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Bread & Grain Trends

Insights, Innovation and Market News


Heirloom Wheat Seeds Are The Holy Grail For This Illinois Baker

An Illinois entrepreneur intrigued by the heirloom grains once commonly grown in the U.S. but long disappeared, decided to open a bakery that would make the breads she craved. Five years ago Ellen King opened Hewn Bakery in Evanston. She partnered with a local farmer and with a Washington State scientist and wheat breeder. King was advised to research old wheat varieties – there were 10,000 in 1900 – such as Rouge de Bordeaux, Turkey Red, and Marquis. Numerous queries found a college professor with 2.2 pounds of Marquis wheat seeds. King planted them to produce 30 pounds the first year. They hope eventually to have 3,000 seeds, which would yield enough to make bread and save seeds.[Image Credit: © Hewn]


Non-profit Atlanta Bakery Gives Refugees A Helping Hand – And Baking Skills

A start-up Atlanta bakery is getting a reputation not only for the treats it produces daily, but also for the atmosphere of good cheer and camaraderie. Just Bakery is unique for another reason: it is a non-profit operation housed in a Presbyterian church, and its seven workers are all refugees from other countries – Congo, Bhutan, Central African Republican – who fled their homelands to escape violence. They were selected from a pool developed by the International Refugee Committee. They produce bagels, cinnamon rolls, cookies, rye pretzels sprinkled with Gruyere, breakfast tarts and loaves of multigrain and sourdough bread. The motto of Just Bakery? "Eat well, do good, change lives.”[Image Credit: © Just Bakery of Atlanta]

Bakery Shifts Focus From Healthy Snacks To Low-Carb Bread

Taking advantage of the growing low-carb and ketogenic lifestyles trend, the Stone Bank Baking Co. has shifted emphasis from healthy snacks to low-carbohydrate bread. The company produces SoLo Carb Bread, sold on Amazon.com and in Midwest retail locations such as Piggly Wiggly, Sentry Foods, Woodman’s, and Sendik's stores. In August, the company started selling the bread on its own website Sales were slow at first, but have grown every day.[Image Credit: © Stone Bank Baking Co]

Kruseaz Adds Flapjack Mix That Is High In Protein, Fiber

Baking mix maker Krusteaz as launched a Buttermilk Protein Flapjack & Waffle Mix that provides 15 grams of protein per serving and four grams of fiber. The mix is made from 100 percent whole grain flour and contains no artificial flavors, colors or preservatives. The Krusteaz product line includes pancakes, waffles, muffins, quick breads and flatbreads, cookies, dessert bars, cornbread, crumb cakes and a line of gluten-free products. Krusteaz is a brand of Continental Mills, Inc., is a privately held manufacturer located in Tukwila, Wash.[Image Credit: © Continental Mills, Inc.]

Hershey’s Expands Into Healthful Cheese Puffs Snack Segment

Like other big food companies, Pennsylvania-based candy and snack company Hershey’s is investing heavily in healthful foods. It recently announced the $420 million acquisition of Pirate Brands, maker of Pirate's Booty, Smart Puffs, and Original Tings. Pirates snacks will help Hershey’s break into the more than $2.5 billion cheese puffs category.  In 2017 the company purchased Amplify Snack Brands and its SkinnyPop popcorn and Oatmega whey-protein bars, for $1.6 billion. Other companies investing in healthful snacks and foods include ConAgra (Pinnacle Foods) and PepsiCo (SodaStream and Bare Snacks). In 2014, General Mills bought Annie's, which makes organic pasta and snacks, for $820 million in 2014 and Campbell Soup acquired Bolthouse Farms in 2012, thought the company said it plans to sell the Campbell Fresh line, which includes Bolthouse. [Image Credit: © The Hershey Company]

Bakery Draws Inspiration From 1950s-Style Snack Cakes, But That’s All

California bakery Cake Monkey hopes to please all age groups and generations with its upscale, all-natural takes on the cream-filled snack cakes of past decades. But its creations – e.g., Moguls inspired by Hostess Sno Balls and foil-wrapped Black & White Cakewich modeled after Ding Dongs – are most likely to push the nostalgia buttons of Baby Boomers who grew up in the latter half of the 20th century. The lineup isn’t just inspired by the Hostess product line. Other Cake Monkey creations give a nod to Little Debbie's Swiss Rolls and Drake's brand Ring Dings, Yankee Doodles, and Devil Dogs. But inspiration is where the imitation ends. Cake Monkey never uses candy coating chocolate or shortening in its products. “You can really taste the difference in our buttercream frosting."[Image Credit: © cake monkey bakery]

