Making Bakery Trendy Again

Whether taken from the perspective of consumer packaged goods, in-store produced bakery items, or independent bakery operations, the marketplace has not been overly kind to bakery performance recently. From low-carb diets to concerns on a lack of nutrients to simply being perceived as a sleepy category, bakery goods have underperformed.

IRI data indicates 2018 was yet another lackluster year for the category, noting dollar sales only increasing 0.6% and unit sales falling 1.6%. Can bakery products leverage the attributes currently driving consumer interest in other categories such as healthy snacks?

The answer is yes if producers address healthier ingredients delivering better nutrition without sacrificing taste and performance. In fact, higher fiber, protein and nutrient density can be achieved by using innovative flours such as the new roasted garbanzo bean flour Firebird debuted at the 2019 IFT conference.

“We knew our bakery-oriented customers could benefit from a new gluten-free flour with a consistent, precise and small particle size as well as better fiber and protein compared to traditional flours,” said Mike Hallman, VP of sales. “Similar to a fine wheat flour, roasted garbanzo bean flour has neutral taste and odor and superior dough performance compared to early gluten-free flours such as rice.”

Since protein and pulse-based flour contain very similar physical attributes, they can naturally add more protein to products without negatively affecting texture or creating viscosity issues. Sensory, taste and texture can remain a product performance focus without the quality risks inherent when using protein concentrates on the market. Digestibility of garbanzo beans products, often called chickpeas, are considered high and the pulses’ amino acid score of .90 is considered good for a plant-protein. Garbanzo bean flour is non-GMO and does not contain any top-eight allergens. It can be sourced from conventional or organic production.

Garbanzos are also gaining attention due to their sustainable sourcing where some originators have already shown a conscious awareness of the environmental impact of the crop, creating a potentially compelling story for the product brand and for the customer. Chickpeas nitrogen fix through their root system; replenish soil carbon by pulling in carbon dioxide, and typically have a lower need for pesticides and herbicides compared to other monoculture crops.

“We were able to test the Firebird roasted garbanzo bean flour as a one-for-one replacement for organic whole wheat flour in our chocolate chip cookie. It performed incredibly well with no difference in taste or changes in the production process,” said Jon Umsted, president of Yummylicious Cookie Company. “Typically, gluten-free formulations have required binding agents, which we have to be careful about sourcing with our focus on natural, high-quality ingredients, and this flour didn’t require those.”

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