Fruit consumption is on the rise; it seems everyone is fascinated with health and wellness and is eating more fruit. At the same time, the healthy snacks market is quickly growing. The bakery sector is also undergoing a healthy transformation, with a marked shift towards “better-for-you” products. Food manufacturers have an exciting opportunity to stake a claim in these lucrative markets.

Fruit has some unique selling points. In terms of taste and texture, there is infinite variety. However, fruits’ whole-body health benefits, such as fiber and antioxidant delivery, are even more attractive to both snack and bakery manufacturers. It would seem, then, to be a simple thing to include fruit in any new snack or bakery product, due to instant “health appeal.”

Unfortunately, injecting fruit into a product is not so easy. Fruits are basically delicate in nature, and this fact has often caused roadblocks to the success of new fruit-based snacks or baked goods. Many fruits, in their raw state, simply cannot withstand processing from extreme heat, freezing or thawing, not to mention the kneading, mixing and handling that may be required. Manufacturers have had to compromise on quality, due to texture or shelflife issues, or fluctuating costs.

That is, until now. Ocean Spray’s Ingredient Technology Group, realizing that fruit’s true potential was compromised by its limitations as an ingredient for prepared foods, baked goods and snacks, developed BerryFusions® Fruits.

BerryFusions Fruits are highly process-tolerant, dried fruit pieces that enable manufacturers to include fruits traditionally difficult with which to work--i.e., strawberry, mango and orange--in any application. They can offer significant cost savings and are not subject to the fluctuating availability, quality and price associated with other fruits. Offering process tolerance, simplicity of use and versatility, BerryFusion Fruits are ideal for baked goods, confectionery and cereal bars, and work well as a fruit snack on their own.

For healthy snacks, such as cereal bars or fruit and nut mixes, fruit processing challenges, such as moisture migration, piece degradation and color bleed, have posed frustrating challenges. “Cereal bars can become unappealing and soggy, when certain dried fruits lose moisture over time. Freeze-dried fruits have an unpleasant texture and bitter, concentrated taste that some consumers find off-putting. With BerryFusions Fruits, manufacturers can add fruit--with its taste, color and natural appeal--without the problems,” says Kristen Borsari, senior marketing manager at Ocean Spray.

Because consumers today have begun reading the small print on labels, many manufacturers need to add fruit naturally, if they want to win (and keep) their market share. Unlike fruit “mimics,” such as artificial fruit pieces, extruded gums and jellies, BerryFusions Fruits are real fruit pieces with the taste, texture and health haloes of real fruit.

Recent research evaluated the antioxidant anthocyanin and proanthocyanidin (PAC) content of BerryFusions Fruits against other dried fruits, such as dried blueberry, cherry and strawberry. Blueberry BerryFusions were shown to contain twice the ORAC and nearly four times the proanthocyanidin levels of dried blueberries. In comparison with cherries, strawberries and raisins, BerryFusions Fruits showed significantly higher levels of anthocyanins, which include enhanced PACs for both cherries and
--Barbara T. Nessinger, Associate Editor

For more information:
Ocean Spray ITG • Lakeville-Middleboro, Mass.
Tom Jones • 508-946-7606 •

Cranberry Bran Muffins Recipe
Cranberry Bran Muffins

15 cups bran cereal
12.5 cups buttermilk
3.75 cups molasses
2.5 cups oil
1.25 cups honey
10 large eggs
15 cups flour
3tbsp + 1tsp baking soda
2.5tsp salt
7.5 cups sweetened dried cranberries or proprietary dried fruit pieces

1. Combine bran, buttermilk, molasses, oil, honey and eggs just until moist, using an electric mixer with a paddle attachment. Let stand 10 minutes or until bran has softened.
2. Combine flour, baking soda and salt in a separate mixing bowl.
3. Add dry ingredients to bran mixture. Mix just until dry ingredients are moistened.
4. Add sweetened dried cranberries or proprietary dried fruit pieces, mixing just until combined.
5. Using a #16 scoop, portion batter into greased or paper-lined 2.75-inch muffin tins.
6. Bake in a standard oven at 400°F for approximately 20 minutes or until muffins test done.

Yield:10 dozen muffins