Taura Natural Ingredients has extended its portfolio to include vegetable blends that it claims will allow food manufacturers tap into the growing demand for healthier and clean label snack products.
The supplier is releasing the vegetable addition to its URC fruit range at the food ingredients industry gathering, FIE, in November, claiming products with a strong health and nutrition profile are increasing allowing snack companies to grab some market share in a competitive arena.
Moreover, said Taura, there is a growing body of research that is reporting that consumers are struggling to meet their daily 5+ a day target. "Snack food products that deliver health benefits such as a full or half serving of fruit or vegetables that contribute towards daily 5+ a day, without sacrificing on taste will find a ready audience," said Mattias Van Uffelen, head of sales Europe & UK for Taura.
He told BakeryandSnacks.com that Taura has focused on fruit for many years, but has always had the capability to work with vegetables. "The market environment is demanding more and more convenient ways to consume fruits and vegetables as people are more aware of the link between diet and health."
Van Uffelen stressed that Taura also recognizes that the desire for ‘natural’ is a number one consumer need. "Fruit and vegetable ingredient products enable food manufacturers to deliver well-understood health benefits as they the carry a halo of natural goodness – in no-mess, no-fuss formats. The recent success of fruit and vegetable beverages has also proven to consumers that they needn’t sacrifice health for enjoyment," added the regional head of sales.
He commented the fruit and vegetable range can be formulated to suit a variety of consumer tastes and manufacturing specifications: "Like our fruit products they can feature a blend of named fruits and/or vegetables, or use base-fruits such as apple. Vegetables we are working with at the moment include tomato, carrot, pumpkin, corn, beetroot and rhubarb."
Ultra Rapid Concentration
URC formats include pieces and flakes in a variety of dices sizes and shapes, said the supplier, adding that the URC paste formats can be formulated to suit a range of applications from binder pastes in cereal bars to visible, fruity centre-fills in baked bars and non-sticky layers in cookies and snack bars.
The range, which has no added sugars, preservatives or artificial colourings or flavourings, is produced using the supplier’s Ultra Rapid Concentration (URC) process.
Developed over 20 years ago in response to market requirements for fruit snacks and functional whole fruit ingredients, Taura said that the method “is able to concentrate blends of heat sensitive, viscous fruit or vegetables purees to less than 10 per cent moisture in 60 seconds,” while ensuring optimum bake stability and texture.
The primary challenges that manufacturers face, when formulating with fruit and vegetables, is moisture control and bake stability – while retaining natural flavour, colour and soft texture. Functional requirements vary according to each application type and product specification, and Taura works closely with its customers to produce customised finished products, said Van Uffelen.
The flexibility of the URC process, he continued, allows Taura to functionalize fruit and vegetables to perform in a variety of applications – even those with extremely low moisture levels.
Essentially this process dries fruit to lower moisture content that any other dehydrating process, said the company.
"Raisins are dried to around 18 per cent moisture, whereas URC ingredient products are typically lest than 10 per cent moisture - without loss of natural flavour, colour and texture. Using fruit ingredients with controlled water activity levels enable food designers to predict how these ingredients will behave when added to food products.
For example, the URC high performance range of pieces and flakes are 0.31-0.39aw, making them ideal for dry biscuits and cookie applications and reducing risk of moisture migration and product spoilage," added the head of regional sales.
Flagging up new developments ahead of the FIE event, Taura said it will also be releasing new botanical extracts and inclusions. "These offer potential not just for cereal and cereal bar manufacturers, but chocolate, confectionery and a range of baked applications," said Van Uffelen.
Nutritious snacks are predicted to gain traction with time-poor and health-conscious consumers, claims a recent overview of the Australian snack market.
The report from IBISWorld Snack Food Manufacturing in Australia notes that the health trend in that market has been evidenced by the new lines of low fat and low carbohydrate crisps and greater market penetration of categories such as nuts.
This is a trend that is set to intensify over the next five years, report the researchers, claiming that on-going public education campaigns are hitting home regarding greater health awareness with shoppers in that market.