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Hybrid Bakery Livens up Pastry Business

Hybrid bakery items seem to sweep over the culinary world in waves, appearing and disappearing just as quickly. We’ve witnessed the cronut (a cross between a croissant and donut), the duffin (an amalgam of a muffin and donut), the townie (tart meets brownie) and an as-yet-unnamed mixture of cheesecake layer atop a delicious fudge-like brownie.

While hybrid varieties might come and go, the overall category of pastries was the best performer within baked goods globally. According to Euromonitor International, pastries experienced a compound annual growth rate of more than 3% from 2008-2013, with analysts attributing this performance to a combination of flavor innovation with the rise of specialized bakery chains. Both of these trends are setting the stage for further development of hybrid pastries.

One distinctive that defines the category of hybrid pastries is the consumer expectation of an artisanal-quality experience, which translates into reliance on authentic ingredients and from-scratch preparation. For example, brownies should be rich with a strong presence from dairy ingredients, chocolate and butter. The more fudge-like the brownie, the more it depends on the whole eggs and egg yolks added for richness and mouthfeel. Whole eggs and egg yolks deliver great flavor and help build the structure of the brownie.

If that brownie were topped with a cheesecake layer for a hybrid creation, that element would be started first, prior to the brownie construction as part of a two-stage baking process. Again, real eggs in cheesecake preparations add the functional properties of coagulation and gelation and create proper texture and mouthfeel in a cheesecake layer.

While eggs might not appear in the classic French croissant, they are included in the dough for a cronut, since it mixes the textures, appearance and flavor of a croissant with a donut.

In all of these creations egg ingredients play three major roles, in leavening, gelation and coagulation. There isn’t a single protein ingredient available in the market that can replace the superiority in baking formulations that eggs deliver. Customers will appreciate the quality, the flavor and the appearance that real eggs bring to hybrids or any other bakery item that relies on eggs, including muffins, donuts, brownies, cakes, cookies and similar products.

However, baking operations can improve profitability on all of these items by saving time. Many bakeries, including large to mid-sized, are still using shell eggs. Converting to egg ingredients, particularly liquid, is an easy switch and saves time and labor. A new video and accompanying worksheets explain this simple switch at www.aeb.org/conversion.  

2014-11-19 22:55:18
 

New Conversion Video Aids Bakers

Lights, camera, conversion! The flour was flying as the American Egg Board recently partnered with AIB International to create two short educational videos about egg product conversion. They are designed to show bakery owner/operators the easy process of switching from shell egg usage to liquid or powdered egg ingredients, respectively. 

Eggs provide amazing functionality in baking operations all across America. Many small to medium-sized bakeries that use shell eggs are interested in switching to liquid or powdered egg ingredients to create cakes, cookies, desserts and other products. 

One video discusses conversion from shell eggs to liquid and another the switch to powdered egg ingredients. The first video about liquid egg products entitled, “Shell Egg to Liquid Egg Conversion. Easier than you might think,” will be available the end of September. Both videos are due for translation into Spanish and will be posted online. 

Several reasons could prompt a baker to make the switch including the ability to create premixes, the opportunity to save time and labor spent cracking open individual shell eggs compared to the convenience of measuring liquid or powdered egg ingredients, or the availability of and storage space required for shell eggs.

Toby Moore, a baking professional at AIB, said the organization regularly receives calls from bakers asking about the conversion process, indicating an audience ready for this educational outreach. “Bakers often believe the conversion will be complicated and expensive when in reality it is an easy and often economical switch,” said Moore. 

Some of the many benefits for a baker to switch from shell eggs to liquid or powdered can include:

•    Save time/labor
•    Save storage space
•    More accurate measurements
•    More consistent finished product
•    Potential food safety improvements
•    Decrease waste

Much of the footage was shot onsite in the industrial baking facilities of the American Institute of Baking, Manhattan, Kansas. AIB’s credibility as an educational and testing organization is well-known in the baking industry. 

