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The number of food and drink products launched in the UK with a mention of Halloween rocketed by 263% between 2009 and 2013 according to Mintel. In 2013, 43% of Brits bought products or services connected with Halloween, with young consumers the most enthusiastic purchasers. Two thirds of 16-24 year olds bought Halloween related products/services and 55% of those aged 25-34 and 9% of people bought special food or drink to have at home (Mintel 2014).
Jacqui Passmore, Marketing Manager Dawn Foods UK and Ireland, looks at how high street bakers can capitalise on the Halloween opportunity by getting creative with their recipes or simply including new additions such as decorations to ‘seasonalise’ their products and drive increased sales.
“Halloween is big news in the USA with adults and children alike taking part in the holiday season phenomenon. In recent years, as Mintel points out, we can see the influence in UK bakery aisles with Halloween a prominent theme in branded cakes. Recent additions include flavours such as toffee and apple, orange and blood orange, lemon and (s)lime and gingerbread as icings in garish colours. The trend is to play with colour/flavour perceptions such as ‘orange flavoured green sponge’ and to offer cakes in different format such as minis, which are ideal for trick or treating or sharing at Halloween parties.
“Textures are driving innovation too with layering and inclusions, goo-ey centres and fillings all to create a mouth explosion. This focus on texture has also been predicted by Dawn’s Food Futurologist Dr Morgaine Gaye who says that it is now ‘texture’s turn to step into the limelight’. ‘Popping, fizzing and oozing, juxtaposed with soft creamy or chewy will create complex moments. Multiple mouth feel textures will add creativity, dimensions and essentially a new life to unknown products”, she says. Just the thing for Halloween!
“Halloween provides a great opportunity for high street operators to get creative and offer their customers a range of fun and scarily scrumptious sweet baked treats to help drive sales. With Halloween now the third biggest retail event behind Christmas and Easter there are lots of opportunities for bakers to theme products, create limited edition offerings and holiday promotions for example, without having to buy in lots of different ingredients or bake from scratch.
Creepy Colours and Frightening Flavours
“With spooky special treats, operators can maximise sales of cupcakes, doughnuts, cake pops and cookies.
“From seasonal colours to on-trend flavours, there are a number of ways that bakers can add wow-factor to their products. Add orange, green or black food colouring to Dawn’s Vanilla Frosting for terrifying cupcake treats perfect for Halloween. When it comes to flavour, orange, pumpkin and chocolate are in demand at Halloween. Dawn’s Scoop and Bake range of frozen batters and doughs is available in a Milk Chocolate and Orange flavour and can be used to make cake pops by baking the mixture in silicone moulds. Once cooled, try coating with white icing to get the perfect ghoulish cake pop for the ultimate American-inspired Halloween treat.
“For the ultimate in garish cakes, ideal for Halloween, Dawn’s natural colour source vegetarian Red Velvet Crème Cake Base is easy to use with just the addition of egg, oil and water. It gives a a deep dark red coloured sponge with a soft, moist eating texture and a well-rounded vanilla flavour. Teamed with Dawn’s Cream Cheese or Vanilla frostings, bakers can create a classic American Red Velvet Layer cake. Try this blood-red velvet cake with contrasting white fudge icing and streaked with fake blood icing for Halloween!
Fiendish Finishing Touches
“Customers buy with their eyes of course and a simple cupcake can be given a Halloween twist with the addition of themed decorations. Dawn’s Dobla-branded Halloween chocolate decorations feature spiders’ webs, skulls, orange pumpkins and white ghosts - ideal for adding a fun and frightening addition to baked goods.
“The sweet treat market is getting ever more creative when it comes to personalising products too. Operators can use Dawn’s range of icings to pipe designs, gothic writing or characters onto finished products in order to personalise them. Great for Halloween parties.
Grown up Halloween
Halloween isn’t just for the kids either. Pumpkin is popular as a ‘grown up’ Halloween flavour across several food and beverage categories - from Spiced Pumpkin Yogurts, Pumpkin Cheesecake Ice cream to Pumpkin Lattes, muffins and even cookies.
Try this recipe for Classic Carrot Cake which makes an eye catching Halloween Cake with adult-appeal. Take a tip from US bakeries and coffee shops too and go to town with Halloween decorations to theme the display. This carrot cakes looks good displayed on a glass cake stand surrounded by squashes and pumpkins, to give an attractive autumnal feel.
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