appreciate crackers with more interesting flavors and ingredients,” Craig Lieberman, president and founder of Denver-based 34 Degrees, recently told Snack Food & Wholesale Bakery magazine. “The flavor of the cracker is now being highlighted as a way to enhance the overall pairing and experience.”
Why use honey in crackers
Honey is an all-natural sweetener: Most crackers, whether salty or sweet, need a sweetener to round out their flavor profiles. Honey accomplishes this task while maintaining a clean label with a sweetener that carries a positive perception.
Honey pairs perfectly with whole and ancient grains: Many cracker manufacturers are using whole and ancient grains as carry off-flavors. Honey is the perfect ingredient to mask those off-flavors.
Honey is a great marketing tool: Most new cracker products are positioned as better-for-you options, and honey is the perfect all-natural sweetener to use not only in the product, but also in the product name and packaging graphics.
According to an article in the Los Angeles Times cereal sales are in decline. Why? First, cereal, especially kid’s cereal, is synonymous with sugar, and more and more consumers are paying attention to what they eat and what they feed their children. Second, competition in the breakfast category is booming, with bars, yogurts and protein drinks competing against cereal for the on-the-go consumer.
Cereal manufacturers are fighting declining sales by focusing efforts on more “healthful” options.
Honey often plays a starring role in these products. For example, Honey Nut Cheerios recently tried to energize sales of this longstanding product by putting a greater emphasis on honey. From beehive billboards to new ad campaigns promoting the all-natural sweetener, General Mills has taken an existing product and breathed new life into it by focusing on honey.
In addition to focusing on all-natural ingredients, cereal makers are also expanding their audience. Millennials are consuming more cereal than ever—and not just in the morning. Cereal manufacturers are responding by reintroducing retro favorites and launching new products aimed at a generation of label readers who want more healthful options.
Regardless of the age of consumer, almost all cereal eaters are looking for a product that provides a balance between sweet and healthful. Honey is the ideal ingredient to deliver just that.
Why use honey in cereals
Simply put, it’s the sweetness: From appealing to kids with an all-natural sweetener to masking the flavor of whole and ancient grains, honey is the perfect complement to almost any cereal looking to provide an all-natural profile.
Honey is a great marketing tool: As an ingredient already synonymous with breakfast, cereal makers use popular honey iconography on product packaging to appeal to consumers looking for a more all-natural sweetener.
Flavor, functionality and marketing benefits: three things every manufacturer of food bars wants in an ingredient. Unfortunately, very few ingredients can deliver all three. Honey can.
When a bar manufacturer uses honey in its products, it is doing more than just adding sweetness. It is infusing pure, natural energy into every bite. Honey’s carbohydrate-rich composition provides 17 grams of carbohydrates per tablespoon. It’s the perfect ingredient for any bar manufacturer looking to give consumers an extra boost of energy.
And the benefits of honey don’t stop there. The all-natural sweetener also plays key functional roles in the bar category, serving as the “glue” that binds ingredients together. From nut bars to seed bars to “everything” bars with a wide variety of ingredients, honey is instrumental in keeping the product together.
Honey also is key in marketing bars, whether targeting the breakfast daypart or athletes looking for a mid-run fuel. Sweetener consumption is closely monitored by all consumers, and developing a bar with a clean-label sweetener will appeal to almost any consumer.
Why use honey in bars
Honey cleans up ingredient labels. Now more than ever, consumers are reading food labels carefully, looking for all-natural ingredients and familiar words, such as honey. By using honey, manufacturers can have cleaner labels that make a big impact.
Honey is the perfect binding agent. Making nut- or seed-dense bars? Hold them together with honey, a sweet, natural binder that serves an essential functional role in all types of bars.
Honey is great out front. Consumers are wary of the sweeteners used in bars. Using honey means you can place it on the front of packaging and appeal to consumers seeking all-natural sweeteners.