Each video is approximately four minutes long, yet provides thorough instruction on the benefits and ease of making the conversion, including a discussion about safety and proper handling. Printable worksheets make conversion easy to implement in any bakery location. 

Find the video links and download printable conversion worksheets at AEB.org/Conversion.

2014-11-06 21:06:45
 

Breaking Bread: New Study Shows Artisanal is “In” with Consumers

Scrumptious, delectable or in modern parlance #nomnom, artisanal bakery items hit a sweet spot with American consumers. Because nothing goes better with that morning cup of coffee than a fresh baked donut, muffin or pastry. And this sector is one of the sweeter spots in a shifting baking industry.

Overall in the U.S., we’re eating fewer products from the bakery than in former years. While the population has increased 12 percent since 2000, flour production is up three percent, according to a new study published by Rabobank in September entitled, “Breaking Bread: Cooking up Success in U.S. Bakery Sector.” Bakers might consider some product readjustment to capture market share.

The best performing baking category is the $28 billion cake and pastry sector, up 4.1 percent. And within the artisanal segment, artisanal/unpackaged cakes and pastries grew by 4.8 percent per annum between 2010 and 2013. These unpackaged, artisanal style sweet goods represent the rise of “industrial-artisanal production” and a particularly promising opportunity for commercial bakers.

Generally, artisanal-style recipes start from scratch and don’t involve a premix. The use of industrial mixers and tools isn’t precluded to create an artisanal product. What is expected however is that the craftsperson use traditional techniques and wholesome, authentic ingredients.

There are many ways REAL egg ingredients can help create true, artisanal bakery products. An egg wash helps finish off a classic French-style croissant. Egg ingredients create smooth cheese fillings in an authentic Danish. Egg white creates the airy structure expected in an angel food cake. Egg yolk and whole eggs help tenderize donuts and provide structure. Cakes, cookies and other products rely on eggs to improve eating quality, help create proper texture and crumb and supply fillings with a smooth viscosity. Eggs enhance both functionality and elevate the eating experience. And REAL eggs will tell consumers purchasing the unpackaged, industrial-artisanal bakery items that your products fit an authentic artisanal model. 

2014-10-27 16:33:44
 

REAL Eggs are GMO-Free

With the free-from movement gaining ground, REAL eggs present an attractive ingredient choice for formulators. Many foods are advertising what’s not present as much or more than what is, whether free-from preservatives, additives, gluten, or genetically modified organisms (GMOs). Such products are designed to appeal to a group called “food avoiders,” in a 2014 Packaged Facts report. 

REAL eggs supply upwards of twenty functional properties that can help simplify labels, a true benefit to the formulator appealing to the free-from market. In addition, REAL eggs, in the shell, are a GMO-free food. 

American Egg Board recently made available a white paper that presents the scientific facts proving real eggs in the shell are not a genetically modified (GM) food. In fact, neither chickens nor eggs are genetically modified. This would include the shell eggs used as the basis for further processed eggs used as ingredients in food manufacturing. 

While the large majority of corn and soybean crops grown in the United States are genetically modified, and these are primary constituents of most animal feeds, none of the proteins related to genetic materials pass through the hen to the egg due to the hen’s digestive process. Multiple scientific studies prove this fact. Furthermore, they show there is no nutritional difference for the hen population caused by eating GM-feed. 

What eggs are not free from is nutrition. The beneficial nutritional properties of eggs and egg ingredients are well documented, supplying quality protein, vitamin D, and other vitamins and minerals.

Find the citations and a downloadable version of the "REAL Eggs..." white paper here

2014-10-13 13:15:38
 

Mintel Breakfast and Potato Trends Study: August 2014 Analysis

According to the latest data from Mintel Oxygen Consumer Insights, consumers continue to look for shortcuts when it comes to healthy, satisfying breakfasts. With hectic schedules gobbling up time, 63 percent say they feel low on energy in the morning but only 48 percent eat breakfast every day. This amplifies the need for speed, convenience and portability. 

