The German ingredients company first launched its fruit-fillings, which are ready to use by manufacturers with or without the addition of flavourings, in Australia and New Zealand six years ago.
Following early success in those markets, snack bars consisting of a crispy pastry outside and a soft, fruity filling are now becoming more popular in Europe, Wild says. This opens up new opportunities for its products in that market; the company cited figures from Global Business Insights that the European snack bar market would be worth some €2.7bn by 2010.
A spokesperson at Wild told FoodNavigator.com that the first European product launch using its fillings took place in Greece this year. The demand is said to be partly spurred by interest in healthier eating, and attention to adequate intake of fruits and vegetables.
The fillings are available in classic flavours like apple and strawberry, but also in more exotic fruit varieties like passion fruit – and even combinations (orange-mango, for instance). This taps into consumers’ adventurous tastes, and desire to sample new and unusual fruit flavours.
Crucially for product quality, Wild has ensured that they are bake stable – that is, stay soft and fruit, and do not leak out of the pastry. The outer pastry, meanwhile, needs to remain crunchy.
The spokesperson explained this as being down to very low water activity and the use pectin as a binding agent.
In fact, when they were first launched in Australia and New Zealand, the fillings were starch-based, she said – but Wild found that pectin yielded better results and subsequently altered its formulation.
In keeping with Wild’s natural ingredient bent, the bar fillings do not require the addition of preservatives. Rather they have high Brix levels and a low pH value, which is said to give them a shelf-life of between six and nine months.
Brix is a common measure for the amount of sugar in a product. Degrees Brix (°Bx) refers to the mass ratio of dissolved sugar to water.
The spokesperson said that the fillings are typically 70 or 80 °Bx – that is, 70 or 80 grams of sucrose for every 30 or 40 grams of water.
Wild has a presence in some 70 countries worldwide; it manufacturers the fruit fillings at one of its production facilities in Germany, the spokesperson said.