Bakery product developers have had a busy year, as they look to create on-trend, tasty products that can outsell the competition.

Here British Baker reveals its top picks of retail bakery NPD from 2019:

Greggs – Vegan Sausage Roll

Vegan products have dominated new launches this year, but none have been as iconic as the Greggs vegan sausage roll. Launched for Veganuary 2019, it features a light and crisp puff pastry with a bespoke Quorn filling and is priced from just £1 – in line with Greggs’ traditional sausage roll.

For proof of its success, look no further than Greggs’ profits this year – which the retailer said were boosted by the vegan sausage roll – as well as the flurry of vegan sausage rolls from other suppliers that followed throughout the year.

Mr Kipling – Signature Collection

Mr Kipling went posh in 2019 as owner Premier Foods looked to boost category value and its own sales with the Signature Collection. The range comprises three products – After Dinner Mint Fancies; Chocolate, Caramel & Pecan Slices; and, Apple, Pear & Custard Crumble Tarts.

It taps the trend for indulgent, smaller treats as consumers want the very best when they choose to reward themselves with something sweet.

The move paid off with the brand reporting an 8% sales uplift in the first half of the 2019/2020 financial year, thanks in part to the fancy fancies.

Warrens Bakery – Marmite Pasty

Love it or hate it, Warrens knew how to cause a stir with the announcement of its limited-edition Cheese & Marmite pasty in June. Despite the controversy over the titular ingredient, Warrens’ pasty represented one example of a bakery teaming up with an iconic brand in the UK. It even went as far as branding the individual pasties with an edible Marmite logo for maximum effect.

Pieminister – Snacking Patties

Pieminister tapped into the savoury snacking market in 2019 with the creation of its four-strong range of patties (rsp £2.50 per two-pack). The line-up comprised Jerk Chook (jerk chicken with beans), Smokin’ BBQ (pulled pork), Chana-Rama (spicy vegan chickpea, potato and spinach) and Holy Chipotle! (vegan black bean and chipotle).

Notably, the patties utilise the brand’s existing circular pie lids, which are filled and folded in half for a handheld snack that can be eaten hot or cold.

Even more impressive was the plastic-free packaging, which was extended to Pieminister’s wider portfolio at the same time. Featuring the A Plastic Free logo, the patties’ packaging was made from fully recyclable card and a transparent outer made from wood pulp.

Fox’s – Double Dough Cookies

Can’t decide what flavour of cookie you want to eat? Fox’s sought to solve this tricky problem with its Double Dough Cookies, which saw two distinct doughs brought together in one biscuit.

Described as a “world first”, the NPD comprised two variants – Strawberries & Cream and Salted Caramel & Fudge Brownie. Not only was it an interesting concept, but the manufacturer had to invest in new machinery to make the cookies as it was a “fairly challenging process to bake what is essentially two different doughs into one composite biscuit”. 

Maître Choux – Savoury Éclairs

Think éclairs are only sweet? Think again, as Maître Choux rolled out its four-strong range of savoury éclairs in summer 2019. Toppings included Double Tomato & Feta, Smoked Salmon, Yuzu Cream Cheese & Avocado, Crunchy Spring Vegetables and Chicken Mayo & Avocado.

By doing so, Maître Choux tapped into one of 2019’s emerging trends which was taking traditionally sweet products and putting a savoury twist on them – a theme set to continue into 2020.

Jeremie Vaislic, who established the business with Michelin-star chef Joakim Prat in 2015, said the savoury éclairs had been “flying off the shelf” since launch, especially the smoked salmon version.

Tesco – Bread Pudding and Crostini

Food waste continued to be a driver for change, leading to a number of initiatives and new products across the baking industry. One example was Tesco using its surplus in-store bakery baguettes and batons to create bread pudding and crostini.

To create the Olive Oil Crostini, the batons were sliced, topped with extra virgin olive oil and baked to a crisp and crunchy texture. White baguettes, meanwhile, were broken into crumbs and mixed with spices, sultanas and water to create bread pudding. Although initially a small launch across just 24 stores in the UK, if rolled out more widely, it could see baguette and baton waste cut by 40%.

Roberts Bakery – Crunchy Cricket Loaf

The newest piece of NPD, and the most unusual, on our list was Roberts Bakery Crunchy Cricket Loaf. That’s bread made with ground-up crickets, 336 of them to be exact.

A batch of 100 loaves was made to mark the return of TV show I’m A Celebrity Get Me Out Of Here – 10 of which were made available to consumers via a Facebook competition.

So why make bread from crickets? Crickets, and other insects, represent a sustainable source of protein – something which will become increasingly important as the population continues to grow, and resources struggle to keep up with it.

Bells of Lazonby – Bells & Whistles

Bells & Whistles, from family bakery Bells of Lazonby, aimed to “rewrite the rules” of the vegan bakery market with branding, packaging and products that “defy the preconceptions of vegan food”.

Available in Berry & Cashew, Nut Truffle, and Ginger & Apricot variants, the cake slices were covered with ganache, topped with dark or white vegan chocolate and sprinkled with either berries, roasted hazelnuts or chopped pistachios.

Not only did they tap the booming vegan market, they were also gluten-free, and gained shelf space in the UK and Australia.

Leon – Sourdough Loaves

Fast food chain Leon partnered with Sainsbury’s to launch a range of grocery products, including four sourdough loaves – Quinoa Sourdough, Sweet Potato & Carrot Sourdough, Rye Pumpernickel Sourdough and Super White Sourdough. Priced at £2.85 a loaf, they are made using a 20-year-old mother starter and are baked daily in Sainsbury’s in-store bakeries.

According to Leon, the move represented an important step for the business as it grew beyond its restaurants to bring people “naturally fast food” in their homes.