Consumers are attracted to products featuring whole food ingredients like huge, delicious blueberries that burst in the mouth. The visible, individual piece identity of blueberries emphasizes the perception of naturalness and wholesome goodness. Blueberries are easy to formulate for snacks, cereals and nutritious food products. They can be used whole, diced, fresh or dried, freeze-dried or in a new sugar-infused format, a slow natural infusion process that preserves vibrant color and flavor. Naturally-blue blueberries quickly are finding a place in the Hispanic spectrum, where bright colors add to the festive atmosphere surrounding celebrations, holiday feasts and even everyday meals. Blueberries are real, whole fruit which do not require time consuming-preparation like cutting up, peeling or pitting. Compared to nearly 40 other fruits and vegetables, blueberries rank highest in disease-fighting antioxidants. U. S. Highbush Blueberry Council, c/o Thomas J. Payne Market Development, 800-824-6395, info@ushbc.org, www.ushbc.org

The apple season is upon us! Tree Top custom processes an array of cost effective apple ingredients: evaporated, low-moisture, infused and fiber. In addition, dried fruit and vegetable purées, and specialty berry concentrates are available. Applications for Tree Top ingredients include bakery fillings, pies, cereals, fruit snacks, sauces and seasonings, canned fruits, baby foods and nutraceuticals. Tree Top Inc., Jeannie Swedberg, 509-698-1435, jswedberg@treetop.com, www.treetop.com

Carrot bread. Carrot cake. When the world reaches for carrots, they choose Grimmway Farms more often than any other brand. The company offers consistent quality with year-round availability. Their vibrant carrot juice products provide a healthy and colorful contribution to all foods, including juice blends, soups, condiments, ice creams and confectionery products. No matter the application, the company continues to lead the way with an extensive line of carrot and carrot juice products with quality that can be seen, tasted, and trusted. Grimmway Farms, Shem Oesch, 661-854-6230, soesch@grimmway.com

The rich, nutty flavor and crunchy texture hazelnuts bring to desserts not only dresses up the most ordinary of treats, but also adds a sense of sophistication. A national consumer research study shows a large percentage of Americans favoring baked goods enriched with hazelnuts for a sense of everyday indulgence, nostalgia or sophistication. Mixing hazelnut butter into confections and treats adds a sweet, nutty flavor, while adding hazelnut oil into chocolate mousse adds that distinct nutty taste. And for those looking for a crunchy texture, throw in some chopped hazelnuts, or sprinkle them on top of your favorite dessert for an attractive finish. Hazelnut Council, 206-270-HNUT, information@hazelnutcouncil.org

Lush, juicy red raspberries belong to the rose family. Like the rose, red raspberries are associated with love. Hence their nickname: the Loveberry. Loveberries meet today's consumers demands for vibrant, mouth-tingling taste, natural ingredients and great health benefits. Available fresh, IQF, straight pack, and in various concentrations of juices and purées, they provide flexibility and technical advantages to manufacturers. For formulations, technical assistance and samples visit their website. Washington Red Raspberry Commission, c/o Thomas J. Payne Market Development, 650-340-8311, info@red-raspberry.org, www.red-raspberry.org

For rich and creamy ice creams and frozen desserts with labels that say, "natural," reach for real eggs. Egg products naturally lend structural desirability while creating a smooth and silky texture. In fact, egg products have functional properties that do the job of many additives—naturally—with a clean ingredient label. Get formulas and/or technical assistance from the American Egg Board. American Egg Board, 877-488-6143 (toll free), www.aeb.org

No other ingredient adds so much to a formulation with its rich, buttery taste, crunchy texture, visual appeal and upscale image. California Almonds are a favorite ingredient in desserts for product developers and consumers alike. And with good reason, as their heart-healthy benefits recently have received a lot of attention and given them a “healthy halo.” For technical support, ideas and more, contact the Almond Board. California Almond Board, 209-549-8262, ltyndall@almondboard.com, www.almondsarein.com/manufacturers

Organic ingredients attract consumers with their heightened perception of wholesomeness. Gold Hills Nut Company has joined the ranks of many large and small progressive companies who are adding organic products to their brand line. Organic food sales have grown a whopping 20% per year during the past 10 years, compared to 1% per year for the food industry overall. The Gold Hills Nut Company is approved as an organic processor under the USDA's new organic laws, and is certified by the State of California and the California Certified Organic Growers (CCOF). Gold Hills Nut Company, 209-634-2022, info@goldhills.com, www.goldhills.com

