Features

  • 11 Nov
    Powerful flavour trends

    Powerful flavour trends

    Functional flavours

    There is a vast array of incredible flavours out there, but shifting through the possibilities can feel like a minefield. Here, leading global ingredients manufacturer Treatt, explores the different trends in a COVID climate, and how juice producers can use flavours to find their niche in a changing world.

    The power of trends

    Working in the flavour industry is a craft that requires us to be a master of many trades. From botanical science and biochemistry, to supply chain management and understanding consumer behaviour, success in the sector requires the right team and the right investment, to ensure we can meet customer demand.

    Some are surprised to learn that the industry as a whole invests around 10% of its turnover into research and development (R&D). It’s a worthwhile endeavour – as a business we need to be agile, and brimming with constant creativity and innovation. Our customers trust us to be able to help them tap into the zeitgeist with flavours that deliver and will help their NPD fly.

    Critical as it is, taste cannot be relied on alone to achieve success. Trends can dictate any number of product credentials. Sustainability, for example, is no longer an optional nice-to-have. A study of 20,000 consumers in five countries revealed that one in three purchase products with sustainability in mind. We anticipate this trend will continue increasing at an unprecedented pace.

    Changing consumer demands around the world

    Inevitably, the effect of COVID-19 will leave its mark. Health and wellness was already extremely high on consumer agenda and the pandemic has fuelled further growth.

    Consumers are seeking comfort and familiarity from products and this has seen a resurgence in demand for traditional beverages. Health conscious consumers continue to seek out products with perceived health benefits such as immunity boosting, and the increased demand for citrus juices is one such example of the direct effect of this.

    As consumers wise-up to the health effects and sustainability of the products they are consuming, the breadth of products and variations of flavourings becomes ever wider. This is an extremely fast-changing process, with a need to not only keep up with the trends, but also be ahead of the next big thing. Beverages battling juices for space on shelf include nitro beverages and seltzers, which can fulfil many consumer needs.

    USA

    A tricky market, where consumers are forgoing juice for flavoured waters and iced coffees. Health is absolutely critical and consumers are seeking clean label beverages with natural flavourings from fruits, vegetables and herbs. Pear, lychee and lemon are the fastest growing flavours in this region.

    Functional energy drinks in the US are expecting sales to reach USD32 billion by 2025 – accounting for nearly 40% of the US market. Caffeinated fruit juice is a key trend within this that we can expect to see growing over the course of the next few years, with drinks providing not only functional health benefits but also the wake-up kick from the caffeination.

    UK

    Since the UK introduced the Soft Drinks Industry Levy – a tax on high sugar soft drinks – there has been an inevitable rise in the sugar-free or low-sugar beverage offerings from brands in the UK, putting pressure on naturally sugary juices, currently exempt from the legislation. This legal push marries with consumer demand for healthier beverages.

    Juices can overcome these challenges by providing functional beverages which answer other needs with perceived benefits, such as immune system boosting through antioxidants or ingredients which could aid stress relief.

    Caramel, melon and grape are the three big growing flavours in this market. Other key consumer drivers in this territory are good sustainability credentials and a rise in demand for vegan products.

    Europe

    2020 has seen a growing number of functional lines being introduced to the European market. The functional beverage market in Europe is projected to see a 6.5% growth between 2020 and 2025, a trend which has only been strengthened by the pandemic. As consumers are making more health-conscious decisions, and companies are taking measures to adapt their products to demand, this category is set to grow.

    In the near future for Europe, we will see an increase in the consumption of natural flavours, allowing nutrient-dense ingredients to dominate the European market.

    Keep an eye out for sugar cane, blue curacao and citron, which are leading the pack as Europe’s fastest growing flavours.

    Asia-Pacific

    Historically a strong region for the juice market, the emerging ‘middle-class’ have recently been consuming more on-the-go RTD beverages, with coffee and energy drinks increasingly popular, as consumers seek a caffeine buzz to keep up with their busy lives. The fastest growing flavours in APAC are bubble gum, cactus and yuzu.

    Supply

    COVID has seen businesses adapt to new working practices, including enforcing social distancing and working with reduced labour forces. Growers and processors are navigating similarly dramatic shifts in the fresh fruit markets. Many ports have been closed and ships unable to dock, heavily impacting the global supply chain.

    We have steadied our ship thanks to the strong relationships with our suppliers, and ensured an unwavering continuity of supply chain.

    With the shut-down of the food service sector, we’ve seen more fresh lemon fruit become available for processing. Demand in ginger has spiked as consumers seek ways to improve general health. Our High Impact Chemicals (HICs) continue to play an important role in meeting demand for products designed to be free from ingredients people can be allergic or intolerant to. New HICs hitting the market are providing creative flavours that provide an authentic taste profile. Our 5-Methyl-2-thiophenecarboxaldehyde provides sweet, almond, nutty, cherry and bready notes at 5ppm in formulations.

    While the pace of change can be daunting, there remains ample opportunities for fruit juice brands willing to create products which hit that consumer sweet spot.

    Visit Treatt.com to find out how we can help.

     

     

    By Caroline Calder Features
  • 11 Nov
    Trade opportunities in juice

    Trade opportunities in juice

    When opportunity knocks . . .

    A UK Essex-based drink supplier that was founded over a century ago has secured a deal to sell its organic fruit juices to Japanese businesses through to April 2021. This latest Japanese deal was secured after the Department for International Trade (DIT) assisted the company to attend trade shows and meetings in Japan, where it met new customers.

    In 2016, Gerald McDonald opened an office in Kobe and DIT is currently providing advice on trademark registration in the country. Marketing Director at Gerald McDonald, Maxim McDonald said We are proud to be a British family business and to keep the legacy of my great-grandfather going. Japan has been our biggest exporting step; it is an exciting market and our future focus. It is going to be big for our business and we are in the process of developing our website for future online sales in Japan.”

