Combining dried fruits and nuts in food is an international trend that not all New Zealand food manufacturers have capitalised on.
Dried fruits and nuts together add sweetness, texture and taste to a vast array of foods. Dried fruit is more layered and complex than fresh fruit and, combined with nuts, not only adds texture but offers an abundance of essential vitamins and minerals.
Nuts and dried fruits belong together. As an example, sweetened dried cranberries bring attractive points of colour, great taste, sweetness and a healthy profile. With the crunch and richness of walnuts, almonds or macadamias, they are an excellent combo for trail mixes, cereals, main meals, baked goods, cookies, desserts and much more.
Almonds or almond flour, for instance, adds a healthy alternative to white flour, is gluten free and creates opportunity to produce a value-added product line. Today, consumers are actively involved in managing their diets, increasingly looking for nutrient-dense foods to help support an overall healthy lifestyle. Almond flour easily transitions from traditional flour in recipes without compromising taste or texture, and offers a smooth mouth-feel and contains all of the health benefits of whole almonds – high in protein, fibre, antioxidants and healthy fats.
Food manufacturers can only benefit from the long shelf life and stability of dried fruits and nuts, compared to fresh options. When you consider the origins of dried fruits and nuts, and the fact they come from every continent, you will be adding global flavours, colour and texture to your food. By enriching products with this winning duo, you will create memorable flavours and give New Zealanders the opportunity to travel with their paletes.
The variety of dried fruits and nuts available in New Zealand is vast, therefore the opportunity for food manufacturers to create amazing combinations is huge. An excellent example of food combining is what bakers have produced with bread using seeds and grains to balance the flavour.
There have already been foods produced using combinations like chocolate, almonds and cranberries that create a unique flavour. Now is the time for New Zealand food manufacturers to let their creative juices flow, using dried fruit and nut combinations that will excite consumer’s taste buds.