The Final Proof: Spring Forward with Fruit
Here’s how to sort through the spin and determine what kinds of healthy, fruit-forward options to put into your product lineup
By Jane Dummer
Now that spring has sprung, we say goodbye to barren bushes and hello to an abundance of fresh, vibrant and delicious fruits. Simple and natural fruit forward pastries, cakes and baked goods continue to trend in 2019.
The days of mushy, indistinct or bland tasting fruit fillings in pastries are disappearing, as consumers want fresher tastes and realistic textures. Also, as transparency becomes the norm in the food industry, consumers are asking for more information about the type and origin of ingredients in their baked goods.
Andrea Rosati, Patisserie Product Manager, Puratos Canada agrees, “Fruit fillings are perceived by consumers as one of the best ingredients to bring both taste and healthiness to sweet baked goods. The overall wholeness of the fruit pieces in terms of shape, texture and structure can be defined as fruit integrity. As fruit integrity is highly valued by consumers, we focus on investing in the right equipment that helps to maintain the fruit’s structure as these pieces are delicate and prone to being destroyed throughout the cooking process. Topfil is a range of cleaner label, minimally processed fruit fillings that only uses the best selected fruits and focuses on maintaining their freshness and natural goodness. Since the fruit filling is all about the fruit, we don’t add any unnecessary ingredients to detract from their fresh bursts of flavour. Natural colours and flavours derived from fruits and vegetables are added to provide consistent quality as fruits can vary from crop to crop. In addition, our fruit fillings are freeze and thaw stable, as well bake stable allowing bakers to work with them according to their process and in different applications.
While being health conscious, customers are gravitating towards purchasing more grab-and-go options. This trend was in full force at The Winter Fancy Food Show held in January in San Francisco, where I met Kara Romanik, Founder and CEO of California based Mamie’s Pies. Mamie’s Pies have taken the classic nine inch pie and created a single serve, frozen, unbaked hand-held pocket pie. Shaped like apples, blueberries and pumpkins, Mamie’s pocket pies are fruit forward, flash frozen, all natural and can be served from the freezer to the oven.
Romanik explains, “Mamie’s offers consumers variety with homemade quality. Our fruit fillings include McIntosh apple, wild Maine blueberry, tart Michigan cherry, sweet strawberry and seasonal New England pumpkin with molasses and brown sugar. Convenience drives innovation when it comes to the freezer aisle, but quality will keep consumers coming back for more. Our fillings are fruit forward with a hint of sugar and corn starch as our only thickener. Our top two flavours are our classic sweet and tart McIntosh apple and wild Maine blueberry. We launched wild Maine blueberry in March 2018 on QVC and it’s taken off. We feel that our apple and wild blueberry will continue to be our top sellers but we’ll be launching a Georgia peach pocket pie early 2019. Mamie’s is also sold in food service as grab and go at cafes and coffee shops. This year we’ll be entering the convenience store market as well as grab and go in stadiums.”
Rosati and the Puratos team have found very similar taste profiles in Canada when it comes to fruit forward desserts. “Canadian consumers are rather traditional especially when it comes to their fruit flavour preferences. Puratos partnered with Research & Incite at the beginning of 2018 to survey 600 Canadian consumers to help determine their most popular flavours. The two traditional flavours of apple and blueberry are a must-have for sweet goods, followed closely by cherry, strawberry and raspberry. Since it’s evident that the majority of the time consumers like to stick to the classics, we can be sure these flavours will continue to be popular in 2019 and beyond. However, certain segments of the population such as millennials, are more adventurous when it comes to trying new flavours as our research indicated that they are interested in more unique options such as Saskatoon berry and pomegranate.
As consumers look for more ways to make their spring even sweeter, innovative simple fruit forward pastries, cakes, pies, tarts, and other baked goods are perfect to meet this flavour demand.
Jane Dummer, RD, known as the Pod to Plate Food Consultant, collaborates and partners with the food and nutrition industry across North America.