A Jewel Topped Christmas Pudding, Brown Butter & Spiced Dark Rum Mince Pies, and a Chocolate & Orange Panettone are among the stand-out bakery items in Asda’s Christmas range this year.

But where did the inspiration for them come from? What trends are they tapping into? And how do they meet consumer needs for fabulous festive fare in 2023?

Asda vice president for own brand, Sam Dickson and senior director of innovation and trends, Jonathan Moore

Source: Asda

Asda vice president for own brand, Sam Dickson and senior director of innovation and trends, Jonathan Moore

“This year’s Christmas range at Asda truly has something for everyone, with a wide breadth of flavour profiles to suit every palette,” explains Jonathan Moore, senior director of food innovation and trends at Asda.

One highlight is Asda’s signature flavour – brown butter & spiced dark rum. This warming flavour is available in abundance across Asda’s festive NPD, appearing in the likes of the aforementioned mince pies, stollen, shortbread, and even vol au vents, as well as fudge, gammon, and turkey.

“This has come from extensive trend tracking and hunting to ensure that we are delivering newness and innovation to our customers,” adds Moore.

“We noticed an abundance of brown butter being used globally by top pastry chefs, accompanied by the growth in the use of dark rum by mixologists across the globe, and this instantly recognisable flavour of warming spices was the perfect pairing for brown butter.”

Brown butter is created by cooking the butter slightly past its melting point, just long enough to toast the milk solids to release a delicious nutty flavour profile.

Spiced rum, meanwhile, is set to be the next ‘it’ spirit following on from the gin craze which has been dominating the market over the past few years.

Asda Brown Butter & Spiced Dark Rum Stollen Wreath

Source: Asda

One example of this flavour’s use is the Brown Butter & Spiced Dark Rum Stollen which is described as having a beautifully balanced mix of peel, cherries, and marzipan, which have been soaked in the warming spirit. The stollen has been hand dipped twice – once in a spiced rum mix and then in butter. The whole thing is then hand finished with dark roasted almonds and a sweet dusting.

The warming and spiced notes hit by the signature flavour are replicated in others parts of the range, with the likes of Chocolate & Cherry Mince Pies and an Amaretto & Cherry Cheesecake also delivering on these for consumers.

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Asda has also sought to inject some ‘wow’ into its range, as it offers alternative centrepieces and sweet options designed to surprise and delight.

“A trend that is going from strength to strength is the ‘showstopper’ dessert,” adds Moore, “providing guests with an immersive experience at the dining table to bring the wow-factor after dinner.”

A Chocolate & Honeycomb Avalanche Dessert with chocolate and hazelnuts cascading down

Source: Asda

The Extra Special Chocolate & Honeycomb Avalanche Dessert as one example of this. The salted caramel semi freddo is finished with hand-placed honeycomb pieces and shoppers are encouraged to remove the collar at the table to allow the milk chocolate sauce to cascade down the dessert.

Quality and provenance have also been at the heart of Asda’s decision making when it comes to its Christmas range.

“This year, our incredible colleagues have been busy innovating, sourcing and creating a host of quality-led Christmas products, delivering our most impressive and extensive range to date,” says Sam Dickson, vice president own brand at Asda. “Each product has its own quality credentials, with some incredible provenance stories to back up the amazing taste.”

One example of this from the bakery line-up is the Chocolate & Orange Panettone. It’s produced by a second-generation, family-run bakery in the Piedmont region of Italy with an all-butter recipe and mother dough that has been nurtured since 1964. The Italian sweet bread is made with Belgian milk chocolate chunks, candied orange peel, and butter, and is injected with orange sauce before being topped with dark chocolate and chocolate flakes.