Dried fruit popular for health aspects and long-shelf life

“Global consumption of dried fruits (and nuts) is steadily increasing, driven by changing lifestyles,” says Brean Bettencourt with Bella Viva Orchards. “Consumers are becoming increasingly health conscious, reflected by the increased number of enrollments at gyms, yoga studios and the like. In addition, dried fruits are a convenient, nutrition-on-the-go snack that have a relatively long shelf-life, are easy to store and have minimal seasonality issues.”

Consumer keeps eye on ingredient list
“Today more than ever, the consumer is paying extra close attention to the ingredient lists on the products they purchase,” mentioned Bettencourt. Additionally, many countries outside of the U.S. have limits on sulfur dioxide (SO2) as a preservative; an industry standard used to preserve color attributes in dried fruit. “We have set the standard in the industry in terms of natural (no SO2) dried fruits and have created a proprietary method of drying fruit without preservatives or additives of any kind. This method also allows us to retain color and integrity of flavor,” adds Bettencourt.

Growth in domestic market
Bella Viva’s selection of dried fruit includes apples, apricots, peaches, oranges, lemons, pears and cherries. All dried fruit is packed custom to order. That way, the customer receives fresh product with the longest possible shelf-life. Most of the company’s products are sold domestically, but part is exported to Asia, Europe, South America and Australia. Although Bettencourt sees growth potential in export markets, growth currently is within the domestic market.

New on-the-go snacks
Recently, Bella Viva introduced an extension of its Pure & Natural dried fruit slices line. It is a conveniently packed single-serve option of dried apples. “An ideal snack for school, the office, gym and travel. It’s perfect for your ‘apple-a-day’, for everyday of the week,” mentioned Bettencourt.

Kelsey Nunes and Brean Bettencourt presenting single-serve all-natural sliced apples, launched at the Fresno Food Expo this year.

More on the dried-fruit process 
“As soon as the fruit is harvested and trucked to the facility, it is dried, stored and kept in a semi-processed state at the ideal temperature in cold storage (not a freezer),” shared Bettencourt. “Once the fruit is put in cold storage after being dried, it is essentially ‘frozen in time’.” The shelf-life does not begin until that dried product is removed from cold storage and packed into cases. As soon as the fruit is removed from cold storage and processed further (sized, sorted, and packed) the shelf-life clock starts ticking.

For more information:
Brean Bettencourt
Bella Viva Orchards, Inc.
Tel: (+1) 800-552-8218

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