The 12th Annual CiderCon took place in Richmond, VA, the first week of February. This was a return to an in-person event after the all-virtual experience in 2021. CiderCon is the American Cider Association’s annual event. This year 36 states were represented, with several regular attendees, and attendance exceeded the attendance at the last in-person conference in Oakland, CA, in January 2020. With 73 vendors, 37 workshops, 11 tasting sessions, and a variety of other initiatives, the conference was vibrant and full of excitement and enthusiasm.
The cider industry is a very important market segment for FruitSmart; we have been a pillar sponsor since 2015 and a strong supporter since its inception. FruitSmart is the largest provider of NFC apple juice to the industry, and we pride ourselves in being able to supply the customers with large volume requirements, as well as the cideries that operate more on a local level. We truly are a partner, no matter the size of the project.
Always looking at how we can bring value to our partnership with cidermakers, we decided to present two new product concepts. From our customers-insight research we know that the consumers value flavor experiences. In collaboration with one of our sister companies, Shank’s Extract, our product development manager worked on two concepts to present at CiderCon 2022: a lavender lemon cider and a pineapple chili cider. Fresh and smooth flavor for the first one, and tropical with a kick for the second one. These were incredibly well received by the many attendees that stopped at our booth. You could see them thinking about how they can deliver new flavor experiences to their customers through cider. The not from concentrate apple juice that we already supply them can become the carrier to deliver new, innovative—and at the same time—familiar flavors.
At the booth we were also showing our apple chips, an innovative product that we developed in-house and that we produce and pack at our facility in Prosser, WA. Talk about a flavor experience! These were a huge success. Many expressed interests in having the apple chips to sell in their tap rooms.
Apples are such a popular and well accepted fruit. Washington State is the premier state for apples, where 65% of all the U.S. apples are grown. An all-natural, 100% fruit snack, that is tasty and good for you: fat free, low in sodium, high in fiber, and rich in vitamins. All in a snack that makes you feel good while boosting your immunity. We know these will be a winner.