Innovative ways of incorporating new flavors could include a flavor-enhanced pie crust for cheesecake.

CHICAGO — Sweet, savory, spicy, sour … anything goes in baked foods as consumers crave adventure for their palates. Yet consumers don't just want bold flavors — they want exciting flavor profiles paired with a clean label.

“Across all categories of food products, more and more labels now claim that the product contains no artificial colors, flavors or preservatives,” said Anton Angelich, group vice-president of Virginia Dare. “Product developers now routinely — almost without exception — ask their suppliers for natural or organic-compliant flavors.”

To make natural flavors more relevant to baked foods, ingredient suppliers are expanding their lines with adventurous taste profiles and economic solutions. Although the toolbox of raw materials may be limited when it comes to developing natural flavors, this has not stopped flavorists from innovation. 

Exciting flavors that are naturally sourced and create an eating experience add value to baked goods.

Adding ethnic flavors such as Kashmiri spice to classic baked goods such as carrot cake can bring new levels of excitement.

“These flavors can be used in tortillas, crackers, pretzels and other baked snacks,” said Megan Trent, marketing, Gold Coast Ingredients. “On the sweet side, we have newly developed coffee-banana, cinnamon dulce de leche, honey bourbon, turmeric-mango-habanero, spiced fig and baklava flavors.”

Coffee muffin
Bakers may capitalize on the cold-brew coffee trend by incorporating a cold-brew coffee extract into baked goods, such as muffins.