Pick up a praline: Pecan Deluxe plugs nut-based opportunities

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24 May 2018 --- Pralines already feature in several popular ice cream and dessert brands globally and despite somewhat limited availability, the flavor is proving to be very popular. According to Pecan Deluxe Candy, this may be down in part to one trend that Australia can call its own – a growing interest in nut butter which merits the highest online search rating in the world.

The top market subcategory where pralines are listed as ingredients is in snacks, nuts and seeds and ice cream, according to Innova Market Insights. The second most popular subcategory where pralines are listed is ice cream. The top health claims in launches tracked with pralines are gluten-free and allergy claims (Global, 2017-2018 YTD).
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Blue Bunny Caramel Butter
Pecan Praline Ice Cream
An example of a recent product launch featuring pecans as an ingredient is Blue Bunny Caramel Butter Pecan Praline Ice Cream, launched in March 2018.
But could manufacturers be missing out on an obvious opportunity to add to their portfolio and increase profits by adding more pralines to their frozen and chilled desserts and snacks? That’s the question being asked by Graham Kingston, Managing Director EMEA and APAC for inclusions supplier Pecan Deluxe Candy.
Praline nuts were invented in the Southern US – in fact, Pecan Deluxe was named after the praline pecans that made its ice cream and inclusions into market leaders seven decades ago. Now, having extended its reach globally, Pecan Deluxe still manufactures pralines in the traditional way – combining real butter and sugar in copper pans to caramelize the sugar and produce premium quality praline inclusions with a distinctive flavor and texture ideal for confectionery, cereals, beverages, ice cream and other desserts and snacks.
Trends that are born in the US filter across Europe and ultimately to the Australian marketplace, according to Pecan Deluxe.
Speaking to FoodIngredientsFirst, Kingston says: “Pralines remain ever popular in the US with new applications emerging all  the time, for example, coffee, e.g., lattes and milkshake toppings, salad toppings, breakfast cereals and snack mixes, combined with items like pretzels and biscuit pieces.”
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Natures Promise Free From
Pecan Chocolate Chip Cookies
“There is still lots of innovation possibilities with the use of spices and flavors such as honey and chili. Different seeds and nuts are proving popular in the APAC region, watermelon seeds and coconut for example.”
“We see the popularity for pralines increasing around the world and especially in Asia,” he explains. “The ability to work with different nuts, seeds and even flavors allows pralines to be tailored to individual market ‘tastes.’ Pralines tap into the growing trend for protein fortification of foods and texture.”
There is much more to pralines than just nuts: Pecan Deluxe’s NPD team is continually developing new flavors and applications based on pralines in numerous applications across bakery, confectionery, beverages and desserts. The food tailor can also create praline seeds (pumpkin, for example) and works closely with blue chip brand names to create bespoke and usually unique retail solutions.
Kingston concludes: “There is such massive potential for pralines as innovative ingredients across multiple sectors, and especially ice cream. The Australian ice cream market experienced robust growth of 5 percent in 2017, and natives are the third most prolific consumers of ice cream in the world, averaging 18 liters per person every year (the second was New Zealand at 21 liters) – that’s a lot of retail markets to go at. Add to that the global statistic that nearly 80 percent of ice cream consumers say that premium ice cream is their most favorite product of all – and why wouldn’t you be looking very hard at how best to meet that huge demand for premium ice cream with a twist?”
By Elizabeth Green

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