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How the diverse applications of fruit powder make food healthier and more appealing

The increasing number of health-conscious consumers globally has resulted in the shifting preference from artificial ingredients to natural products. An ingredient that is making headway in this area is fruit powder or fruit that has been freeze-dried or dehydrated and then ground into a fine powder.

The global fruit powder market exceeded USD 14 billion in 2018. The market is expected to register nearly seven percent growth by 2024 as fruit powder becomes a preferred healthy substitute for sugar and other sweeteners. With this trend, manufacturers in the food industry are rallying to convert raw fruits and vegetables into powdered form.

Dried fruit powder is an effective way to add natural flavor to beverage products without extra chemicals and processed additives. Dried fruit powder comprises sun-dried or freeze-dried fruit that are ground into powder, devoid of supplementary additives that contain a similar amount of calories as raw fruit.

 

As fruit powders contain no artificial colors or preservatives, they are mostly used in supplements, beverages and vitamin-enhanced formulas. In beverages, fruit powders can be used in coffee drinks, powdered protein shakes, fermented alcohol, juices and smoothies. Depending on the grade chosen, fruit powders are also used in biscuits, cereals, teas and infusions.

 

Because of their convenience, fruit powders are also easily incorporated into pharmaceutical products like tablets, capsules and oral dosage form softgels.

Fruit powders can ease the constraints of fresh fruit seasonality by offering available flavors all year round. As they are nutritionally stable, fruit powders can be easily integrated into numerous galenic formulations.

 

Fruit powders have a longer shelf life at ambient temperature due to their low water activity and, when properly dried, conditioned and stored, shelf life can last up to a year or more. Fruit powders also incur a low logistic expenditure due to their low weight and volume.

Concerns over increasing obesity rates, diabetes and heart disease, along with a consumer hunger for healthier food, have resulted in the rising popularity of fruit concentrates. Fruit concentrates are progressively substituting refined sugar in a variety of applications such as juices, cakes, desserts, chocolates and confectionery items. For example, fructose in fruit concentrate is a healthier alternative to sucrose for diabetic patients as it has a lower glycemic index than sucrose.

 

In other applications, baked goods made with fructose will not only be sweet but also incredibly moist as fructose attracts more water than granulated sugar.

According to BrandEssence Market Research and Consulting, the global food colors market is expected to reach nearly USD 5 billion by 2025. This growing demand means that manufacturers need to pay more attention to the use of color additives and related regulations.

 

A color additive is any dye, pigment or substance that can impart color to a food, drug or cosmetic product, or to the human body. Color additives are important components of many products and act as a type of code that allows us to automatically recognize products on sight, like candy flavors, medicine dosages and left or right contact lenses. When added to food, color additives or food dyes help make food and beverage products more attractive, appealing and appetizing to consumers.

 

In the USA, color additives fall into two main categories: those requiring certification and those exempt from certification. Color additives are required to be preapproved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and listed in the color additive regulations before they are permitted to be used in food, pharmaceutical and cosmetics products, as well as medical devices.

 

Currently, nine synthetic food colors are subject to certification by the FDA to ensure they meet the identity and specification requirements of their listing regulations. Those derived from plant or mineral sources are exempt from FDA certification, however, they still must comply with their listing regulations for identification and purity specifications as well as use limitations.

 

Similarly, the European Union permits several colors of synthetic origin. Natural constituents of food and other natural sources are defined as food colors, which do not fall within the scope of EU food additive regulations. For example, fruit powder is considered an ingredient rather than an additive and is therefore not just used as a coloring or an aromatic substance but as a primary constituent of a finished food product (subject to authorization according to European regulations).

How the diverse applications of fruit powder make food healthier and more appealing
Gilles Deprelle

About the author

Gilles Deprelle is based in Lyon and is responsible for food and beverage sales and marketing for DKSH France.