Paradise Fruits eyes opportunities in snacking, fruit blends and flavor concepts for 2018

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02 Jan 2018 --- Paradise Fruits by Jahncke has a long history in the field of fruit and healthy ingredients. On display at FiE 2017 in Frankfurt recently, were three of the company’s business units, comprising of Paradise Fruits Solutions, Paradise Fruits Freeze-Dried and Paradise Garden. The family-run business provides an extensive range of quality ingredients and snacks ranging from freeze-dried products to flexible solutions from their state-of-the-art factories in Germany. The freeze-dried fruits and vegetables produced, are lightweight, clean ingredients, which retain many of the natural nutritional benefits, flavor and color characteristics from their fresh form.

As well as the usual 100 percent pure freeze-dried fruits, Paradise Fruits Freeze Dried also offers a variety of products which use the freeze-drying process to combine different raw materials, such as purees, juices and yogurt, to create new shapes, textures and aromas. As the market is fast-changing and the demand for natural and healthy ingredients continues to thrive, Paradise Fruits is seeing great opportunities within this space for both itself and its customers. FoodIngredientsFirst caught up with Richard Horsley, UK Director of Sales, who discussed the trends happening in the market. “At FiE, you could really see that sugar reduction trend is very much a priority and it’s not just in the beverages or confectionary sectors. We have some customers in the bakery sector, for example, coming to us and asking if they can add fruit into their recipes to add natural sweetness, so there are certainly opportunities there for us in that category,” he says. 
Proving very popular at the show was a new range of freeze-dried drops and shapes, which are still in their infancy and are, built on the reputation the company has from the snacking side of the business. “We have customers who want to take the traditional freeze-dried fruits like strawberry and banana slices as well as apples, but they also want to be a bit different. Appealing to the Healthy but Fun element we can, of course, offer recipes with no added sugar, as sugar reduction is the biggest topic throughout the food industry presently,” helping to satisfy the needs of both parents and children as end consumers.
Traditionally, the industry used to think that freeze-dried fruit was just to be used with cereals or similar products, now that’s far from the case, according to Horsley. “We are seeing it in so many areas, and it’s not only about the ingredient, it can be functional as well, there isn’t a category where that doesn’t fit. It’s an exciting time because people pay more attention to what they are eating, they pay more attention to what goes into their products and yet there still is a divide between people wanting something ultra-healthy and some who want ultra-indulgent and linking the two still fits with the taste, health and the texture that our products deliver,” he notes. 
“The same is true with the snacking segment across all of our business units. We have seen an increase in demand for fruit shapes for snacking. The majority of sales in that arena have been without added sugar, which we achieve by using blends of purees and juice concentrates.”
In general, Horsley believes that many of today’s consumers are looking for this “health halo.” “They want the added value of a product but they don’t want the taste and texture to be too heavily affected and they like the idea of having 100 percent fruit, even if it is mixed with indulgent foods,” he adds.
The Paradise Fruits Solutions business, which uses a unique process technology to deliver high fruit and low water activity ingredients and snacks, has been seeing unprecedented levels of growth in the nutraceutical arena.  An interesting part of this, is that customers are now looking for a natural and healthy carrier for added vitamins and minerals. So instead of using a traditional gummy, for example, people are interested in putting something together with fruit that still has a pleasant taste and great texture that almost eats like a sweet but isn’t made with the same lengthy ingredients list,” explains Horsley.
“As long as our products continue to remain natural, have no additives or preservatives, and are full of fruit and natural goodness, then I believe that consumers will stay interested. When our customers want exceptionally clean label products, then our freeze-dried options tick those boxes. It’s the same with the texture.  Because we’ve seen lots of developments in that field, from soft and chewy to hard and crunchy, the basket of fruit that we can offer as a family business fills that full range,” he states.
Elsewhere in innovation and R&D, both the Solutions and the Freeze-Dried side of the business are offering their own versions of fruit drops. “The Solutions company offers Fruit Juice Drops, which have been around for a few years now and are made using a blend of fruit purees and juices, which keeping ‘on trend’ can be made without added sugar,” explains Horsley. “They are being sold currently as direct snacks, they look like jelly snacks but they are actually cleaner label. We’ve also got a number of confectionary customers who are using them in chocolate applications because of the good taste and great texture.”
“On the freeze-dried side, we are now developing a drop format because it offers quite a unique shape and is also flexible in terms of recipes for developments, so we can offer various flavor combinations.  For example, we have a product range called Smoothie Bites which is selling well.  What we have found is that people like them but don’t want to be limited to just one particular shape, so we are offering these drops as a way to introduce fruits and fruit blends,” he says. “We are now looking at them with or without added sugar and yogurt, with a view to further development in 2018. They are our newest innovation from a freeze-dried perspective,” he claims.  “We are aiming to draw a fun element into the snacking category while still built around our pillar of health and fruit,” he confirms. 
Looking ahead to 2018, Horsley believes that fruit combinations and blends will continue to be popular with consumers. “Anything with botanicals will continue to be big in 2018. So far, we’ve had a lot of interest in combinations such as raspberry and thyme, strawberry and basil, and ginger was popular this year too. We have the benefits of offering 100 percent freeze-dried ginger pieces, supplied from our Garden business, but we have also ginger snacks as well. We’ve taken the smoothie bites and offered them in a ginger format,” he adds.
“Combinations using spirulina, wheatgrass, mango-rosemary and matcha tea, rosehip, rooibos, orange-chili, lemon-ginger are just some of the interesting concepts and flavor blends that we expect to see again next year,” he concludes, “Anything botanical or traditional are set to make a comeback.  Another big feature in 2018 will be fruit and vegetable combinations.”
By Elizabeth Green

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