Ocean Spray is now offering whole dried cranberries as ingredients, to help raise confectionery and snack products into the premium category.
The cranberry supplier has previously offered a range of sliced dried cranberry ingredients, sweetened with sugar or fruit juice, produced by soaking the berries in a sweetened syrup which draws the juice out.
Kristen Girard, principal food scientist, told FoodNavigator.com that the new addition will be of interest to confectioners as whole, round berries are easier to pan coat than sliced berries are and the chocolate is more easily distributed. Moreover, the whole berries ate less sticky, so they are less susceptible to clumping during production.
In the snack arena, Girard said she expects the whole berries to be well received in premium trail mixes, where there is demand for bigger chunks.
"You can tell its a cranberry, and it stands out against the dull brown of the nuts," she said. "It gives the product a point of differentiation."
The launch of the new addition is global, but amongst the countries with the highest potential interest, Girard noted Germany and Israel, where individual snack packs are popular. In the US, especially California, trail mixes are popular.
The whole dried berries are produced in a similar way to the sliced berries but with little cuts made in the waxy skin to allow the syrup to penetrate.
Some of the juice extracted in this way is channelled off and added to the syrup, which is then used to draw the liquid out of the next batch.
The production process is continous - once the berries enter, they are not seen again until they exit the dryer.
The new cranberry format was premiered at. The FiE trade show in Frankfurt last week.
Also at the show Ocean Spray's new European distributor Bolasco had its first outing. Formed by Bosch Boden Spies, Bolasco's offering is made up of functional and technical solutions based on fruit.