Snacking is a habit that is very much of America’s daily routine. According the the Nielsen Global Survey of Snacking, snacking has become a massive industry, totaling $374 billion annually as of March 2014 and growing 2% year-over-year. And, as we see a rise in overall snacking, we’re also seeing a similar surge in “healthy snacking” – consumers turning to lower-calorie, nutrient filled snacks in order to curb hunger pangs and manage weight. It should be no surprise that 45% of consumers across the globe utilize snacks as a meal replacements.
Because of this rise in “healthy snacking”, dried fruits and fruit-infused snack mixes are growing in popularity and many snacking distributors are featuring more snacks that contain fruit. Dried fruits, however, are not nearly a new trend. Although they are trending now among those snacking for health, dried fruits have been a staple in many cultures for centuries.Because of their availability, nutritional benefit, sweet taste and long shelf life, dried fruits were a common snack in many cultures throughout history.
In fact, dried fruits are one of the oldest snacks on record. The googfirst mention of dried fruits in a recipe can be found in ancient Mesopotamian tablets dated between 17th and 18th century BC, while there are references to the drying and storing of fruit in writings dated back to the fourth millenium BC.
The drying of fruits has been perfected over time, with different cultures and areas each possessing their own methods and regional favorites. Ancient Mesopotamia, for example, is often referenced as the origin of the dried fig. While figs can trace their history back to Babylonian times, it was the Romans who began to incorporate dried figs into many of their meals – often rolling them in sesame seeds or rubbing them with spices. Dried plums and apricots, on the other hand, originated in Asia in the 3rd millenium BC before making their way west.
Today, dried fruits are enjoyed in all cultures. From coconut to raisins , dried fruits are surely experiencing a sweet surge in popularity – and it’s a surge that doesn’t seem to be ending any time soon. According to the aforementioned Nielsen study, 91% of consumers snack at least once per day, while 21% tend to rummage through the snack cabinet up to four times a day. Because of the sheer amount of snacking, it’s no surprise that many consumers are beginning to look at the nutritional value of what they’re ingesting.
When it comes to snacking for health, dried fruits are among the top of the class. Because of their processing method, dried fruits retain most of the nutritional value of fresh fruits, yet are much more versatile and possess a much longer shelf life. Just like their non-dried counterparts, dried fruits provide essential nutrients and healthy bioactive ingredients. We only expect this trend of dried fruits to grow and that’s why we carry over 30 different dried, diced and mixed fruit products.