    UK Secretary of State for International Trade Liz Truss commented: “The trade deal we signed with Japan was a historic moment and will offer tariff-free trade on 99% of UK exports to Japan, creating new opportunities for people in the East of England and helping level up the whole country.

    Gerald McDonald was originally founded by spice trader Gerald McDonald in 1917, its main customers were in the UK, back when spices were still very exotic products for the British consumer. Following the Second World War, the company was granted a government licence for the importation of bulk fruit juices, as there was a huge government drive to get children consuming more minerals and vitamins which they were lacking. This is how we started in juices and concentrates.

    A major milestone came in 2000, comments Maxim, moving from London to Basildon, in order to set up their own warehouse and blending facilities. “We realised we could not stay competitive as just a trading company in the City.”

    Roll on to today and the self-named business is now managed by his grandson Gerald and great-grandson Maxim. From its headquarters in Basildon, UK, the juices are exported to over 20 countries, with international sales accounting for 20% of Gerald McDonald’s £27 million average turnover. Gerald McDonald also exports its popular Japanese Yuzu juice outside of Japan and creates bespoke juice mixes at its headquartered blending facility.

    So how did the Japanese contract come about, we asked Maxim McDonald?

    “The DIT supported us in Japan with travel and tradeshow funding. In Japan it is crucial to be present and active in the market in order to gain respect, so this was a huge help for us.

    Japan has always been a fascinating country to me, so different yet so similar in certain ways. For food and drink it’s one of the most exciting countries in the world with a strong national cuisine but also with a great appreciation of other food cultures. Japanese consumers are incredibly adventurous which leads to a very exciting drink market…where else would you find a pancake flavour drink?!”

    What have been the biggest challenges of late?

    “No doubt Covid-19 has been problematic due to the uncertainty, but also Brexit in terms of stockpiling. We hope for a deal with the EU, but now we have measures in place to ensure that exports/imports will continue running smoothly whatever the outcome.

    “Despite the pandemic, the organic market is growing again, and we have strong connections to organic citrus growers which places us in a good position to offer ingredients to food and drink manufacturers.

    “We have a large portfolio of fruit concentrates, NFCs, purees and essential oils that we hold in stock. We have no MOQs and so are very flexible with volumes. At our onsite blending facility we make compounds, aseptic products and repack into small or large units.

    “Covid has affected everyone in food and drink as customers eating and drinking habits have markedly changed and we have to try and adapt to this. We obviously have to keep production going while also maintaining a safe environment for our workers, but staff who can, do work from home. Fortunately, all our processes have been coping and working fine.”

    “I believe the more free trade agreements countries can have, the better, easier and more competitive business will be, which in the end should benefit customers. We want to excel at customer service and be as flexible as possible – our customers have enough to worry about selling their own products.”

    What product developments are you most proud of?

    “Not all NPD leads to success as its very trial and error, but we have created some very interesting and great tasting blends for customers, and it is always very satisfying after spending a long time with a client creating and working on a new drink to see it come to fruition. “

    Tell us about Yuzu juice and what makes it special

    “It is a Japanese citrus with a very interesting and complex taste- like a cross between a lemon, mandarin and grapefruit. The juice we offer retains 100% of the essential oil which gives it a really powerful depth. It’s a very important product for the company as we look at new markets.”

    So what next for the company?

    “We are looking for partners and agents we can work with in other regions such as the Middle East, Africa and Asia where we know we have something to offer. If you’re interested in working with us, do get in touch.”

    By Caroline Calder Features
  • 11 Nov
    Sustainable juice production in Guatemala

    Sustainable juice production in Guatemala

    Sustainability 

    Popoyán Modern Agriculture Model: A Proven Sustainable Approach for Creating Prosperity for Rural Communities in Guatemala 

    Popoyán´s theory of change is centered round developing high productivity and resilient projects, which integrate the agricultural value chain under a cluster solutions model. With it, Popoyán connects our high-performance production model to high-value markets generating prosperity for all those participating in the value chain. These projects have been a means for positive impact towards the stability of the regional food supply, while also generating sustainable employment and prosperity for the surrounding communities with which good relations have been sustained since the beginning of operations. Within Popoyán’s theory of change, agroindustry plays a key role to scale up production and accelerate shared value implementation.

    Popoyán has different business units that provide solutions for every step of the agricultural process – nursery, ag-inputs distribution, biological solutions that act as an alternative way to manage plant pests and diseases, commercialization of fruits and vegetables, centers for research and technology transfer, production farms, processing plants for fruit juice and purée. Our shared value accelerator projects represent our efforts to accelerate the achievement of our long-term goals to create value for the organization, its workers, and the smallholder farmers and the communities who are our partners. Through our model, we can reach prosperity in communities within an average of three to four years what otherwise could be accomplished in ten years.

    This shared value business model is private-led and integrates social-economic results as part of the core business at par with financial, operational, and market goals. It is divided into two pillars; the first one in our farms, where we produce MD2-pineapple, papaya, avocado, tomatoes, bell peppers, and a variety of berries for the international and local fresh markets. Farms integrate solutions to social needs through new business using technical expertise, knowledge, and a culture of innovation.

    Popoyan works with employees and their families to improve health and education and implement sustainable operations wherever we work with more than 7,000 people directly benefitting. Our collaborators’ growth is fundamental to shared success and our programs cooperate with our workers to build adequate housing, earn educational degrees, allow access to preventive healthcare and other services.

    Part of the long-term strategy to increase the development effect towards more people in Guatemalan communities surrounding our farms is to increase the scalability of our operations to generate more employment and a more sustainable impact. Agricultural industrialization was the approach that Popoyán took to achieve growth in the production area, and through its Tukan Foods business unit has invested in a processing plant for MD2 pineapple, papaya, mango, and passion fruit, in organic and baby food qualities to access high-value markets around the world.

    The second pillar is being implemented in the most vulnerable communities of Guatemala, where most of the smallholder farmers are located. Smallholder farmers represent an important market segment for the ag-input distribution business unit of Popoyán, and our Shared Value strategy invests in the development of the smallholder farmers to increase their yields and improve the quality of the different fresh produce that is sold in markets increasing their value. Popoyán is replicating its lessons learned from the first pillar scaling them to be applicable by the smallholder farmer of Guatemala.

