Our increasing desire to live more healthily, lower our sugar consumption and tackle childhood obesity is probably the single biggest challenge facing the UK confectionery industry. However, this mega-trend also presents a sweet opportunity for forward thinking manufacturers to replace processed sugars with California raisins as a natural added sweetener and all-round quality ingredient.  

The UK confectionery industry covers sugar confectionery, chocolate, and related snack products, including sweet bakery and related snacks. “That adds up to a serious amount of sugar!” says Peter Meadows, UK Trade Representative of the Raisin Administrative Committee (RAC), the organisation responsible for banging the drum around the world about California raisins. “With everyone trying to watch their intake it’s time for everyone involved in producing these foods to take a fresh look at raisins, and California raisins in particular, as a natural sweetener and all-round enhancer of their products.” 

In the UK the Raisin Administrative Committee supports the trade with product development and new product ideas featuring California raisins, which explore the opportunities offered by consumers’ increasingly health-conscious attitudes and are working on developing range new products featuring California raisins with some leading companies.  

 Confectioners,” says Peter, “are all looking for healthier options. The confectionery companies are putting more cacao into their ranges, so we’re now seeing products with a 60% or 70% cacao content.” But it’s not that simple: “The great British public is very staid,” says Peter Meadows. “After all these years they still love Fruit & Nut and anything with chocolate covered raisins. Other options being explored by RAC UK include raisin purees, giving different viscosities, and including 10% raisin juice content to products to extend shelf life without preservatives or stabilisers. 

A sweet success story 
 
California raisin growers have been working closely with the confectionery industry world-wide for many years and have developed customised specifications for panning and other confectionery processes to benefit the industry. Confectioners around the world, even those in other raisin growing countries, source raisins from California because of the firm skins and consistent quality.  The firm skin, a result of sun drying, holds up to the panning process and will not break or cause uneven distribution of coatings on chocolate. The natural process in which raisins’ skins are dried makes the skins wrinkly, enabling the chocolate to cling to them, a crucial factor in confectionery production.  

Benefits for the confectionery industry  
 
Confectionery fillings – Chocolate covered granola bars and fruit and nut clusters highlight the exceptional taste and function of California Raisins. Their low water activity and pH make them a stable ingredient, with high sweetening properties. California raisins are all-natural and compatible with a wide variety of confectionery flavours. 

  • Flavour stability 
  • Natural colour  
  • Soft to chew
  • Succulent appearance 
  • 100% Naturally sun-dried  
  • High quality control 

We’ll support you evermore 

“We’re committed to supporting everyone in the trade who uses California raisins,” says Peter Meadows. 

To discuss how we can help you and your business contact info@ukraisins.com