Tim Durance (director, chairman and co-CEO of the food dehydration technology firm), told FPD that demand for dehydrated foods is increasing. The market’s growth is being led by changing consumer needs, and tastes, he said.
“Some of it is being driven by consumer interests in convenience foods, snack foods, things of that nature,” Durance said. “Consumers are looking for variety in that area—exotic ingredients and things that aren’t so readily available.”
Opportunities and challenges
Durance added that while fruits and nuts historically have been the dominant categories in the dehydration field, processors are seeing a greater need for vegetables. Also, he said, food manufacturers are seeing a move toward more dehydrated meat and dairy items.
The EnWave executive also discussed varying opportunities around the globe. While Asian consumers traditionally have had more of a taste for dried seafoods than those in other locales, interest is starting to climb around the globe.
A matter of taste
Durance also pointed out that processors can be limited by their proximity to the fresh-food supply--i.e., fruit dehydrators want to be close to the fields or groves, to ensure top quality. However, some processors get around the proximity limitation by starting with frozen, rather than fresh.
Increasing opportunities is the increasing capability of food technology, he said. For example, EnWave Corp.'s REV (radiant energy vacuum) technology reportedly helps preserve food flavor, quality and appearance, which appeals to consumers and processors using dried ingredients in their products.