    With private funds alone, our approach can reach a limited number of people in time, however, by partnering with different foreign cooperation counterparts to create public-private partnerships we can scale-up and accelerate our shared value. In the last seven years, we have been able to expand our reach to more than 50,000 people and their families benefiting directly. Our public-private partnerships have been a first of its kind and aim to reduce poverty and chronic malnutrition in Guatemala through an innovative and validated approach using economic corridors that strategically align market opportunities with existing and potential production, logistic routes, climates, altitudes, micro, and macro watersheds and address the vulnerability of chronic malnutrition.

    Popoyán has invested in four Centers for Rural Technological Development, that strategically connect economic corridors and serve as technology transfer centers for different agriculture technologies. These centers will also serve as collection centers for consolidating produce delivered from vulnerable areas and will include processing facilities for different crops that have demand in the juicing industry, to reach the desired impact in rural communities.

    Prosperous communities include not only people’s well-being but also the conservation of the surrounding natural reserves and wildlife. Our integral approach towards rural development takes into consideration the preservation of the environment as a transversal axis among all of our projects. In both implementation strategies of our shared value, we use environmentally friendly production methods, conservation of unexploited jungle and wildlife, watershed management, and efficient and sustainable use of resources. This involves not only the physical work being done but also encouraging behavior change among the inhabitants of the communities using continuous education and knowledge transfer to move towards a more sustainable country. Popoyán dedicates 50% of its territory as a natural reserve, crop management technology has allowed to increase production yields, to produce more in the same amount of land available.

    Agricultural industrialization, specifically for juice, pulp, and purée processes has allowed Popoyán to access and diversify to markets around the world. This was the next logical step that Popoyán needed to take as a company to scale up production and create more employment. Popoyán´s agroindustry, combined with the fresh produce production operations made it possible to increase positive impact in the most needed areas of Guatemala.

     

    By Caroline Calder Features
  • 29 Sep
    Serbia – A burst of flavours from every corner

    Serbia – A burst of flavours from every corner

     

    Juice specialist Remer Lane reports for FJF on the world of juice according to Serbia with insights into the unique fruits and flavours that make for award-winning juices.

    Friday morning, August 28, 2020, I turned the cap on the Life Premium Sour Cherry Juice. The aroma of the Oblacinska Cherry immediately stimulated a memory that carried me 17-years back in time to Serbia. I was sitting in a cafe on Lake Palic in Subotica. There, over 4 bottles of an exceptional Pannonian dry white wine, I outlined a strategy, debated, challenged, and cajoled the CEO of Fresh & Co Juice company to put Raspberries in a bottle. Within 3-years Coca-Cola Hellenic Bottling had acquired the company. Over the three preceding years, that 100% Raspberry Juice had been awarded the World’s Most Innovative Juice at the World Juice Conference in 2004 and millions of bottles were in stores and cafes across Europe and in the US.

    Next Juice was a synonym for a vibrancy of change and innovation sweeping the former Yugoslav Republic, and the re-opening of a hidden market of amazing fruits bred exclusively to produce some of the world’s finest juices. The Willamette Raspberry, The Stanley Plum, the Oblacinska Cherry and Senga Sengana Strawberry are well known fruit varieties, offering the highest flavour, colour and dry matter solids over any other processing fruits. There is a reason Serbia is the largest exporter of frozen raspberries in the world.

    At the first taste, the burst of cherries overwhelmed my senses. The small particulates of fruit provided a texture as if fresh pressed in the kitchen. Naturalness truly represents the best a juice should be for all consumers.

    My reminiscing continued… It’s now 2008 and I’m hiking along the trails of Mt. Kaopanik in Southern Serbia. Vaso Lekic, a food purist for all that’s natural and healthy, has launched a new product line called Terra Organica. As we walk the surroundings of his processing plant, we can smell the smoke from grilling peppers that will soon be stripped and stewed into a delicacy of roasted red peppers spread called Ajvar. Vaso wants to do more and he believes the wild organic fruits of Southern Serbia offer some amazing potential. He casually picks a wild strawberry from the hillside and looks at me in wonderment. This is his next product.

    Without delay, he’s organized the local population surrounding the mountain to collect the fruit, preserve the environment and assure a future sustainable crop. The fruit was pressed in his mountainside kitchen and so was born Terra Organica’s Wild Strawberry Juice and Serbia’s second World Juice Innovation Award.

    Today, Serbia has the largest juice company in Southeastern Europe Nectar-Fructal with full vertical integration from field to consumer. There are up to 12 fruit juice processing plants in the country with exports exceeding USD50 million. Austria and Germany are the key importers by value with Raspberry, Sour Cherry and Apple as the leading exported concentrates with an expectation that Blueberry will soon be in the mix due to a significant surge in plantings. The juice this country produces is traditional, colourful and filled with flavour, it’s the naturalness and purity that truly represents what juice should be.

    I’ve just returned from my most recent visit to Serbia, two weeks of social distanced meetings and masks to learn more about the current state of industry in the country. I am further convinced that the quality of fruit that this small country produces is truly some of the finest in the world. Such a pleasant alternative to global politics and the pandemic.

    As I finish my Sour Cherry Juice, I wonder, is this the next winner? Will this Sour Cherry be the next to take home the recognition of being one of the best juices in the world? It is for me…

    Remer Lane is an international investment banker with Heritage Capital Group / Oaklins based in Savannah, GA. He has spent the last 35 years working with the food and juice industries playing a number or roles from field production to processing to offering a product to the final consumer.

     

     

     

    By Caroline Calder Features
  • 14 Sep
    EU Trade – Are you prepared for the UK’s exit from the EU customs union?

    EU Trade – Are you prepared for the UK’s exit from the EU customs union?