Bakery Thrives On All Gluten-Free Menu

The founder of a Wisconsin gluten-free bake shop called The Naked Baker – the name has nothing to do with wardrobe and everything to do with excluded ingredients like corn syrup, GMOs, and artificial anything – started her business as a traditional bakery. She switched when demand for gluten-free became too heavy to ignore. She developed and tested a special flour blend and recipe – “I have a little ratio I keep in my head” – that uses less sugar. When the gluten-free creations started outselling her other items, Sue Knutson decided to focus entirely on gluten-free baked goods, including chocolate chip cookies, brownies, birthday cakes, etc. But whether traditional or gluten-free, she relies on her husband and four teenage sons – none of whom have any gluten-related allergy – to ensure that the quality is high. [Image Credit: © The Naked Baker, LLC.]

Resorts, Hotels Adjust To The Evolving Era Of Legalized Pot

As legalization of cannabis-based foods and beverages for functional and recreational use spreads gradually across the U.S., hotels and resorts have geared up to offer cannabis-based menu items and wellness treatments. The Hollywood Roosevelt hotel, for example, serves a mojito ($18) infused with cannabidiol (CBD), a nonintoxicating cannabis compound whose relaxation effect is “even more profound” than a traditional mojito. The Spa Solage resort in Napa Valley offers a massage, facial and body scrub ($160 to $420), all of which feature CBD oil, a purported anti-inflammatory agent that is supposed to help with insomnia, pain relief, anxiety, and eczema. Lastly, The Thompson Seattle hotel sponsored two dinners where different strains of marijuana (this time with psychoactive THC) were paired with beets with herring, scallops with apples and anise, and veal cheeks with cauliflower and pecans.[Image Credit: © maroonedonisland from Pixabay]

Florida Bakers Offer Their Take On Desserts Trending On Social Media

Florida food writer Savannah Vasquez discovered that some mouth-watering dessert innovations posted on social media were actually available in locations across the northwest part of the state. Among the treats she happened upon – and food in several bakeries – were two-layered tart cakes, re-imagined by an Israeli chef and now trending on Pinterest and Instagram. Often shown in the shape of numbers or letters, they can feature “extravagant” toppings like edible flowers, macaron cookies, and fresh fruit. Also having their 15 minutes of fame on social media are: edible cookie dough, custom donuts, and Japanese crepes.[Image Credit: © [Image Credit: © Steve Buissinne @ Pixabay.com]]

Inventor’s “Twist & Grip” Bag Preserves Bread’s Flavor, Freshness Longer

InventHelp says it has helped an Atlanta, Ga.-based inventor develop a bread bag that seals more effectively, preserving the freshness, flavor and shelf life of the loaf. The “Twist & Grip” bag allows the package to open and close easily, and also contains an easy-to-grip handle for carrying. The bag is recyclable and reusable. The invention is available for licensing or sale to manufacturers or marketers by contacting InventHelp at its Pittsburgh, Pa., headquarters.[Image Credit: © InventHelp ® All Rights Reserved]

Gluten-Free Ancient Grain From Africa Is Catching On In New York City

A Senegalese chef who last year began exporting a gluten-free ancient grain from the impoverished Sahel region of Africa plans to double production over the next five years to meet demand from New York City foodies. Fonio – known as “the lazy farmers’ crop” because it is easy to grow and requires little water – is now on the menus of 60 restaurants and will soon be available at Whole Foods Market locations, according to Pierre Thiam’s start-up company Yolele Foods. The idea behind the import initiative is to help the smallholder communities of the Sahel, which ranges from Mauritania in the west to Eritrea in the east and is home to more than 100 million people.[Image Credit: © Yolélé Foods Inc.]

Starbucks Is Getting Ready To Build A New Standalone Princi Bakery In Seattle

Starbucks has filed a site plan with Seattle’s construction and inspection department for a $1.1 million, 40-seat second standalone Princi bakery. A 231-square-foot outdoor patio would hold an additional 15 seats. Besides the first standalone bakery,  Princi operates two bakeries in the city within a Roastery and Starbucks headquarters. Standalone Princi bakeries are centered around the ovens that make fresh pastries and pizza onsite throughout the day. The menu also offers baked eggs in a spicy tomato sauce, cornetti sandwiches, focaccia sandwiches, and Italian cakes, tarts and other desserts. The new bakery would be the third standalone Princi in the U.S.[Image Credit: © Starbucks Corporation DBA Princi.]

