American cranberry co-operative Ocean Spray has extended its ingredients line further with a new mixed berry variant of its Flavoured Fruit Pieces (FFP) and a glycerated version of the product.
The FPPs are already available in cherry, raspberry, strawberry and blueberry variants. The glycerated version allows food manufacturers to use natural fruit pieces in low moisture applications, such as cereals, oatmeal and bakery mixes, according to the group.
The range has an available water content of 0.45-0.53, compared with 0.5-0.62 in standard FPPs. This controlled water content ensures that moisture from the fruit pieces will not transfer to other ingredients.
Ocean Spray also launched a mixed berry variant of its FFP range at Food Ingredients Europe this week. The European market represents a growing share of the company's sales.
"We developed this ingredient in response to a request from a US customer who wanted to formulate a mixed berry cereal bar," said Ron McMillan, Ocean Spray's Europe manager.
"Mixed berry is a flavour that is extremely popular in the US and a trend that we predict will spread to Europe, given the positive reception of the cranberry and blueberry. One ingredient that blends several different flavours confers clear economic benefits as well as an original taste different to anything already on the European market."
Ocean Spray uses patented technology to make its FFPs, which involves adding natural flavours, juices and sweeteners to the fruit pieces and then spraying them with sunflower oil.
The company, which claims to have resolved its managerial problems of last year, is trying to build awareness of cranberries in the European market. It already has a significant presence in the Scandinavian markets and the UK, but considers France a key opportunity for growth, providing a base for expansion into other countries on its borders.
Arun Hiranandani, marketing manager at the firm, told NutraIngredients.com at FiE yesterday: "Europe is a key growth market for us over the next 5-7 years. We think there is more room for expansion in the UK and Germany."
He added that the firm has been in discussions regarding a possible health claim for cranberries and UTI on the French market. A number of studies have shown cranberries to help prevent infection in the urinary system. The fruit has also been associated with heart health, attributed to its high antioxidant content.
Earlier this year the co-operative replaced most of its board with a brand new set of faces. The group also claims that a recent move by the US government has helped rectify oversupply of the berries to an almost even balance with demand.