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Freeze-dried fruits are an extremely versatile product suitable for many applications, from adding a flash of colour and flavour in cereals and snack bars to enhancing the taste and texture of confectionery items. Here, Claus Christiansen, Sales Manager at Paradise Fruits Freeze-Dried looks at some of the most popular uses for freeze-dried fruits and vegetables and the benefits of specifying these ingredients for your next product development.
Cereals & Snack Bars
Cereals are a popular breakfast item and have been for many years, but modern day consumers are looking for options that offer natural, better-for-you ingredients with more exciting flavours, colours and textures. Freeze-dried fruits, particularly red berries, but also exotic fruits like apricot, bananas, mango and pineapple add taste, texture and visual appeal to a range of cereals and porridges to meet this demand. As consumers also look for more food and drink options that support their busy lifestyles, they are increasingly opting for those with natural ingredients. On-the-go breakfast items, such as cereal-based snack bars and porridge pots that contain a variety of freeze-dried fruits, and retain most of their natural goodness, are also a firm favourite with shoppers.
Chocolate & Confectionery
When it comes to chocolate and confectionery, shoppers want to enjoy a treat occasion but to avoid the guilty feeling afterwards. As such, they are steering towards products that contain ‘better for you’ ingredients that provide nutritional benefits, without having to compromise on taste and texture. We have noticed that speciality chocolate and confectionery that includes natural ingredients, such as fruit pieces and/or powders, is also continuing to grow in popularity as they meet this demand. As fruit is a natural partner to chocolate, and the variety of flavours and formats of freeze-dried products provides endless possibilities for innovation, freeze dried fruit inclusions have become a leading choice for manufacturers looking for a natural source of flavour and colours to cater to the consumer’s needs. Combinations of more than one fruit per application within confectionery is another trend that we can help our customers meet with our freeze dried fruit mixes, developed bespoke based on their recipes. The mixes can contain either multiple mono-fruit pieces, or a combination of fruits in one granulate and as part of our Crunchy range.
Freeze dried fruit powders make an ideal topping for baked goods such as cakes, muffins and pastries. In addition, both fruit pieces and powders are often used as an additional ingredient to add a burst of fruit flavour and texture to premixes used by caterers, home bakers as well as in-shop bakeries – a growing sector which we have found has pushed the demands for freeze-dried fruit inclusions even further. Furthermore, adding powders and pieces as inclusions in baked goods can provide natural flavour and colour to fillings and pastes.
Freeze-dried fruits are often included in healthier snack options such as trail mixes, popcorn, and mixed bags of fruit and nuts, however they are also ideal as a standalone snack – take our Smoothee Drops for example. The innovative range of naturally healthy fruit-based Drops are made from pure fruits using a gentle, low temperature production process which preserves their natural goodness. Smoothee Drops can be supplied as single fruits, either conventional or organic, and in combination with yoghurt, vegetables or, if required, added sugar. Increasing the products functionality and health benefits, which in turn will add further appeal to the buyer, the Drops can also be fortified with Vitamins, Omega-3 and Proteins.
Tea & Beverages
Freeze-dried fruits are an essential ingredient for many fruit and herbal tea and beverage products. As whole fruits, natural segments or small pieces they provide natural flavour, aroma and visual appeal. Freeze dried fruit powders are perfect for use in smoothies, either as components in dry mix smoothies or a single powder to add flavour and colour to fresh over the counter options.
Visual appeal is extremely important to consumers – the more natural their food looks the better and ideally with bright colours that replicate their favourite natural fruit and vegetables. In addition, consumers are all too aware of introducing five portions of fruit and vegetables per day into their diets. This has largely driven a rise in the development of healthier choices within the confectionery market, often combining ingredients that are ‘healthier’, lower in sugar, functional and full of flavour. The use of whole or irregular cut freeze-dried fruits that are non-uniform in shape and naturally include higher levels of fibre, such as raspberries, mangos and bananas, provide manufacturers with innovative ways of meeting this requirement when developing the aforementioned products, plus many others…details of which will be included in part 2 of this blog series. For more information about how Paradise Fruits by Jahncke can work alongside your NPD team to develop new and exciting products that contain naturally healthy and delicious freeze-dried fruit ingredients, click here to contact us.