While only 22 percent of respondents eat frozen entrees for breakfast, more than half of the consumers surveyed, or 53 percent, said they would like to see more frozen/refrigerated breakfast entrees in the grocery store. It appears the desire to see more frozen/refrigerated breakfast options is higher than purchase of current retail selections.

This dovetails with another question that revealed 50 percent of consumers believe there are more breakfast options in restaurants than in grocery stores. However 52 percent of consumers are trying to save money by cutting back on the number of times they eat out for breakfast. 

“A summary of those survey results highlights great opportunities for food formulators and manufacturers. Consumers appear to be saying they are inclined to purchase breakfast more often from retail operations in order to save money. What they want is a better selection of flavorful, innovative frozen and refrigerated breakfast options. This is something manufacturers can provide with the right ingredients as the basis for flavor functionality and consumer appeal — ingredients like REAL eggs.”

Mintel analysts said the market holds room for more vending concepts that allow commuters to grab an affordable breakfast while on the go. Due to hectic schedules, consumers are more likely to eat convenient breakfast foods on weekdays, specifically microwaveable, portable options such as bowls or handheld sandwiches and wraps.

This doesn’t impact breakfast sales alone. While the majority of breakfast handheld products are consumed for the morning meal, 46 percent of consumers eat them for lunch, 30 percent for dinner and at least 20 percent as a snack. This illustrates a recent foodservice trend of burring dayparts. The Mintel analysts said due to the fact that consumers are eating breakfast handheld foods throughout the day, “keeping the focus on the high protein content and feeling full could help to drive consumption during non-breakfast periods,” according to the report. 

“REAL eggs offer formulators a filling, nutritious breakfast protein choice,” says Elisa Maloberti, director of egg product marketing. “Consumers are already familiar with eggs, in fact, 94 percent of them have eggs at home. Multiple studies confirm the fact that egg protein is filling and helps with satiation. Finally, further processed egg ingredients are available in premade patties so food manufacturers can easily pair them with spices and sauces, whole grain breads and other flavorful accompaniments to create innovative bowls or handhelds in the retail case.” 

We take the pulse of breakfast trends around the country and give you updates once per quarter. Click on http://www.aeb.org/food-manufacturers/incredible-breakfast-trends for the latest news. 

2014-09-29 09:21:53
 

A.M. Attitudes: Breakfast Trend Influencers

The new rule for breakfast is to expect the unexpected as day parts blur and customization reigns. This spurs breakfast on to new heights as it charts vigorous growth compared to other day parts. As one example, representative of industry success with handheld breakfast fare, Starbucks stated during a recent call with financial analysts that its new breakfast sandwiches delivered 40% growth in the third quarter. Two of its four sandwich introductions feature eggs.

We continue to examine societal and market trends influencing the breakfast sector, due to their impact not only on foodservice but also on food manufacturing as everyone scrambles to capture their share of the business. The latest trends we’re tracking:

Millennials: Taking over

The Millennial generation is slowly pushing its way to dominance as the most important consumer group influencing food marketers. Eighty million strong, Millennials differ from previous generations in their attitudes about food:

  • Whole foods are preferred over processed foods
  • 80 percent want to know more about how their food is grown
  • Food is seen as an opportunity for exploration
  • Customizing food options is seen as a need, not a luxury
  • Value is very important to them, yet it includes factors beyond cost


Daypart blurring proteins

The Millennials’ habit of eating whatever/whenever they want is eroding daypart boundaries. One current trend is to mix up proteins and introduce pulled pork, prosciutto or even lobster alongside eggs in the breakfast segment. Yet at the same time, eggs are migrating beyond traditional breakfast offerings onto burgers, sandwiches and even pizzas, which are suitable for serving any time of day.

Another winning equation for anytime dining is the breakfast sandwich. Its easy to follow pattern—egg, cheese, secondary protein option and bread—leaves plenty of room for creativity with unexpected ingredients or popular sauces like Sriracha. The blending of favorite breakfast and traditional lunch/dinner foods creates new and exciting meals, and is well suited to today’s lifestyles.

