The UK company will pour resources into new technology and expertise for the incorporation of cranberries, blueberries, açai berries and other berry fruits into baked products.
"For many years, development in bakery has been on the indulgent side. In the past year, indulgency is coming through fruit," said Joan Kehoe, bakery technical sales executive at J.O. Sims.
"Blue and red berries go down well, they are perceived as healthy, as the new 'superfruits'. The bakery industry is trying to be perceived as a healthy industry, and these products fit the bill. They are the right product and this is the right time," she told BakeryAndSnacks.com.
J.O. Sims expects its new investments to allow it to offer more knowledge and information on products in order to cater for a wide range of customer requirements.
"With the resources now available, J.O.Sims can offer tailored solutions to meet our customer's individual needs. We can offer a wide range of support to NPD functions. Sampling and trials can be supplied, alongside practical advice on the performance of different fruit ingredients in baked goods. We can help food manufacturers overcome the technical difficulties of fruit inclusion, including moisture migration and colour bleed," said Kehoe.
The company, which hopes its new initiatives will be completed within the next year, said it will be ready to announce more specific details on the work to be undertaken in this area by around December.
"These investments will allow us increased scope to satisfy our customers' demand to add value by including fruit in their products. Consumer interest in healthier alternatives to traditional, high fat products continues to rise and we are keen to offer expert technical and formulation advice in addition to our extensive range of fruit ingredients," said the firm's general manager for ingredients Douglas Mackay.
Fruits- especially berries- have recently gained popularity in baked goods. The blueberry, in particular is gaining popularity due to an increased awareness of its health benefits. It is ideal for use in muffins and cakes, and comes in a variety of formats.
Cranberries are also popular in bakery applications as these are the most process tolerant fruits, according to J.O Sims. They are used in products such as muffins, biscuits, cakes and bread.
"This fruit offers an attractive taste and colour, an impressive nutritional profile and the dual health benefit of anti-adhesion and antioxidant capabilities," said the firm.