    Frank Dunsmuir, Fujitsu’s Head of Customs and International Trade, is responsible for thinking about this question and how a technology company like Fujitsu could provide some of the answers.

    The UK has been a member of the EU customs union for 47 years, which has facilitated the free movement of goods across the EU’s internal borders. How will the UK and EU avoid disruption to the vital trade in goods via road freight once it has formally exited the EU?

    Following the UK referendum vote to leave the EU on the 23rd June 2016, the Withdrawal Agreement was finally signed on January 31st, 2020, and the UK officially exited the EU. We are now in a transition period until the end of 2020, after which new customs procedures, and potentially tariff payments, will be introduced on goods moving between the UK and the EU.

    Trade in goods between the UK and EU is worth more than £430 billion annually, and vital to the health of both economies. In the run up to the end of the transition period the UK and the EU are locked in negotiations to agree a new Free Trade Agreement (FTA), with the intent of minimising disruption on this trade.

    But even with an FTA new customs administration such as declarations will still be required, and additional checks on some types of goods, including food products, will be required at ports of exit and entry. This administration adds cost, and increasing the number and nature of physical checks at ports threaten to disrupt existing supply chains.

    Fresh food, livestock and perishable foods are some of the most at risk commodities if delays are introduced at ports of exit and entry. The UK is highly dependent on the EU for its food supply, providing over 30 percent of its total requirements. The fruit and vegetable sectors are disproportionally represented with approximately 76 percent of vegetable imports and 41 percent of fruit and nuts imports originating from the EU.

    The bulk of this trade is transported by road freight, making the ports of Dover and EuroTunnel the busiest road freight RoRo (roll on roll off) ports in Europe. Handling a staggering average of 17,000 freight vehicles per day, worth an estimated £120bn in trade, leaves no spare time to stop and check vehicles in the ports without causing major congestion. Even moving these checks to special sites near the ports may not remove the threat of congestion.

    At the end of the transition period the UK will once again be in control of its borders. It therefore has the opportunity to develop and implement advanced border management solutions which ensure these supply chains and associated trade are not disrupted by new customs procedures and physical checks.

    We can turn for inspiration to a examples of global best practice in the efficient management of road freight border crossings. Often referred to as the ‘Drive Through Border’ (DTB) concept, a combination of policy and technology initiatives enable ‘smart’ freight vehicles to be automatically processed and pass unhindered through border crossing points.

    The foundations of a DTB are based on advanced Trusted Trader schemes (such as the EU’s Authorised Economic Operator ‘AEO’ scheme), enabling access to simplified customs procedures, which can be supported by technology to move checks away from the physical border. The promise of unhindered passage through the border and access to simplified customs procedures also reduce administration and supply chain costs to traders.

    The concept of a DTB is in action on borders across the world;

    Trials on the Canadian-USA border are in place today with FAST lanes allowing pre-registered vehicles to be automatically processes and rapidly cross the border.  In a similar way, pre-registered vehicles crossing the Norwegian-Swedish border experience significantly reduced processing times and delays.

    Meanwhile, closer to home, the port of Eurotunnel in Ashford in collaboration with its French counterpart of Coquelle has developed and tested a DTB concept to automate customs and border processing to maintain the flow of vehicles through its facilities. Freight vehicles are obliged to pre-register their vehicle and cargo details on their new ‘paring’ platform which electronically links customs declarations with the associated vehicles.  On entering the Eurotunnel port, the paring document is scanned and French customs administration are notified of the imminent departure of the vehicle and goods from the UK.  They are able to pre-clear or assign vehicles for mandatory inspections and spot checks, for example those containing controlled goods such as food, on arrival into Coquelle.

    The UK has also hinted at a DTB concept playing a role in its future border strategy. Its recently published new Border Operating Model[1] describes the processes it will introduce to manage road freight between the UK and the EU. This model includes a new platform called the Goods Vehicle Management System (GVMS) which will collect consignment data for each vehicle journey in a similar way to the Eurotunnel system, helping to automate some of the processing at other ports such as Dover.

    The government has also recently published a consultation document on what the UK’s future border management strategy may be, which looks to maximising the promise of benefits from new and emerging technology[2].  At Fujitsu we are continually investing our research into the role technology has to play in the future management of the UK’s border.

    Fujitsu’s concept of a DTB for the UK has four main features which support the ability for freight vehicles to enter and exit sea ports as seamlessly as possible:

    1. Data is collected electronically for each journey and assigned to the vehicle or trailer, including; customs documents, invoice details, vehicle / trailer ID, and drivers ID.
    2. Border agencies (UK & EU) are automatically notified of a vehicle’s imminent arrival into the port of exit, together with the nature of its consignment(s)
    3. Pre-arrival checks and processing can be performed by the corresponding port of entry while the vehicle is at the port of exit or onboard the carrier (ferry or train) making its way to the port of entry
    4. Prior to arrival at the port of entry, vehicles can be pre-sorted into pre-cleared or requiring checks lanes or facilities.

    The main challenges for exporters of food and animal products will be the requirement to demonstrate proof of origin of their goods, together with compliance to the EU, or UK, market standards depending on intended final destination. For example, goods imported from Spain into the UK would need to be compliant to UK standards and adhere to customs administration processes.

    These types of checks typically need to happen at border points of exit and entry, in the EU – UK case that will mean the major sea ports. Fujitsu’s DTB concept, combined with a Trusted Trader scheme could be used to move such checks away from the ports. For example, a registered orange producer in Spain exporting produce to the UK could use the DTB platform to transport these goods. At the point of dispatch the goods are checked, health certificates issued and they are approved to be exported. On approaching the port of exit, for example Calais, the Smart truck which is transporting them sends information digitally to the port and border agencies informing them of the nature of the goods, sharing the customs declarations and health certificates, together with their status as a trusted trader. In this scenario the vehicle should be subject to a low percentage of random physical checks at both ports of exit and entry.