Marrying the protein content of soy with the functionality of crisp rice, this soy protein rice nugget is packed with energy, is kind to manufacturing equipment and, best of all, adds consumer appeal. The nugget is a natural for energy and nutritional bars. It delivers a minimum of 50% protein content, but this level can be adjusted up to 80% or lowered, according to customer specifications. In addition to an attractive, clean nutritional profile, the ingredient offers increased bulk and improved texture. Weetabix continues to innovate and develop value-added ingredients to meet the most stringent specifications within the food industry. The Weetabix Company Inc., 978-368-0991, www.weetabixusa.com

Using whole almonds is not the only way to infuse foods with their distinctive taste. Hughson Nut Inc. offers natural and blanched almond flours and meals for use in the bakery, confectionery, health and snack food industries. The flour is stone ground, without additives or preservatives. Many diet and health professionals are suggesting the use of almond flour as a substitute or supplement. The flour is available in 25-lbs. boxes. Hughson Nut Inc., Martin Pohl, 209-883-0403, www.hughsonnut.com

Make desserts more enticing with bits of cookies on them. From famous brand names to its most wanted crumbs, bits, crèmes and sauces, Kraft Food Ingredients (KFIC) is the manufacturer's source for solutions in confectionery inclusions. Suitable for crusts, layers or toppings, Oreo® Pieces, Nilla® Wafer Crumbs and Nabisco® Graham Cracker Crumbs also work well as inclusions in both frozen and baked desserts. They add imagination to dairy foods including ice creams and yogurts. Kraft® Enrobing Caramel may be used as a stretchy center for candy, while the company's Miniature Marshmallows work well in fruit and gelatin salads and crisped rice bars. Kraft Food Ingredients, Jim Cali, 800-458-8324, jcali@kraft.com

These flavored inclusions are the ideal product for customers who want to improve shelflife, increase cost savings, and resolve perishability issues as well as reduce microbial growth when using real fruits in their baked goods. Bell Flavors & Fragrances and Parker Products have co-developed flavored inclusions to easily and quickly add intense, localized bursts of flavor to products such as breads, muffins and cookies. The inclusion is composed of a compound coating base with flavors, and has a shelflife of at least six months. These inclusions will deliver excellent flavor in an exceptional coating base and will not bleed into baked goods. Some popular flavors are blueberry, raspberry, brown sugar cinnamon, and maple brown sugar, and flavors can also be customized. Bell Flavors & Fragrances Inc., Steve Carlin, 847-291-8300, scarlin@bellff.com

Sliced, diced or in kernels, hazelnuts transform an everyday item into a special creation. Oregon Hazelnuts add a wonderfully unique flavor and crunch to baked goods, confections, cereals and dairy products. As meal, paste and butter, they lend flavor and texture to a variety of confections and other desserts. The union of hazelnuts and chocolate has been a European favorite throughout time. Capture the excitement of hazelnuts in your most innovative dessert idea! Hazelnut Marketing Board, 503-678-6823, hazelnut@oregonhazelnuts.org

A completely customizable flavor delivery system is designed to meet the specific requirements of manufacturers' taste, texture, aroma, color and mouthfeel requirements. BetrFX is available in a variety of shapes and sizes, including nuggets, flakes, rods and chips. Compound and complex flavor, color and texture combinations are made simple by using BetrFX. With the system's flexibility, one product can be used in a variety of ways: topically, in laminations, as inclusions, mixed throughout the product, in sweet and savory applications, baked or unbaked, even frozen. Loders Croklaan, 800-621-4710, www.croklaan.com

Originally developed through a patented co-crystallization technology, this flavor and texture modifier is available in a wide variety of forms to meet your formulation needs. Envision Flavor and Texture Modifier lets formulators take advantage of sweetener functionality by controlling the perceived sweetness of the product, allowing delicate flavors—such as fruit, chocolate, and subtle spices—to be more prominent. It is an ideal fondant for bakery or confectionery products, due to its extremely fine crystal structure. Domino Specialty Ingredients, 800-446-9762, dominospecialtyingredients@dominofoods.com, www.dominospecialtyingredients.com

Dried plums reduce fat and add nutrients to baked goods. They contain just 2.57 calories per gram compared to shortening, which contains 8.84 calories per gram. Replacing all or a portion of the shortening in a bakery formula not only reduces the fat content of the finished baked good but the calories as well. For bakers seeking natural ingredients to satisfy consumer demand for nutritionally enhanced bakery products without any loss of flavor and other sensory characteristics, dried plums are a perfect solution. California Dried Plum Board, 916-565-6232, www.californiadriedplums.org