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Fruit processors preparing for growing demand of exotic fruit

Global demand for exotic fruit is rapidly increasing. Today, the worldwide fruit puree concentrate market is valued at more than US$400m (€332m) and is expected to grow to US$700m (€581m) by 2026.

Similar growth is expected in the exotic fruit puree concentrate market which is predicted to reach US$274m (€227m) by 2026. 

What is causing this increase and how can exotic fruit processors meet the demand without compromising quality?

Consumer demands 
The worldwide increase in consumption of baby food is a significant factor in the predicted expansion of the market. Alongside this, growth in the fruit juice industry, and the increasing demand for fruit smoothies and other products, is further encouraging development in the sector. 

Currently, fruit juices tend to be made from juice concentrate. However, manufacturers are starting to use puree concentrate instead. This shift provides consumers with a thicker, better-tasting, smoother drink and exotic fruits are a key ingredient within many of them. 

Exotic fruits include high quantities of fibrous material, which further increases its consumer appeal from a health perspective. As ‘better-for-you’ products become more popular, the demand for fruit puree concentrate is likely to increase and so are the varied ways in which it is processed according to fruit processor TOMRA.

For example, when it comes to juice processing, most fruits are crushed and the juice is then extracted. However, as consumers look for better taste, a thicker consistency and to keep some of the important nutrients intact, processors are responding by peeling the fruits, removing the skin, seed pockets and stones to achieve a high-quality concentrate and puree.

Advanced technologies 
Fruit peeling is an important part of the juice and smoothie manufacturing process. Current methods involve certain fruits - such as peaches, apples and mangos - undergoing a lye peeling process. This sees produce pass through a boiling sodium hydroxide solution which burns off the skin. 

"This process, however, uses large volumes of water, and can lead to high levels of food waste which makes the process inherently inefficient," sorting machinery manufacturer TOMRA tells.

"Technological advances in steam peeling have created significant advantages over lye peeling. These allow for reduction in water usage, limiting the amount of produce wasted and contributing towards an altogether more sustainable process."

"In recent years, we have worked closely with leading fruit processing companies in Europe and Asia to evaluate their steam peeling processes for use in high volume fruit processing lines. Our system enables processors to peel quickly and efficiently, so that the heat absorption of the fruit is significantly lower, in turn protecting it and making for a superior product," TOMRA closed.

For more information: 
Tel: +31 40 292 26 22

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