    In summary, the ‘Drive Through Border’ concept combined with an enhanced Trusted Trader scheme would enable:

    • Goods vehicles to move with minimal friction through the channel crossing ports
    • Regulatory checks on goods and food products to be performed ‘in market’, reducing the need for additional physical checks at the border
    • Automation of customs administration, reducing cost to industry and government agencies
    • Health and security standards to be maintained through in-market monitoring
    • The acceleration of the introduction of simplified customs procedures such as self-assessment.

    Fujitsu believes that, by working collaboratively with government and industry, innovative technology solutions can play a major role in establishing a future border management capability to support the highly efficient movement of goods between the UK and the EU.

    [1] https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/the-border-operating-model

    [2] https://www.gov.uk/government/consultations/2025-uk-border-strategy-public-consultation/2025-uk-border-strategy-public-consultation

    By Caroline Calder Features
  • 14 Sep
    The future of Passion Fruit consumption

    The future of Passion Fruit consumption

    Passion Fruit

    Over the past 25 years, Quicornac has evolved from being a small scale passion fruit producer to a thriving, high capacity multinational shipping passion fruit and mango NFC and concentrate to over 32 countries around the world. What’s next for passion fruit?  Harry Frei, Executive at Quicornac and Ricardo Merino, Commercial Manager talks to FJF to tell us more about this unique flavored fruit.

    Passion for the fruit

    Passion fruit has two things that stand out from the rest: Its name – passion and its taste. Adding a little passion to your life mixed with a flavour that is both tropical and intense, are the two things that stand out the most, say the company. A taste so unique, no other fruit provides the same level of experience. It has to be one the tastiest, most experience-rich flavour there is. It’s the perfume of fruits. There are also added nutritional benefits of the fruit besides its taste.

    Functional benefits

    Passion fruit has great added benefits with a healthful nutritional profile. It contains high levels of Vitamin A, which is important for skin, vision, and the immune system, and vitamin C, which is an important antioxidant. Passion fruit is rich in antioxidants, which are compounds that help to mop up harmful free radicals in the body.

    Antioxidants play a vital role in keeping the body systems healthy. Scientists know that antioxidants improve blood flow, specifically to the brain and nervous system. Passion fruit has also a low glycemic index (GI) value. This means that it does not cause a steep increase in blood sugar after consuming it, making it a good option for people with diabetes. Passion fruit is loaded with heart-healthy potassium and is also low in sodium. Passion fruit is rich in magnesium, an important mineral that scientists have linked with decreased stress and anxiety. There is so much to love about this fruit.

    Our growers make the difference

    “Like in any fruit, quality comes from the fields, says Harry Frei. “We have a team of agronomists whose sole purpose is to teach farmers how to produce the right quality. This means from selecting the best seed or seedlings, to harvesting in a safe and dedicated manner. While passion fruit is a robust fruit once picked, it needs to arrive to our processing locations as quickly as possible to preserve the best aroma and juice properties.”

    Market opportunities

    The most significant markets for passion fruit products, are currently the EU, USA, and some parts of Asia. “We see a solid urgency of demand in Asia as locals begin familiarizing with the fruit.”Ricardo Merino reports.

    “It is difficult to pinpoint exact market size, but we estimate a total export market between 22.000 to 25.000 MT of 50 brix equivalent. This includes converted NFC which should account to around a third of the total market. The market size refers to known exports from main producing areas such as Brazil, Colombia, Ecuador, Peru, and Vietnam. There is also a strong local consumption which accounts to juice products that stays in the country of origin, for example in Brazil, Colombia, China, Peru and Vietnam that does not show in the export statistics.”

    Increasing demand

    “We estimate the demand has been rising over the last 20 years at a rate of 2-3 % per annum. Biggest swings up or down have been due to supply/demand and crop cycles, which has been traditionally variable over the last 10 years or so however, as new producing regions like Peru have begun to produce in larger quantities, and now recently Vietnam.

    “Since then, the price has stabilized in a much narrower trading range and has helped the demand pick up. We believe that the trading range will be even narrower in the coming years as there are multiple origins that can produce passion fruit.” Comments Ricardo Merino.
    Keeping pace

    “All the work has been in promoting farmers and helping them produce more, “says Harry Frei. “We all know that adding capacity or setting up a new processing site is relatively easy, but having control of the fruit supply is key.

    “90% of our work evolves around our farmers network; constantly promoting the crop, helping them with new farming techniques and provide them with better seed. The fresh local consumption has also helped as farmers net higher prices from the local market.

    “They now average much better returns than in the past, in fact most farmers today take better care of their plantations and are motivated to continue producing more in areas where local consumption is solid. This is the case of Peru where we estimate that more than 30% of the fruit stays local. In Ecuador, most of the fruit goes to factories so producers traditionally get a lower average return.

    “But there are other conditions that favour Ecuadorean producers such as shorter distances, excellent soil conditions, crops all year, plenty of water for irrigation and good demand from producing factories all year long. Ecuador still produces the best tasting passion fruit and more reliable supply than any other region in our opinion.”
    A great source of pride

    Harry Frei comments “We continually adjust our production lines to produce the best of juice, at the lowest possible impact. Many of the equipment we own given our vast experience have been tailored made and designed in our shops to treat the delicate passionfruit. We have, since 1989, leading not just the production and the export of passion fruit, but also lead the promotion of passion fruit juice worldwide.

    “We are proud to see many of the biggest juice companies using passion fruit in their product range today. And not just juice. There are plenty of other food applications where you can find passion fruit in. This process was not easy, took us years, traveling and lots of investment to continue expanding both our farmers and customer base. Even to this day.”
    What makes us unique

    “We are focused on one fruit: Passion fruit. While we also have mango because many of our farmers also produce this fruit nearby, passion fruit is what we are known and proud for, says Ricardo Merino. “While obviously the market for passion fruit is much smaller that say, mango, we pride ourselves to be the leader in this niche, and as we say, we prefer to be the mouse head than the lion’s tail.”
    What does the future hold

    Harry Frei comments “Besides the traditional markets, launching new products every year with passion fruit, we see Asia as a new potential market. Their local production of passion fruit is helping fuel local demand and also, they are also starting to like the taste for the fruit a lot. It is not uncommon now to see street vendors selling a refreshing passion fruit juice alongside local dishes in many parts of Cambodia, China, Laos, Taiwan, Thailand, and Vietnam.