Panera Hopes To Convince Consumers That Bread – Especially Its Bread – Is Good For You

A company with the word “bread” in its name has a ready-made problem in the era of low-carb eating: how to convince consumers that bread is not only not harmful, it’s actually good for you. Panera Bread CEO Blaine Hurst, noting that consumers need to know that bread is definitely not a problem, says his company is rolling out a whole-grain policy and a streaming television show that highlights how healthful bread can be. Panera announced it has begun labeling its bread to list whole grain content per slice, roll, or bagel, and on breads made with more than 50 percent whole grains. The company wants to make things more straightforward, both setting itself apart from the competition and educating customers. Its original series ("Food Interrupted," streaming online and on the chain's Facebook page) rarely mentions Panera, instead focusing on different types of foods. It kicks off with a grain-centric episode starring New York City chef Marcus Samuelsson.[Image Credit: © Panera Bread]

Smartphone Technology Zips Midnight Cookie Company’s Treats To The Consumer

Seattle-based Midnight Cookie Co. has several physical locations in Washington state, but it really thrives on delivering its treats to smartphone customers in the region. The company offers 13 varieties of cookies, everything from chocolate chip to s'mores, a seasonal chef's special, and vegan, that range between $1.75 and $1.95 each. It’s expensive, especially considering the delivery service charge, and a tip the person who brought you the goods. In return you get convenience, simple ingredients, and a sizable cookie. Also available for delivery are Full Tilt Ice Cream pints, Lighthouse Roasters coffee, 2 percent, chocolate, skim and whole milk, Coca-Cola products, and munchies such as Hawaiian Chips.[Image Credit: © Midnight Cookie Co. LLC]

Third Starbucks Princi Bakery Opens In Manhattan

Starbucks opened its version of the Milan-based bakery created by famed Italian baker Rocco Princi this month in New York City. The location provides consumers with a boutique bakery and café. It is the third bakery in the United States, following openings in Seattle and Chicago. The Starbucks Princi resembles Princis original Milan bakery, with natural materials, earth-colored stone, hand-blown glass and a 20-foot wall of curated ingredients to create a feast for the senses. The store is located in 40-story skyscraper in the city’s Theater District, not far from Times Square. [Image Credit: © Starbucks Corporation DBA Princi]

Big Food Adjusts The Portfolio To Lure Big Spending Millennials, Gen Z-ers

Big food makers, including J.M. Smucker, General Mills, and ConAgra Brands, are looking to shed low- or no-growth businesses and refocus toward foods that will increase revenue among high-spending Millennials and Gen Z-ers. Smucker is selling its U.S. baking unit, including Pillsbury, to boost innovation in coffee, peanut butter, and snacks that can be touted as healthful. General Mills wants to divest five percent of its portfolio to pursue growth in cereals and yogurt with less sugar, among other things. Young execs at Mondelez International and Hershey realize that they need to market to younger consumers who have no loyalty to established brands. With Millennials embracing cheaper and more convenient frozen meals, ConAgra, which in June agreed to buy Pinnacle Foods to expand in the freezer aisle with brands such as Birds Eye and the Gardein line of vegetarian products. But it is likely to jettison some Pinnacle brands that don’t fit the strategy.[Image Credit: © The J.M. Smucker Company]

Research & Insights

USDA Researchers Work To Develop More Nutritious Wheat Varieties

Scientists at the USDA Agricultural Research Service in Lincoln, Neb., are developing experimental biofortified breeding lines of winter wheat, the first step in the long process of creating a new type of nutritious wheat that farmers can grow. The goal of biofortification is to have the wheat used to make bread dough naturally contain more iron – 60 percent of the world's population doesn't get enough of this mineral in their diet– and other nutrients. The team combined low levels of the antinutrient phytate and high grain protein without reducing grain yield, while at the same time increasing levels of zinc, calcium, and manganese. More work needs to be done to get it in wheat that can be planted by farmers, but the genes can be used to develop more nutritious wheat without sacrificing yield.[Image Credit: © Manfred Richter]

After Some Genetic Manipulation, Cottonseed-Based Foods May Soon Find Their Way To Market

Now that the USDA has opened the door to farmers who want to grow a cotton plant genetically modified to make the cottonseed edible for people, consumers may soon have available a protein-packed food source that could help raise the economic prospects of cotton-growing countries beset with malnutrition. The FDA needs to approve the seeds as food for humans and animals, But once approved, high-protein cottonseed meal – what remains after the oil is removed – could be turned into flour for use in breads, tortillas, and protein bars. Roasted and salted whole cottonseed kernels can be consumed as a snack or used to make a peanut butter type of paste, Ordinary cottonseed is unfit for humans and many animals to eat because it contains a toxic chemical. But Texas scientists used so-called RNAi, or RNA interference, technology to “silence” a gene, virtually eliminating the toxic compound from the cottonseed.[Image Credit: © Jan Haerer from Pixabay.com]
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