A Retailer’s Guide To Holiday Baking Swaps

For many consumers, the holiday season means home baking. For retailers, that means stocking up on the products their customers need to create their delicious holiday treats. As people seek out new healthy food choices, many look to replace animal products with plant-based alternatives. This will affect consumer purchases for the holiday season, and retailers need to be ready.

As Google Trends notes, the search for vegan baking recipes are up 139% since 2005. Innova Market Insights named plant-based one of their trends of the year for 2021, and projects plant-based confectionery to gain ground. This means more consumers will be searching their local stores and online for plant-based alternatives to create healthier holiday goodies.

For retailers, there are two key steps to prepare for the holiday baking season. First, provide customers with easy-to-find substitute products in or near the baking aisle. Second, give them resources, like conversion charts and substitution guides, to help them replace the animal-based products in their creations.

Which substitute works best depends on the type of treat. Baking is a science that requires the proper quantities; swapping ingredients without considering its impact on the final product can lead to flavorless or even failed baked goods. For example, replacing a solid fat, like butter, with a liquid fat, like canola oil, requires an understanding of the role the fat plays in this food item. A baker should understand how fats impact the flavor of the final product, which liquid fat makes the best substitute for the item, and how to incorporate it properly into the recipe.

Sugar cookies and other treats with mild flavors require a neutral tasting oil like soy or canola. Spice cookies and other heavily flavored treats can handle a stronger flavored oil as a replacement for butter. Oils like olive oil or sesame oil can complement the flavors in spiced confections.

Fats that are liquid at room temperature can affect the texture of the final product if they are handled improperly. When using a liquid fat to replace butter in cookies, refrigerate the dough for 20-30 minutes before baking for best results. Items like pie crusts rely on solid fats melting in the oven to achieve their signature texture, so solid vegetable fats like coconut oil, palm oil, or vegetable shortening work best.

Helping consumers choose the best substitute for their needs will ensure a happy baking experience for all. Download our handy conversion chart and contact us to help you stock the best products to help your customers this holiday season.