by SNACK FOOD & WHOLESALE BAKERY
Eating more meals at home, consumers are scrutinizing ingredients labels, and favoring all-natural sweeteners for food prep items like marinades, sauces and bake mixes.
International Molasses (IM), a supplier of molasses and natural sweeteners, is seeing ties between the COVID-caused stay-at-home lifestyle and an uptick in sales for its CaneRite portfolio of sugar cane molasses. An increase in liquid molasses sales for a variety of marinades and condiments like BBQ, Worcester and other popular sauces, as well as more dry molasses sold for domestic- centric foods like bake mixes, showcases not only the food products Americans are choosing while remaining home but also their selection process within those niches.
“For obvious reasons, consumers are eating more meals at home, so eating healthy means paying particular attention to the ingredients labels of grocery items,” said Amy Targan, president of International Molasses and its sister company, Malt Products Corp. “The sales gains we’re seeing aren’t in the restaurant sector—of course they aren’t considering the pandemic, but rather in direct-to-consumer food products sold at grocery stores.”
International Molasses has seen enough of a sales spike that, according to Targan, a clear conclusion can be drawn. “There’s a housebound health-consciousness trend, a sort of limitation- driven discernment that favors all-natural products. Consumers who might otherwise grab a healthy breakfast or lunchr—on-the-go health food like smoothies, salads and grain bowlsr—are instead eating healthier at home.”
The company’s CaneRite portfolio of sugar cane molasses brings a variety of benefits. For starters, it combines a wide-ranging, light-to-dark flavor profile with reassuring label-friendliness, eliminating the need for overly processed sugars like high-fructose corn syrup or other “red flag” ingredients like artificial sweeteners. Molasses also is rich in antioxidants, and is available in non-GMP certified and organic varieties.
Molasses also is formulation-friendly, serving food manufacturers not only as a subtle sweetener but a natural colorant, humectant, and shelf-life extender. It is also highly customizable, allowing food formulators to go as light or as dark as they desire.
For example, on the lighter side, IM’s l Golden Trim Molasses complements or even replaces honey flavorr—all while providing distinctive notes that mask off notes commonly found in plant- based proteins, such as those found in granola or energy bars. Meanwhile, darker molasses blends add a not-too-sweet appeal to a wide variety of items including beans and soups, both meat and vegan jerky, and brown sugars.