The global “Healthy Snack” market is valued at $85.6 billion this year and is expected to grow at almost 7 percent annually to break the $100 billion mark by the end of this decade (Grand View Research). For entrepreneurs looking to create a healthy snack or dessert brand, the “Better-for-You” bakery revolution indicates that now is the perfect time to do so.
For healthy snacking, products like protein bars and low-sugar cookies are always going to have huge followings, but in 2023, two trendy dessert styles with ‘better-for-you’ slants are expected to take off like never before: cake squares and brownies.
Here’s a run-down of our top picks for takes on these delectable desserts:
Vegan or Plant-Based Brownies & Cake Squares
Brownies and cake squares made with vegan and plant-based ingredients are all the rage right now. By using avocado oil or coconut oil in place of butter, you can create a delicious and healthy vegan brownie or cake square that is perfect for those on a plant-based diet. You can also add in some health-boosting ingredients like adaptogens or nootropics to give your treats even more benefits. Furthermore, a plant-based sweetener like allulose is an excellent addition to your dessert squares as it is low-calorie, making the snacks as healthy as can be.
Gluten-free Brownies & Cake Squares
Gluten-free diets are becoming increasingly popular, so it’s no surprise that gluten-free brownies and cake squares are in high demand. There are a few different ways to create gluten-free dessert squares, but the most popular method is to use almond flour or coconut flour instead of traditional wheat flour. You can also add some anti-inflammatory ingredients like turmeric or ginger. These ingredients will provide comfort to your gluten-free customers due to their soothing qualities.
Keto Brownies & Cake Squares
Keto and low-carb diets are all about limiting your intake of sugar and carbs, so having keto and low-carb brownies made with alternative sweeteners like stevia or monk fruit extract will be a great addition to your brand. You can also use almond or coconut flour to make your brownies low-carb. Moreover, adding healthy fats like coconut oil or avocado oil will help keep consumers satisfied after eating a keto or low-carb brownie or cake square.
Paleo Brownies & Cake Squares
Paleo brownies and cake squares are made with ingredients that would have been available to our ancestors, so they are free of any processed sugars or flour. Instead, paleo brownies are made with honey or dates for sweetness and almond flour or coconut flour for the base. You can also add some health-boosting ingredients like chia seeds or hemp hearts to make your paleo brownies healthier. Additionally, you should consider mushrooms such as cordyceps or chaga, which can be a great source of antioxidants and have several health-boosting medicinal properties such as improving your immunity.
Popular Flavors of Healthy Brownies & Cake Squares
In addition to providing your customers with a variety of healthy brownie and cake square options to fit their health needs and dietary preferences, you should also have a range of flavors for them to choose from. Whether you wish to offer brownies that are gooey, fudgy, or filled with chocolate chunks or have centers of decadent caramel or smooth peanut butter, a brownie co-manufacturer can help you come up with the right formulations for your brownies that give them the texture and taste you are looking for while still incorporating all the ingredients you desire.
When it comes to cake squares, doing market research into the currently trending cake flavors or most sold cake flavors might help expand your product line. The right brownie co-packer can help you come up with recipes for any flavor of cake square you think of, from red velvet to lemon or confetti, leaving you to focus on branding, design, and promotion of your healthy desserts.
Why the huge interest in healthy brownies and cake squares? Well - first off - more and more consumers are becoming proactive about their health and well-being, often looking for products that fit their lifestyles. Whether it is for improving general health or managing specific conditions, people are increasingly seeking ways to improve their living standards through better health and wellness. With so many consumers with the same goals, desires, and needs, there has been an increasing demand for healthy food products that satisfy their restrictions and, more importantly, taste good. For example, many people who follow a gluten-free diet do so to reduce gastrointestinal symptoms like bloating. Similarly, 12% of Americans are lactose intolerant but still wish to enjoy foods like ice cream, pizza, and yogurt. Moreover, an increasing number of Americans are keeping up with top diets like low-carb, paleo, and keto or practicing veganism or plant-based diets. As consumers place importance on ingredients and knowing what goes in their bodies, businesses have had to rise and adapt to meet their demands, creating food products that qualify for keto or paleo diets or are dairy, gluten, or animal-free.
Cargill conducted a survey in 2021 called ChocoLogic™ to gauge consumers’ inclinations, motivations, and perspectives relating to chocolate by itself and when mixed into other food items like bakery products. Cargill received responses from more than 600 primary grocery shoppers in the US and chocolate flavors were the top choice for most of these consumers. Eight out of 10 shoppers choose chocolate-flavored bakery snacks such as brownies at least half the time they make a selection.
With chocolate’s popularity, now is the time to create healthy chocolate-based desserts like brownies. Brownies and cake squares are the perfect choice for those starting. These products are easy to create with the help of a brownie co-manufacturer or a brownie co-packer. You have plenty of options for flavors and can create an entire lineup of brownies and cake squares tailored to a variety of dietary needs and diets. Now that you know more about the business of healthy chocolate desserts, it’s time to get started on your lineup. Keep in mind all the different flavors and dietary needs you can cater to, and find a brownie co-manufacturer or brownie co-packer who can help you with production. There has never been a better time to get into this delicious and health-conscious market, so what are you waiting for? Contact us to get started!