Raising the Bar: Adding Fruit to Snack Foods

It is no secret that most of the snack food you find on shelves in the grocery store does more for your tastebuds than for your waistline. Though tasty and cravable, most snack food products fall short when you take a look through the nutrition facts. 

How COVID is Changing What People Eat

Even before the ongoing coronavirus pandemic turbo-charged people’s attitudes toward their health, consumer sentiment was beginning to shift toward increasingly healthy options for on-the-go treats or between meal snacks. Added to this trend was the sudden new awareness of food brought about by everyone needing to become an at-home chef during lockdowns. 

A year and a half on from the beginning of the changes brought about by COVID-19, and the importance of creating healthy products is vital to many brands. Though some consumer concern about health is fading as vaccination rates increase, the long-term shift in the market toward healthier options, especially in snack and convenience-oriented foods, remains firmly intact. 

Food purchasing decisions are not just driven by news reports. Changes in lifestyle and activities can affect food purchasing, and here granola bars and other performance-oriented snack foods marketed toward outdoor athletics are set to see a boost. Many of us took up a new interest in outdoor recreation by necessity during lockdowns, and even for those who returned to gyms or gave up altogether under the pressure of life getting back to normal, the convenience and dietary value of granola and nutritional snack bars could make these tasty treats part of their dietary regimen going forward. 

Healthy Snack Bars for Weight Loss

Ask anyone who has made nutritional snack bars a regular part of their workout routine, and one thing will come to the fore: bars can be boring, and new flavors are a breath of fresh air. Nearly every company in the performance food market has the standards covered with chocolate, peanut butter, blueberry, and other staple flavors abounding. Gaining customers will always demand putting your best foot forward when it comes to standard flavors, but once you have won them to your brand, keeping them hooked with new, adventurous flavors can fight the boredom that could lead otherwise loyal customers to jump ship for another competing brand. 

Innovating and bringing new flavors to market can carry risks in any category, but this is even harder when you have to create new products that need to be tasty, nutritious, and remain shelf stable for long periods of time. Nutritious snack bars are expected to taste as flavorful after a few weeks in a backpack pocket as they did the day they were purchased. This fact alone may contribute to the high number of chocolate and sea salt bars in the market. 

So, what are you supposed to do when it comes to making bars taste better and still be as long lasting as ever? The potentially surprising answer is to add some fruit. 

Innovating with Dried Fruit 

Dried fruit has always been a popular option for the backpackers among us. These days, even if you aren’t the type to spend your days off far in the forest, dried fruit can be a meaningful part of your diet. Improvements in the manufacture and storage of dried fruit solids mean more and more ingredients are available to manufacturers to innovate with flavors some consumers might not expect to find in nutrition bars. 

Nutritious snack bars are, of course, not only for the outdoor adventurers. Many people adopted new weight loss goals during the pandemic, and a huge part of any weight loss program is controlling portion size and calorie intake. This is another area where fruit-laden nutrition and granola bars can shine. With a specific number of calories in each one, healthy bars can be great options for people who need to quell an afternoon craving, but don’t want to risk accidentally binging a whole bag of chips. 

In addition to the value of a set number of calories, manufacturers can double down by upping the nutritional credentials of their products by adding fruit solids to their bars. Shelf-stable dried fruits, fruit seeds and pumice can be integrated into recipes that not only bring the flavor of fruit people love to the bars they are set to buy, but adding healthy ingredients can help lower the amount of added sugars in products, as well as add in vitamins and antioxidants to fortify the diets of people who need to keep their nutrient intake high and calorie count low. 

Fruit-laden nutritional bars are far from new, of course. Established companies like Cilf are now elbowing for shelf space along with newer offerings from Larabar, rxbar, Kind, and others. Figs, blueberries, and apples have long been staple dried-fruit options, but those are far from the only options available to add flavor, sweetness, and nutritional value to your products. The high-quality dried fruits offered by FruitSmart also include the following options, among others:

If you are looking at jumping into the nutrition snack bar market, or if it is time to make a step down the clean label path by replacing added sweeteners with natural ingredients like strawberries or figs, then it is time to see what FruitSmart can do for you. Our extensive list of products can help you create enticing flavors people will love while adding to the health credentials of your products. If you are ready to explore the advantages partnering with FruitSmart can provide, contact us today to learn more. 

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