The UK-based ingredients giant is due to launch its new product, Coated Snack Create 700, at the Snack Food Association's SnaxPo conference in Las Vegas, Nevada, on March 19.
The coating, which can be used on products such as fruit pieces, peanuts, soy nuts and sunflower kernels, can be combined with "almost unlimited" varieties of flavor. And because it is made with the company's Splenda sucralose, manufacturers will be able to make no sugar added claims for the coating, said Tate & Lyle.
"Consumers are increasingly looking for more than just a satisfying taste - they want exciting and surprising new flavors. Manufacturers are increasingly expected to delight and tantalise the taste buds," said Doris Dougherty, a senior food scientist at the company.
"Our new Solution Set makes dried fruits and raisins more interesting and appealing or soy nuts more tasty. This technology can be used to revolutionize snacks by offering fruit or soy nut choices in forms that are just fun to eat. The sky's the limit in terms of how the coating can be flavored or textured by use of oats, bran or other products," she added.
Coated Snack Create 700 is a mix of ingredients that claims to be easy to incorporate in a tumbler coating process. It is used at a 40-60 percent level in a dry coating matrix and is normally combined with cereal flours before it is applied over food pieces in a tumbler.
The coated pieces are then baked at up to 375 °F, which leaves them with a crisp coating and 3-5 percent moisture in the finished product.
"Eating on-the-go and outside of the three traditional daily meal occasions is on the rise and probably will continue as people's lives are increasingly busy. At the same time, consumers want great tasting food that they believe is more nutritious. Our research has shown that 78 percent of consumers want to limit fat, and 72 percent sugar, to have a healthy diet," said Harvey Chimoff, Tate & Lyle Americas' director of marketing.
The company said its new product could allow manufacturers to "rejuvenate" existing brands while encouraging increased fruit intake.
Products made with Coated Snack Create 700 that will be on show at SnaxPo include spicy fire roasted strawberries, chilli lime soy nut, coated blueberries and golden raisins.
The new product will be immediately available for sale in the US, but the company said it is still evaluating its global launch.
Tate & Lyle, which operates more than 60 production facilities in 28 countries, recently issued a trading update revealing that it is well on track to recover next year's higher energy costs.
But the firm still faces a possible obstacle. Its ability to retain a monopoly on the lucrative global sucralose market with its patented Splenda product has been called into question, with Pharmed Medicare recently claiming that it has developed an alternative patent-pending process that would put the firm into direct competition with the UK ingredient giant.