    “The USA is also a big market to keep an eye on, as more Latino influence boost the consumption of passion fruit. It is key however that the fresh fruit demand also grows (fruit imported from other countries), so that the fruit becomes more of a staple rather than an exotic garnish or occasional treat.”

     

    Keeping customers happy

    “We need to make sure we produce on time and deliver our goods to our customers as promised. While certainly we work with our existing customer base providing them with timely information about crop cycles and pricing, we also look for each country main juice producing companies and work hand in hand, first with their R&D department, comments Ricardo Merino
    Sustainability credentials

    “Since 1989, we have been focusing on sustainability”, comments Harry Frei. “Every day we support our Ecuadorian and Peruvian farmers providing them with technical support and the promise of buying their crop. Our technicians give them access to qualified advice and drive them to be more efficient at their fields.

    “Since 2015 we have carried out SMETA audits in both of our factories, focusing our sustainable strategy on ethical trade, responsible sourcing, health, security and environmental compliance. And since 2020, we have started our sustainability program on farms. Our aim is to achieve 10% of our passionfruit production under FSA Bronze level by 2021. This sustainability assessment contributes to farmers’ economic viability as well as environmental and social compliance. Every year, we raise the bar.”
    Challenges of the Covid-19 year

    “We have always focused on the human pillar and during this pandemic our commitment was no different,“ comments Harry Frei. “Since the beginning, we provided protective personal equipment and sanitization materials to our people. We have also implemented safety procedures for everyone attending to our process facilities. As for our fruit suppliers, we have maintained our early-payment policy; giving them stability to continue in business. Additionally, we have contributed with donations to our local communities to help them cover basic needs.

    “The pandemic has affected our supply chain in many ways. While the Ecuadorian and the Peruvian governments have restricted circulation, and created multiple mobility requirements across many sectors, we have come out strong by following local laws and guidelines, working alongside with our fruit suppliers and transportation. To this date, more than 95% of our fruit supply chain has returned to pre-covid times.
    “We have learned a lot. No matter how important is how we conduct business, it’s all boils down to people. Luckily, technology has been helpful in bridging this gap. Imagine if we would have just a facsimile like in the old days. Today, we can say, we are more than ever closer to our farmers and customers. Technology and pandemic have definitely changed our working practices in several aspects. This allowed us to be more efficient with our time and resources,” Ricardo Merino concludes.

    Quicornac

    Almost 30 years of growth fuelled with quality products, product innovations, and investment in new technologies has positioned Quicornac as a leader in the juice raw material processing industry. Founded in 1989, the company is a privately held company headquartered in Guayaquil, Ecuador, and employing around  500 people in Ecuador and Peru.

     

    By Caroline Calder Features
  • 14 Sep
    Juice and alcohol/alternatives 

    Juice and alcohol/alternatives 

    Redefining juice

    Today people want to be productive and at the same time feel healthy and well – not just physically, also mentally. Diet plays a crucial role in this. It is obvious that juice today is much more than just a thirst quencher. Gerd Diefenthäler, Innovation & Market Intelligence Manager for Austria Juice reports.

    While health and wellbeing have never been as high on the list of values of global consumers as they are today, the hit list of drinks has also changed dramatically in recent years. Not long ago, for example, beer, wine, champagne, sparkling wine, cocktails and long drinks were simply a part of enjoying parties, private celebrations and relaxing evenings at home.

    Today, alcoholic drinks are increasingly replaced by alcohol-free or at least alcohol-reduced alternatives. ‘Mocktails’, for example, are the non-alcoholic successors to cocktails – and juices made from a wide variety of fruits and berries are the main players in their preparation.

    But that’s not all, consumers all over the world are not only looking for healthy ‘free from’-drinks, but also for drinks that actively promote their health. Today they search for holistic solutions that help them to change their lifestyle in all areas of life. The ingredients in food and drinks should be natural and ideally organic, the production sustainable, the taste unique and surprising with the ‘wow effect’, the value for the body or mind should be targeted and clear. Juices play an important role with their flavours and valuable ingredients.

    Mixed juice drinks for relaxation and concentration

    There is enormous potential in juices, smoothies and mixed drinks made from juices with teas or functional water for holistically improving health and meeting the needs of modern consumers. The demand for products like this is increasing worldwide: According to the market research institute Mintel, 40% of adults in Chile and Australia state that their diet should also raise their energy level – in India 49% share this opinion. Worldwide, 52% of consumers are interested in products that help reduce stress. 45% have changed their diet with the aim of improving their sleep, especially since sleep problems are becoming more and more common due to the increasing occurrence of stress, depression and anxiety.

    Herbs and herbal ingredients are said to effect health clearly: 60% of consumers worldwide are of the opinion that botanicals have a positive effect on their health. This is why the use of juices in combination with ingredients such as chamomile, lavender or hops, which improve sleep and relaxation, is increasing in the development of beverages in the functional drinks category.

    The addition of B vitamins, adaptogens and nootropic substances promotes concentration and alertness and antioxidants help detoxify.

    Stand out ingredients

    The rising stars of beverage ingredients include adaptogens, which are natural substances that help the body to adapt to increased stressful situations without having an overstimulating effect. CBD, turmeric, ginseng, rose root and ashwagandha are certainly the best-known examples that are more and more finding their way into the recipes of beverage manufacturers.

    Juice drinks strengthen the immune system and eye health

    Since COVID-19, strengthening the immune system has also climbed the list of priorities of consumers. Therefore citrus and berry juices come into focus because of their high vitamin C- and antioxidant content. Likewise, consumers demand for fast, nutrient-rich food and beverage solutions, which are available in the form of clean label juice shots, is also increasing.

