Bakery’s product developers have been busier than Santa’s helpers this year, whipping up all manner of tasty, on-trend and, in some cases, rather gimmicky new products.

Here the British Baker editorial team reveal which products tickled their fancy this year:

Dark Chocolate & Almond Butter Cookie – Pret A Manger

Pret unveiled its Dark Chocolate & Almond Butter cookie as part of its spring menu this year, marking the food-to-go chain’s first ever vegan bakery item.

Abbie Dawson, British Baker reporter, says: “The launch of the vegan cookie in April made it an early entrant onto the long list of vegan NPD launched this year as brands looked to dip their toes into the ever-expanding pool of vegan and plant-based consumers.

“Having eaten the cookie on multiple occasions, I can confirm it’s delicious, and I’m not surprised it remains on the menu long after the spring season.”

‘Good for the Gut’ range – Genius

Gluten-free brand Genius launched a selection of new products this year as part of its ‘Good for the Gut’ range.

The products included its Fibre Fest wraps in Beetroot and Kale variants, which launched in August, as well as Bread Crisps in Carb Cutter and Protein Punch varieties which followed in October.

Abbie says: “Gut health has been a huge trend in the health and wellness industries this year, and bakers seem to be listening too. The Good for the Gut range by Genius arrived at a time when consumers were looking for easy access, affordable products with health benefits – a great launch in my opinion.”

McVitie’s Jaffa Cakes Nibbles – Pladis

This month, McVitie’s owner Pladis revealed that a Jaffa Cakes variant of its popular Nibbles product would be rolling out in January in both a sharing pouch and an on-the-go-handy pack. The product consists of an orange centre and light sponge, coated in milk and dark chocolate.

Abbie says: “The launch of this product has gone mad on social media, and it hasn’t even happened yet. I think the product will be very popular, particularly the new on-the-go size – who wouldn’t want to carry Jaffa Cakes in their pocket?!”

Yorkshire Bases – Aunt Bessie’s

Aunt Bessie’s tapped into the growing trend of Yorkshire wraps with the recent launch of frozen Yorkshire bases. Sold in a pack of two with an rsp of £1.50, the bases are designed to be versatile meaning they can be used to create burritos, wraps and even pizzas.

Amy North, multimedia content editor, says: “Everybody knows Yorkshire puddings are the best part of a roast dinner and in recent years they’ve shone on the street food scene as well thanks to their use as wraps. Aunt Bessie’s has done well to jump on the bandwagon while it’s gaining momentum. Plus, I reckon these will be great for Boxing Day leftovers.”

Ruby KitKat – Nestlé

Back in 2017 chocolate supplier Barry Callebaut unveiled ruby chocolate to the world. It was hailed as the fourth type of chocolate after dark, milk and white. Notably, the berry taste and ruby colour are all-natural – no flavours or colourings are added to the chocolate.

The pink chocolate garnered a lot of interest, but KitKat became the first UK brand to roll it out when the four-finger variant launched exclusively in Tesco in April 2018.

Amy says: “KitKats are known for their revolutionary, and often quirky, flavours – there’s matcha green tea, pancake, sweet potato and blueberry cheesecake, to name a few. However, they never seem to grace shelves in the UK. The Ruby KitKat was a nod to this while providing UK consumers with a fun, bright pink snack – even if the fruity flavour of the chocolate has proved to be divisive.”

Adam and Steve biscuits – Fortnum & Mason

Fortnum & Mason was all about equality this Valentine’s Day as it unveiled a duo of gingerbread biscuits featuring gay and lesbian couples, named Adam and Steve and Eve and Niamh (pronounced Neve). The iced biscuits were priced at £15 and sold out pretty swiftly on the retailer’s website.

Amy says: “Who doesn’t love a biscuit with a naked person on it? Particularly one that celebrates love in all its forms, regardless of gender. Plus, I love that Fortnums were bold enough to play on the ‘it’s Adam and Eve not Adam and Steve’ message.”

Honest Crust – Samworth Brothers

Samworth Brothers partnered with food distribution charity FareShare for the launch of food-to-go brand Honest Crust, made up of 45 products including sandwiches, wraps, salads, toasties and paninis. The brand is donating £50,000 to FareShare over the next 12 months to enable it to redistribute 200,000 meals to vulnerable people across the UK.

British Baker editor Vince Bamford says: “I like the name and the branding of the launch. It’s clean and simple and ties in perfectly with the donation activity, and is a natural extension of the work Samworth Brothers has already been doing by donating surplus product to FareShare. Coupled with the fact the Honest Crust sandwich and wrap boxes are fully recyclable and use no plastic, it’s tapping directly into consumer interest in the environment and food waste while enabling them to feel good about buying the product.”

QR code burger bun – Ichibuns

Japanese diner Ichibuns partnered with mobile payment service Zapper to launch a burger bun featuring a QR code that customers could scan to make payments, leave tips and split the bill. The restaurant also launched an app called Ichipachinko that gives customers the chance to play a digital version of Japan’s pinball-esque game and earn points to be redeemed against items from the menu.

Vince says: “It’s about as gimmicky as a gimmick can be – but I think this is brilliant. Stamping a QR code on packaging is so 2017, this is digital marketing for an age when whipping out your smartphone to Instagram a restaurant dish is the norm. It’s a pretty small step from taking a pic of a burger to scanning a QR code. And, of course, full marks to the burger bun supplier who has made this possible!”

Used Our Loaf beer – Adnams/Marks & Spencer

Marks & Spencer teamed up with Adnams brewery to sell a range of craft beers made from discarded bread crusts. The brewer is using the crusted ends of sliced sandwich loaves from M&S supplier Greencore to make beer, sold under the brand name Used Our Loaf. The surplus bread replaces some of the malted barley traditionally used in brewing in beers including Triple Hop Southwold pale ale, Earl Grey pale ale and raspberry fruit beer.

Vince says: “Two of the great loves of my life are bread and craft ale, so I was bound to rate something bringing the two together. While this is by no means the first time brewers have used bread to create a beer, the fact a retailer the size of M&S is putting its name on a range is a step up for the profile of such initiatives. It’s also another fine example of suppliers working with their customers to tackle waste concerns.”