Creativity makes economic sense

A huge factor in consumers’ choice of restaurants is the ability to customize their food. According to Mintel, this is true for more than 80 percent of all consumers, and 85 percent of Millennials. That feeling of control comes with a certain satisfaction and makes consumers less price sensitive.  Getting creative with options for customizing breakfast gives consumers the choices they crave and avoids taste fatigue.

Eggs’ versatility makes them the ideal ingredient to pair up with other proteins, trendy sauces or even exotic spices. This meets the demand for blurred daypart meals and appeal to the Millennials’ desire for customization. According to Elisa Maloberti, director of egg product marketing, “This versatility isn’t limited to the foodservice sector. Eggs allow for unlimited creativity in freezer case handheld sandwiches, convenient breakfast bowls and other creative approaches to quick yet nutritious breakfast offerings with broad market appeal.”

2014-09-16 00:33:21
 

Protein's Sunny Side

Protein is grabbing headlines on packages from every corner of the supermarket and is spotlighted on restaurant menus. Multiple studies confirm consumers are sold on protein-fortified foods and the benefits protein supplies to a healthy diet.

However, formulators are left with the puzzle of fitting extra protein into foods that still need to achieve target goals for structure, taste, appearance and texture. The “sunny side” of egg protein is that it supplies both nutritional and functional benefits for food formulators.

Eggs contain the highest-quality protein against which all other proteins are measured. Equally important, egg ingredients supply critical functional properties, an agreeable flavor profile and also enjoy a high degree of familiarity and acceptance among consumers.

Egg ingredients can supply more than 20 functional benefits to food applications, among them foaming and aeration, coagulation, gelation and shelf life extension. The protein component bears responsibility for many of these functional attributes.                

REAL eggs might possess one of the best reputations among proteins as well, when it comes to consumer sentiment. A recent NPD study* indicates 78 percent of consumers agree with the statement that protein contributes to a healthy diet. Within the protein category, one of the top three consumer picks is the egg. When asked which protein they are consuming more today than in the past, 55 percent of respondents said they are eating more eggs.

This increased egg consumption bodes well for food formulators’ use of eggs when it comes to label concerns. A consumer increasing at-home consumption of eggs will be comfortable with eggs on a product label.

As a final note, the protein contained in REAL eggs is easily digestible and readily available. This helps create nutritious foods consumers will find filling, tasty and satisfying. In future blog posts, we’ll dive a bit deeper into the functional aspects of proteins found in both egg white ingredients and the egg yolk, but for now, rest assured egg protein helps achieve your target product goals for fortification, flavor, functionality and familiarity. 

 

*“Protein Perception and Needs,” The NPD Group, 2014.

2014-09-01 15:37:00
 

Relax: Eggs Meet that Market Niche

Culturally, America’s eating habits are changing. It's a constantly shifting landscape for food manufacturers when seemingly every age group, gender or subsection of the population is shopping and dining according to its own unique set of rules.

We are snacking more often, grabbing food on the fly and frequently dining alone. When we dine together, family members might opt for separate meals selected according to individual lifestyles such as vegan, gluten-free or paleo, according to a Hartman Group study, “Modern Eating: Cultural Roots, Daily Behaviors.”

In what the Hartman Group has coined the Roadside Pantry Effect, consumers compose meals with individual elements rather than cooking meals the traditional way, combining perhaps one take-out item with a fresh vegetable or fruit alongside a frozen side dish or entrée. The fact the meals are combined is key, because on all eating occasions the group analysis shows, 77% involve some sort of prepared food.

In these situations a food manufacturer’s best bet is a multi-functional, cross-generational ingredient that happens to comfortably fill almost any type of niche dining listed. Eggs help create a better texture and better tasting gluten-free foods, enabling formulators to overcome the difficulties created when wheat gluten is removed from breads, cookies, muffins and other baking goods. As a highly bioavailable protein, egg ingredients are one of the more important components of a paleo diet. And many vegetarians will accept eggs as or within a meal component.