    Since people nowadays usually spend several hours in front of different kinds of screens, – professionally and privately alike – the attention towards eye health is rising: Vitamin A, zinc, riboflavin or DHA can be added to juices to specifically promote eye health. Carrot juice is also suitable here because it contributes to a healthy lifestyle and supports eye health with vitamin A naturally.

    Hydration with less fruit juice content but full flavour

    For the participants of a worldwide survey by Mintel, ‘healthy’ means – among other things – that food contains no artificial ingredients and little fat, that they are a good source of vitamins and minerals and convince with low calories and a high fiber content. As a result, soft drinks with a high water content and a lower juice content continue to have potential on the market due to lower calories and the valuable ingredients of juice.

    Additionally, sugar reduced juice concentrates come into play in nowadays beverage developments, too. The new success-factor for beverages and juices are also (new) taste experiences.

    ‘Taste Experience’ is a current megatrend that is impressively shaping the world of the food and beverage industry. It’s about pure consumer experiences, about taking the consumer on an adventure triggered by sensory, visual and haptic experiences. Unusual, spicy or exotic flavour combinations, which especially in times of COVID-19 and travel restrictions conjure a bit of travel-flavour into the glass at home, ensure new taste adventures. The possibilities for using fruit and vegetable juices are therefore diverse – in terms of taste and concept.

    New beverage concepts require know-how

    The development of new beverage concepts, especially with the use of fruit and vegetable juices, brings also challenges that require appropriate market knowledge and extensive know-how for the exact matching of ingredients. Products with fruit juice often have a complex product matrix. They contain e.g. water, fruit juice, sugar, aroma, coloring foods, vitamins, edible acids, stabilizers, etc. – and even the smallest adjustments to the dosage of an ingredient can make the difference between a completely unstable product or perfect product stability. For example, it is important to prevent flocculation, cloudiness, sedimentation or rapid product aging in terms of taste. Depending on the ingredient, external influences such as temperature or UV radiation must also be taken into account.

    Stabilizing the drinks is crucial

    In the case of alcoholic beverages such as mixed beer beverages, cider or hard seltzer, the interaction of the alcoholic base such as beer, cider and fermented glucose with fruit juice makes it difficult to stabilize the drink. Roughly, the following applies here: the higher the alcohol content, the higher the risk of flocculation. Low alcohol contents of up to 2.5% ABV are often not a major problem. Stabilizations above that are also possible.

    Long-term reproducibility also plays an important role for all industrially produced beverages. The standardization of the raw materials is essential, so that the juices are expertly blended from different qualities after the harvest in order to guarantee the consumer a consistent quality.

    At Austria Juice the know-how is bundled in one source – from market research to the beverage concept, from fruit growing to the finished recipe and ingredient supply. In this way we offer our customers the best possible support for their diverse projects.

    By Caroline Calder Features
  • 13 Jul
    Poland – It’s more than just apples

    Poland – It’s more than just apples

    Cultivated and wild, from forests or plantations, new and old, traditional and modern varieties, you’ll find it all in Poland. From sweet strawberries, to tarty cherries, crunchy apples, delicate raspberries, purple blueberries, this country in the middle of Europe with broad assortment of fruits, provides for consumers across the world. Mateusz Świętanowski Concentrates, IQF & Puree Sales Manager at Quadrum Foods in Poland tells us more.

    Cultivation know-how, often passed from generation to generation, climate and soil conditions,  result in vast volumes of fruits grown and harvested, being made available in various forms and shapes as concentrated and NFC juices, frozen, fresh and processed into other products.

    Crop to crop, each year producers, processors, suppliers and buyers face similar challenges. Even though those remain similar each time, magnitude of every factor will differ between product and impact it shall bring upon the outcome to the market.

    Weather, as always, plays a massive role. We’ve observed in 2020 very clearly, how a prolonged dry period can affect plant development in early stages as well as the damage large rainfall (as it was in May), will lead to poor quality of strawberries. Some producers did not expect grey mould (botrytis) to pose a problem this year, leaving their plantations without required plant protection spraying for the disease. Lower yield of fruit is not necessarily compensated by lower price of raw material.

    Looking at strawberry juice concentrate, its clear that prices are not very far away 2019 compared to 2020, yet quality definitely has dropped. Uncertainty is only increased with a typical Poland cold snap, which may lead to even 10°C temperature drop in 24 hours. This phenomenon falls on the  1st half of May, with typically 12th, 13th, 14th and 15th of May being the peak time.

    The cold snap is called in humorous fashion ‘Cold Gardeners’ and ‘Cold Sophie’ – after patron saints of those 4 days, it is also referred to as: Eisheiligen in Germany, Saints de glace in France, Ijsheiligen in Holland and Poscana Zofka in Slovenia. Everyone who is anyone in regards to apple juice concentrate, remembers very well 2017 when frost damage in early May, led to an unusually small apple crop and very high price for AJC. Counteraction possibilities are somewhat limited and often expensive. Quadrum Foods` advantage are ample stocks from previous crop as well as long term conrtacts with suppliers, enabling deliveries to cover demand in the transition period between the two harvests.

    Information chaos is almost as serious a factor, as weather. Estimation of volume of fruits stored after harvest is finished, usually is a combination of wishful thinking, guessing, trying to influence market to the advantage of buyer or seller respectively. The amount of raw material available is commonly incorrect and often by far. Disorganised system of creating a stable supply chain versus loyalty of farmers/producer, makes the daily production amount uncertain at best. Price at ramp delivered changes by the hour, having great impact on finished product offer. ‘Subject to final confirmation’ truly becomes yet another substantial factor, not to be ignored by industry. Our company brings that value added market insight to the table. Daily and hourly updates from plantations, fields and orchards as well as production information in regards to yield, quality and volumes, directly translates into advantage passed onto our customers.

