Baking & Snack - August 2020 - 44

Rolling out a healthy dose of new products
Bakers are bolstering their positions in the
better-for-you sweet goods market. Take Just
Desserts, which just launched a line of vegan
cupcakes. The San Francisco-based company
also offers branded baked goods that are free
of many major allergens.
"We recently became vegan-certified,
further validating our program for the most
discerning vegan consumer," noted Michael
Mendes, chief executive officer, Just Desserts.
"In addition to being peanut- and tree nutfree, we are now eliminating soy from our
bakery and have introduced oatmilk as a
cream dairy alternative, and that change
has already taken place for our vegan line of
products."
Phil DeWester, senior director of category
marketing at Dawn Foods, noted that it
recently rolled a vegan muffin mix as a part of
the Jackson, Mich.-based company's Balance
line of better-for-you muffins.
Overall, globally inspired flavors are
influencing new product innovation.
"This is part of an ongoing trend where
buyers have increased focus on having
unique items," observed Tim Lotesto,
senior director, national retail key accounts
for Alpha Baking, Chicago. "This and an
increasingly adventurous American palate
lead manufacturers to develop flavors that
borrow from other cultures and explore
off-the-wall flavor combinations. Though
there's no danger of these items replacing
more traditional flavors at this point, these
can mean nice seasonal business. In the
long term, some of these currently 'out there'
flavors could become new standards."
Andy Jacobs, executive vice president
and chief operating officer, Hostess Brands,
Kansas City, Mo., pointed out the company
is taking cues from other food and beverage
categories, specifically the confection
arena in terms of products, packaging and
promotions.
"We watch the big confection players in
terms of everyday trends and also seasonal
ones," he said. "In addition, we have licensed
Hostess into a number of food categories,
which provides a unique view of those
categories like cereal, ice cream, pudding
desserts and coffee pods. All of these
licensed products help us keep our pulse on
the consumer and the opportunity to leverage
consumer learnings from other categories
within snack cakes."

44 Baking & Snack August 2020 / www.bakingbusiness.com

Top 5 Producers of Bakery Snacks
COMPANY
MCKEE FOODS CORP.
HOSTESS BRANDS
PRIVATE LABEL
FLOWERS FOODS
GRUPO BIMBO

TOTAL BAKERY SNACKS

DOLLAR SALES IN
MILLIONS

% CHANGE

DOLLAR
SHARE

$867.8
$723.0
$662.9
$281.5
$280.5

+2.4%
+3.0%
-2.8%
+1.4%
+9.6%

24.86
20.71
18.99
8.06
8.03

$3,491.2

1.7%

100

IRI. Multi-outlet plus c-stores for 52 weeks ending May 17, 2020.

"Foodservice operations want to
order a more sanitary product and
replace the traditional table service,
buffet service or room service in hotels with grab-and-go options that
resemble breakfast meal kits with a
muffin, yogurt and a piece of fruit,"
Mr. Sayegh said. "We think this
trend will even survive the present
pandemic and go on for the future
because a lot of operators and even
consumers like the concept of a prepacked, grab-and-go option."

Back to school?
As COVID-19 cases spiked in other
areas of the nation during the summer, Mr. Sayegh still wondered if
students would be returning to universities and other schools - and in
what capacity.
"We still don't know how many
colleges will remain using online learning or will reopen this
September," he explained. "That's
certainly a big question."
In local elementary and high
school districts, it certainly looks
like the brown bag - or more
modern forms of the old-fashioned
lunchbox - is returning by necessity, noted Jack Anderson, president and CEO, JSB Industries. The
Chelsea, Mass.-based company,
which also goes by the name of
Muffin Town, turns out a bounty of
sweet goods, muffins, cakes, cornbread, cookies, bars, bagels and its
signature SunWise sunflower butter
and jelly sandwiches for retail, food-

service and private label customers.
School districts across the nation,
however, account for the most significant portion of Muffin Town's
business. Previously, Mr. Anderson
said, the bakery shipped a lion's
share of its items in bulk - 140
products to a case, for instance -
but now everything is individually
wrapped, and the school meal business, which normally slows in summer, remains brisk.
"Schools are doing an awful
lot of summer and drive-by feeding," Mr. Anderson explained.
"When students go back to school
in September, however, some cafeterias aren't going to open at all,
probably for another year or two.
We're drifting into classroom feeding. We're working with a lot of purveyors who are providing the whole
meal in schools."
Without traditional school cafeterias, dieticians and cooks, Muffin
Town is creating breakfast and
lunch kits with three or four individually wrapped, school nutritionapproved products.
Right now, the labor-intensive
process is still ramping up, but with
investments in new equipment, the
bakery hopes to streamline the concept and ratchet up production by
the beginning of the school year.
Certainly, parents will be looking
to make any occasion special - or
simply provide a well-deserved
break from everything that's going
on at home.

*


http://www.bakingbusiness.com

Baking & Snack - August 2020

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