New product introductions in the United States in recent years have emphasized health and nutritional claims (not always the same things) and high-priced gourmet variations. Health claims are faddish in nature and vary according to the enthusiasm of the moment. High-fiber cookies and crackers can be produced through heavy additions of wheat, oat, or corn bran or more exotic ingredients such as psyllium seed husks, purified cellulose (from wood, sugar beet pulp, etc), and pectin-based materials. No-fat and reduced-fat cookies and crackers have also been popular. Consumers realize there are health benefits in such products, but it is difficult for manufacturers to predict such product trends.
It can be expected that future trends will follow new dietary fads, as they become entrenched in the popular imagination. The exact direction cannot be predicted, but products of reduced caloric content or those meeting health requirements of an aging population will probably be popular.
Gourmet cookies are achieved by formula variations that are heavy on chocolate, fruit preserves, nuts, butter, and other highly indulgent ingredients. Pricing structure usually restricts such products to select market niches. Other gourmet cookies can be made by the addition of perishable components such as whipped cream, butter-cream fillings, and other adjuncts that are practical only for freshly prepared items or for cookies that are distributed in frozen form.
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