    Difference between short term sale targets and long term cooperation might be overlooked as important aspect of price development. Quick and easy prompt loadings, helping cash flow are specifically targeted by smaller companies. Concentrate/NFC production requires huge investments not only into facilities, but every year, with short harvest period, vast sums of money have to be ‘pumped into’ and ‘frozen’ into the product, with potential revenue coming back to processors with substantial delay. Long term contracts are required by majority of clients, increasing finance and storage cost for the product owner. Bank loans and credits are usually more expensive in Poland then in EU. Financial stability due to product and client diversification, allows Quadrum Foods to manage funding of raw material purchasing as well as processing and storage, limiting the risk to customers.
    Year 2020 is yet another which brought us something new…..again. This time it affected our private lives as well as professional matters. Widespread problems caused by the COVID-19 pandemic only added to the typical worries faced every year. Poland went into lockdown of proportions unknown previously by many of its citizens. This very difficult period of time, demonstrated how fragile our well-structured lives actually are. That very description applied to many countries globally and exposed problems, some of which were swept under the carpet for some time before.  We were fortunate, production facilities across the country have been kept open and running, even if with somewhat limited staff and operations. Transport has been kept running, moving goods within the country, EU and worldwide. Whilst doctors, nurses and various emergency services did their utmost and best, to keep people alive, food industry did their part in keeping store shelves full, warehouses stocked up. Various sections of the economy suffered and surely the full impact will only be known in time to come. But being in food industry seems to be the one of the crucial activities for the country.  Most of employees at Quadrum Foods have been working remotely, quickly adapting to the new environment and conditions. We’ve kept the business running, keeping it as close as possible to normal activities.

    At the time of press, we are around one month away from the new apple crop. With high expectations from producers and demand from clients, we are looking for yet another interesting, intensive, high-stake game of price war between all parties involved. Fairly mild effect of ‘Cold Sophie’ this year, rested trees from 2019s rather limited crop, so should bring a bullish harvest and price level allowing massive sale amounts. Or is there yet another surprise ahead for all of us….

     Mateusz Świętanowski is the Concentrates, IQF & Puree Sales Manager, Quadrum Foods, Kraków, Poland

     

     

     

    By Caroline Calder Features
  • 13 Jul
    Citrus oils and by-products – A current market overview

    Citrus oils and by-products – A current market overview

    There are many things that can be said about the citrus oil industry. Being stable is certainly not one of them, Geva Adut, CEO of Trisun comments for FJF

    After the high rise in prices two years ago (mainly for grapefruit products but not only) and the significant decline a year ago, prices seem to have stabilized and even started to bounce back up.

    Orange oil and its derivatives (D-Limonene and Terpenes)

    The demand for orange oil remains high while future production is expected to be lower than last year. Prices are dictated mainly by the Brazilian market and because the crop in Brazil is estimated to be smaller this year compared to last crop, it seems that the supply of oil and Terpenes/D-Limonene will be lower as well.

    Mexico and other markets are also forecasting lower crops compared to last year, and therefore prices are projected to increase. In fact an increase in CPOO price is already happening, we see offers in the market at price level of 5-6 Usd/kg, and this represents an increase of 2-3 Usd/kg compared to last year’s prices. We also see offers at price level of 3.5-4.5 of Usd/kg for D-Limonene/Terpenes, depending on the application and quality.

    Lemon oil

    After significant price decline, there is a trend shift and prices have slowly started to go up early 2020. Crops are expected to be lower for Lemon in most markets. Argentina expects a reduction of about 10% compared to last crop while in Spain the trees were hit after the blossoming stage and forecast is for reduction of in yield compared to last year. This, together with constant demand, is pushing slowly but constantly the price up.

    Red grapefruit oil

    The excess supply in the market is decreasing and there are indications that the price is starting to stabilize. We see offers in the market around 12-15 Usd/kg, depending on the pesticide levels and general quality/Nootkatone level.

    White grapefruit oil

    The price is stable. Volume continues to be limited. Unfortunately, this trend may continue in the future.

    Sweetie (A hybrid of Pomelo and White-Grapefruit)

    This citrus cultivar grows almost exclusively in Israel, and therefore its supply is limited. Yet, the demand is rising. The world of perfumes and beauty industry seem to discover the unique characteristics of this oil, which are in a way similar to white grapefruit oil, but with a twist of freshness to it.

    (Note: We have not included lime, mandarin/tangerine in the scope of this article, nor other by-products such as oil-phase, folded oils, distilled oils, naringin).

    Organic certified oils

    The demand for all organic citrus oils is rising. Orange and lemon organic oils are in high demand, above all, white organic grapefruit stands out because of the limited supply of this trade.

    Regulation

    REACH in Europe is a major challenge especially when selling oils to the fragrance market (REACH is only valid for non-food). The dominant suppliers in the market have registered products for REACH but most processors are not compliant with this regulation as they are focused on the food industry. We believe that this is an interesting market and processors that will put emphasis on this direction will increase the number of their customers.

    Pesticides

    The new regulations banning various pesticides (especially the recent ban of chlorpyrifos and chlorpyrus-methyl which are now banned in Europe and the United States) cause difficulties to sell significant volumes of the oils produced.

    As it was published in a few global official articles, there is evidence that this issue is starting to affect not only the oils/by-products market but also the juice segment and there were news about some cases in which big volumes of juice were shipped back to processors after finding the pesticide level exceeded the threshold.

    We believe that in the future there will be no choice but to deal more seriously and deeply with the pesticides issue, especially in mutual cooperation programs with the farmers/agriculture side.

    To conclude, in general, the oils and by-products market is mostly in a Bull market (a Rising market if to use analogy from the stock exchange market). We don’t see this trend changing in the near future. We will not be surprised if prices will go even higher in some segments.

    Prices mentioned in this piece are relevant for the time of writing this article – June   

    2020, and are based solely on Author’s opinion and knowledge. The above is not a recommendation in any way to buy or sell any product. The author’s company may have specific position in some products. Trisun is global producer and supplier of raw materials for the Food, Cosmetics and  F&F industries, with focus on Citrus oils and by-products.

     

     

    By Caroline Calder Features
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