Sweet Loren’s expands portfolio with gluten-free puff pastry, pizza, pie doughs

By Ryan Daily

- Last updated on GMT

Source: Sweet Loren's
Source: Sweet Loren's

Related tags gluten free bakery Clean label better for you

Better-for-you snack brand Sweet Loren’s is expanding its product portfolio with a series of ready-to-use pizza, pastry and pie doughs as the company taps into demands for clean-label treats and ready-to-use foods, company CEO and Founder Loren Castle told FoodNavigator-USA.

Founded in 2011, Sweet Loren’s started by offering a range of vegan, gluten-free edible cookie doughs and ready-to-bake cookie doughs, available in Lemon, Salted Caramel, Chocolate Chunk, Fudgy Brownie, Sugar, Oatmeal Cranberry and Less Sugar Chocolate as well as seasonal offerings. Currently, the cookies are available in 25,000 supermarkets nationwide, including Whole Foods, Albertsons, Wegman’s and other retailers, Castle said. 

Next month, Sweet Loren’s will launch a gluten-free puff pastry and pizza dough in the refrigerated dough section at Target and Kroger Supermarkets. Then, the company will release a pie crust at Whole Foods and Sprouts ahead of the winter holiday season. 

Sweet Loren's products are formulated with non-GMO ingredients, sweetened with cane sugar, and are gluten-, dairy-, peanut-, and tree-nut free.

Taking 9 years to grow beyond cookie dough

Last fall, Sweet Loren’s stepped outside of the frozen cookie dough aisle​ for the first time with a line of gluten-free Breakfast Biscuits, which contain 19 grams of whole grains, 4 grams of protein and 3 grams of fiber per serving (three cookies). The Breakfast Biscuits come in Chocolate, Cinnamon Sugar and Blueberry flavors and are available at Whole Foods, Amazon and the brand's website. 

“Basically, within one year, we have gone from just cookie dough to now breakfast biscuits and showing that we can be in a shelf-stable aisle and now into other doughs, including meals and savory,” Castle said. 

Sweet Loren’s stuck with the cookie dough category for nine years to build a “very profitable business” that did not require debt or venture-capital funding, she explained.  

“A lot of food brands start with a product and then a couple of years and they [say,] 'We have to keep new and relevant let's create other products.' And they expand into different products, in my opinion, too early. And then your marketing dollars get split between two different types of products and customers, and nothing is ever easy. So, then you [eventually] have issues with both products,” Castle said.

‘The faster [suppliers] can catch up, the faster we can innovate and grow’ 

As it expands beyond cookie dough, Sweet Loren's is tapping into consumer demands for better-for-you indulgences and snacks. Most consumers (81%) said it was important to purchase clean-label foods, according to an Acosta Group survey of more than 1,200 US shoppers​. 

Also, consumers want convenient foods that fit into their busy schedules, but they are seeking out healthier versions of their favorite products, Castle explained. 

“We know people need packaged food because people are busy. They want to have their favorite foods for their families and themselves at hand at all times. They do not want to give up their favorite foods like pizza, puff pastry [and] cookies. But how can we package it and ... be processed? So, it is packaged with ingredients that feel very homemade. They feel real. They feel thoughtful.” 

Sweet Loren's struggled to find suppliers with innovative ingredients to develop new products, Castle said. Over time, Sweet Loren's grew its volume, and a supplier developed "a special chocolate chunk, ... which was vegan, dairy-free [and] no soy," she said. However, further ingredient innovation is needed to create more clean-label indulgences, she added. 

“We are now big enough that we could buy the volume, but it takes time for suppliers to create something for us. Natural dyes [are not] ... mainstream yet in a mass production way. So, inclusions, sprinkles [and] dyes — all these things — the faster [suppliers] can catch up, the faster we can innovate and grow," she said. 

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