The first four+ months of the year have been extremely busy at FruitSmart. We have attended several tradeshows: CiderCon, American Frozen Foods Institute Convention, Natural Products Expo West, a couple of Institute of Food Technologists Suppliers’ Nights, and most recently, the Craft Brewers Conference in Minneapolis. It has been wonderful to actually see customers again, share ideas, and discuss opportunities. All of these shows have generated strong reaction to the product concepts we have presented—concepts including lavender lemon apple juice, a red and black pepper apple drink we have dubbed Red Dawn, flavored apple chips, fruit jerky, muffins, and many others. A common reaction from those stopping by has been, “I didn’t know you could do that with fruit.” The answer is “yes, we can.” Our goal is to open the mind of consumers to different ways they can consume fruit and enjoy the product along the way.
Today’s consumers are looking for healthier products—snacks and drinks in particular: products that will provide real benefits to their health and wellness. This is right in line with our sweet spot, as fruit is inherently healthy. They have what is known as a “halo effect,” which provides both healthy vibes to the rest of the product and real benefits to the product. For example, 61% of all consumers are looking to increase the fiber they consume in their diets to help improve their gut health. Improved gut health has been shown to improve immunity in general. Our fiber products can bring that beneficial fiber, remain tasty, and make a moist product. Virtually every trend analysis you read speaks to providing more health and wellness benefits as a key driver to consumption.
This trend doesn’t stop with human food; we also attended the Petfood Forum earlier this month and fruit ingredients continue to be incorporated into pet food as consumers seek similar health benefits for their pets. (Check out our recent post on strawberries for dogs.)
We will continue to bring new ideas to life—yours and our own. We encourage you to think about how and what you would like to see fruit in your application. We will be happy to develop prototypes for your consideration because “We can do that with fruit.”
Finally, while the beginning of the year has also been a very busy time for our plants, we are grateful to the work of our procurement team for finding supply of raw materials so our plant teams can make product so effortlessly. We are grateful for our customers—our partners—in allowing us to be part of their efforts to provide better tasting and more nutritional products to their consumers.