In recent times, there is an ever increasing awareness in human health and nutrition. This has increased the demand for products based on healthier food choices/groups such as fruits and other related products. Food products can draw more consumers if they have additional functional value. As consumers get more conscious about the significant role that food plays in keeping them healthy, they are always in search of products that promote wellness and provide prevention against diseases. Fruit products are getting increasingly popular due to this new and strong perception of consumers.
‘FRUITS’ is the catch phrase. Fruits are sources of a range of powerful antioxidants, Vitamins A, C & E, Minerals, Carotenoids, Fibers, Phyto chemicals such as flavonoids and many other Macro and micronutrients. All ‘Healthy Diet’ recommendations have FRUITS as an integral part.
India is the second largest producer of fruits and vegetables in the world, but processes only about 2 percent of the same, so the potential for fruit processing is huge.
There are a variety of Fruit products prevalent in the market.
Fruit Based beverages
Fruit based beverages are taking over a huge share in the market as people are shifting from Carbonated drinks to fruit based ones, considered to be more healthy. There are a variety of Fruit based beverages like drinks, nectars, juices, carbonated fruit drinks, Fruit ice teas, Fruit based Energy drinks, junior drinks, Breakfast drinks, Smoothies etc.
The beverages may be from a single fruit or a combination of fruits.
Major International players like PepsiCo, Coca Cola are introducing new innovative products in the market like Minute maid Pulpy Orange, Tropicana 100% juices (‘The goodness of whole fruit’). Local players like Dabur have also introduced new range of products like ‘Real Burst’. The competition is growing and the consumers are benefited by the new innovations lined up for them.
The word ‘Synthetic’ or ‘Artificial’ is well recognised as ‘Not good’ by consumers. The labels of products are so well studied before buying any product that everyone is trying to make their products More Natural.
Carbonated fruit based beverages are gaining momentum in the market with products like Appy Fizz and Grappo Fizz.
Even the manufacturers of Energy drinks are attracting attention by adding fruits and making it ‘More Natural’. For instance we have Cloud 9 Energy drinks with added fruit.
Fruit based Ice teas is another category which is gaining popularity in recent times; considered to be a refreshing alternative to the Cola’s and other Fizzy drinks.
Fruit based beverages can be enhanced further in health benefits by addition of value adding ingredients like Calcium, Vitamins, Minerals, fibers, Herbs like Ginkgo Biloba, Ginseng, wheat grass etc.
Fruit Based Dairy Products
Apart from beverages, dairy products is another segment, where milk’s nutritive value can be enhanced by adding fruits in it. Milk is considered to be a ‘Complete food’ rich in most of the essential nutrients. Addition of fruits makes it even more desirable and healthy
Fruitscan be added in the form of a Fruit Preparation which is prepared by mixing Fruit with Sugar, some water, Stabilizers, Flavours and colours by heat processing.
There are emerging new categories like Fruit crushes, Fruit syrups, Fruit cordials which are for multipurpose applications. Many companies are venturing into the catering business and providing innovative concepts to attract the attention of consumers.
We have a variety of products in the dairy category viz.:
Milk & Juice where milk is combined with the taste and goodness of fruits. The product is stabilized using special stabilizers to avoid the curdling of milk.
Set Fruit yogurt – In this, the fruit preparation is mixed with milk before incubation and the mixture is filled into cups.
Stirred fruit yogurts – In this product the fruit in the form of a fruit preparation is added to yogurt and then stirred and filled into cups. This generally contains fruit pieces.
Layered yogurt – Different layers of fruit and yogurt are incorporated to make an attractive product.
Drinking yogurt – This is prepared by diluting Yogurt with water and mixing rigorously. Fruit in the form of a fruit preparation or fruit syrup is added to provide the desired taste profile.
Frozen Yogurt – An emerging trend where fruit is incorporated in a Yogurt premix which is then whipped and frozen to form a frozen yogurt, this is similar to Ice cream but tastes more acidic.
Fruit ice creams are prepared by addition of fruit to the Ice cream premix and then whipped and frozen.
Fruit Whey drinks – Whey is the by-product of Cheese/Paneer industry. It’s an excellent source of protein and minerals. Addition of fruits makes it even more nutritious and enhances the overall acceptability of the product.
Smoothies are thick beverages which can be Yogurt based or Ice cream based combined with Ice and fruit. In both forms it is considered a very tasty combination.
Many new companies have introduced these innovative and healthy products into the market. For instance we have Yogurts from Nestle – Milkmaid Strawberry & Milkmaid Mango, Gelato Ice creams, Quality Walls Ice creams with fruit etc.
Probiotic fruit based yogurt drinks have also been introduced in the market. The trend is new to India but it’s very popular in other countries. With increasing awareness on Probiotics the products are being accepted by consumers and slowly the segment is growing.
It is important to educate the masses of the benefits of these products in order to grow this segment further.
The next segment is Bakery. Every small Bakery is trying to make more appealing products. There are attractive Fruit glazing’s which are used on top of cakes and pastries to give it a colourful glossy appearance.
Baking Jams and pastes are used in biscuits, cookies, cakes and muffins etc.
Fruit Fillings is another product which is widely used by the Hotel Industry.
Apart from the major categories we have some desserts, toppings which are prepared by addition of fruit and other ingredients.
Superfruits are catching everyone’s attention in recent times. These are fruits which have large amounts of antioxidants/phytonutrients which help to fight certain diseases and ailments. The most common superfruits are Acai, Noni, Gojiberry, Pomegranate, Mango steen, Cranberry, Seabuckthorn, Acerola and Blueberry. There are various other fruits with exceptional health benefits which are Superfruits. When added to different products these provide added benefits and enhance the overall acceptability of the product.
Fruits are among the healthiest and nutritious foods that can be consumed. Fruit in any form is beneficial. Rightly said ‘An Apple a Day Keeps the Doctor Away’