Egg ingredients can star as the main attraction, such as preformed egg patties designed for grab-and-go breakfast sandwiches or stay in the background, performing one or more of their twenty-plus functional attributes.  From mainstream to market niche, egg ingredients contribute timeless functionality that helps your products move with the times and remain in tune with cultural shifts.

2014-08-18 17:09:15
 

Time for Some Egg-ucation

The National Egg Products School (NEPS) is a three-day, hands-on course for food formulators that explores the incredibly functional egg and its role in food product development.  NEPS is only held every other year, hosted by Auburn University in Auburn Alabama with the next event scheduled September 15 to 17, 2014.

The course brings together the brightest minds dedicated to poultry science and egg functionality from major universities such as Purdue, Texas A&M, and North Carolina State University. It is designed to give participants—food formulators, chefs and egg industry professionals—a thorough introduction to eggs and egg products from their initial formation through the packaging of liquid and dried egg products for industrial use. This “farm to fork” review includes side excursions into molecular structure, safety, microbiology and the latest research on egg nutrition.

Alongside the educational lectures and presentations, the program incorporates four laboratory sessions in the Auburn University applications lab/kitchen where participants use a variety of egg ingredients to create angel food cake, ice cream, mayonnaise and custard. The intent is to demonstrate the functional characteristics egg ingredients supply to these applications, investigate the scientific principles behind the functionality, and then taste the results.

Participants can apply for continuing education credits awarded by Auburn University to organization such as the Institute of Food Technologists (IFT) and Research Chefs Association (RCA).

American Egg Board consultant Chef Walter Zuromski, CEC, CCE, Chef Services Group, Boston, MA, and founding member of RCA, is one of the presenters for this year’s program. Zuromski will conduct demonstrations including product tasting, to highlight the culinary side of egg ingredients, focusing on desired functionality coupled with sensory needs, including taste. “Because at the end of the day, its all about food,” he says. 

Zuromski participated in NEPS as a student and said he believes it made him a better chef. “I’d like to see more chefs participate in this school,” says Zuromski. “Pastry chefs of course, but any chef can benefit because eggs fit into every daypart of the menu.”

In addition to providing instructors and program materials, American Egg Board is a major sponsor of the school. Real foods such as eggs not only nourish the body, scientific and practical evidence over the course of decades prove its worth as principal ingredients in multiple applications. They can provide functional benefits like aeration, binding, humectancy and emulsification. Real egg ingredients create better products in appearance, texture and taste. This school will help participants see the value egg ingredients contribute to formulations. For more information click on  http://www.ag.auburn.edu/poul/neps/.

2014-08-18 15:05:45
 

Don't Abandon "Natural" Too Quickly

Who ever could have imagined the word “natural” could provoke such controversy? A flurry of lawsuits caused many companies to back away from use of the word on product labels. However, the quest for natural hasn’t ceased. In fact, it’s gathering momentum. Research shows consumers want natural, clean label ingredients in their foods and beverages while at the same time demanding authenticity from food manufacturers. 
A national survey released by Consumer Reports in June reveals consumers want natural labels but have a certain level of expectations from the manufacturers in return. A total of 59% of consumers check to see if the products they are buying are “natural.” Among the findings 87% of consumers believe a food with a natural label should not include artificial ingredients. 
 
Fortunately, manufacturers can turn to natural ingredients like REAL eggs. Eggs supply valuable, beneficial functional and nutritional qualities appreciated by formulators and consumers alike.  Eggs are simply listed as “eggs” on the label – a clear choice for manufacturers that want to create clean, natural products. 
 
The ingredients listed on the nutrition deck in the back can boldly declare your product intentions. Discover the benefits REAL eggs can provide for your formulation. 
2014-08-04 13:24:32