Healthy snacking: Asian consumers want tangible nutrition, says Taura
The New Zealand fruit ingredients specialist has launched a range of mini fruit pieces that its head of Asia Pacific sales Bartolo Zame said played into these snacking demands.
The miniature fruit pieces can be used in a host of products from nuts and crackers to bakery and cookies and had already been trialed by a handful of manufacturers in the region.
Zame said in countries like Taiwan, Japan, China and Malaysia, there was a desire to see and taste healthy components in snacks.
“It’s a different culture. If you walk into any store, even if it’s a liquor store selling very high-end cognac, they’ll have a bottle there with a sample so you can taste it. The same goes for a store selling 50p breadsticks – you can taste first,” he told BakeryandSnacks.com.
“It’s all about tasting the product; seeing it and touching it to make it realized.”
The miniature fruit range addressed these needs, he said, because when included in a nut mix or the cream filling of a cracker they were visible, gave chew and had a powerful taste.
“If they [consumers] can see the orange pieces inside the products – as in they can taste, smell, feel it with the texture difference – that’s really important.”
The miniature series also enabled manufacturers to include real fruit pieces in smaller, thinner snack products – a trend that was taking off in the region, Zame said. “We’re talking thinner than a rice cracker.”
Taiwan leading snack innovation
Across Asia Pacific, there was plenty of innovation and new product development in snacks, particularly from Australia, New Zealand and Japan; the latter of which was very advanced compared to other Asian countries.
But innovation cues, particularly in healthy snacking, could be taken from Taiwan, he said.
“Taiwan has really grasped the concept. They want it thinner, lighter – that’s where a huge amount of innovation comes for Asia. Other countries in the region really look to Taiwan to see what the innovation is, because they have a sort of ‘free thinking’– they’re about what else can be done with these ingredients,” he said.
There was a company in Taiwan, for example, that had already developed a snack product with Taura’s miniature fruit pieces – using them as inclusions in a seaweed and nut sandwich to add chew to a product that already had plenty of crunch.
There was also a project on the go in Taiwan to include the fruit pieces into cream-filled sandwich biscuits, he said.
Zame said the miniature fruit pieces enabled manufacturers to add a new dimension to healthy snacks already on the market – adding bold flavors or texture. “There’s a whole new avenue of opportunity.”