Bart Van Honsté of Belfrudis brokers dried fruit and nut deals for clients all over Europe. This Belgian agent sees that this market is developing well. Some of these developments are related to the COVID-19 pandemic. For example, interest in home baking and cooking has increased enormously. That's resulted in increased sales of products like chopped nuts, coconut shavings, and sultanas.
There's also an increased focus on immune-boosting foods. "Nuts are an important part of this." But, when people work from home, they snack less on dried fruit and nuts. On the other hand, more people are eating breakfast again. So, there's a high demand for small and "shot" packages. "There's a lot of development around those products, like mixes with both dried fruit and nuts."
Thompson, blue, golden, and yellow sultanas remain a popular item in the Belfrudis range. With nuts, almonds are still the top seller, followed by hazelnuts. Nut butters are also getting more popular. "It can be used as both an end product, as a sandwich filling, or in the industry for, say, ice cream and bakery products," explains Bart. You can use all kinds of nuts for this, with almonds and hazelnuts being the most popular. But pistachios, cashews, and macadamia nuts are also processed in this way.Thompson sultanas remain a popular item in the Belfrudis range
The demand for pure products is another trend. The focus on MRLs in Europe fits in with this. Laws about these limits and their enforcement at wholesalers and wholesale distribution are becoming increasingly stringent. This development has a positive side effect - producers are working (even) more closely with growers.
Belfrudis specializes in South African dried fruit. They get nuts from all over the world. The company believes this development will benefit farmers. They'll gain access to global market information and training initiatives. The increasing interest in organic and sulfite-free dried fruit and nuts complement this trend too. "The demand for organic products grows annually. You can link this to sustainability and all that's good for our planet," Bart concludes.