California Raisins staying on top
Free from artificial colours, flavour enhancers, stabilisers and preservatives, California raisins help manufacturers achieve a spectrum of subtle, balanced flavours, from deep and earthy to highly aromatic and are taking on new importance as a replacement for sugar.
“California Raisins are keen to work with manufacturers to address consumer trends and help deliver quality products using raisins,” says Peter Meadows, UK Trade Representative of the Raisin Administrative Committee (RAC), which promotes the California Raisins brand worldwide. “The UK Government is increasingly applying pressure to control use of sugar in commercial production and address concerns over obesity. As a result healthy snacking, added convenience and reduced sugar are expected to play key roles in future eating habits and strengthen further over the next five years. We work alongside new product developers and food manufacturers and furnish them with the technical info and research needed to make the most of California Raisins in their products.”
The power behind the brand
Established in 1949, the Raisin Administrative Committee is a federal marketing order, led by growers and packers and overseen by the US Department of Agriculture. They work closely with all UK dried fruit importers and their customers and partner with retailers, wholesalers, confectioners and food manufacturers.
The California raisins story
William Thompson ‘invented’ the California raisin in 1876 when he crossed the Lady de Coverley grape with other varieties to create the Thompson seedless grape, perfect for producing raisins. Today California’s raisin industry produces 300,000 tons of dried fruit annually, within a 60-mile radius of Fresno, known as the central San Joaquin Valley. Japan and the UK are the world’s top two export markets. The Valley’s growers and packers invest heavily in equipment and technology, ensuring California raisins are the world’s cleanest and safest raisins.
There are many advantages from using California Raisins in food manufacture:
- Flavour stability: California raisins’ sweet fruity flavour stays stable up to 15 months, unaffected by manufacturing processes.
- Natural colour: California raisins are naturally blue-black, with no colourants. Their dark colour is fixed and won’t bleed or discolour foods.
- Soft to chew: California raisins have a soft ‘chew,’ mimicking fat and richness. Raisins act as fat-replacers in baked goods and offer pleasant chewiness in a wide range of products. They are not gritty, typically free from large sugar crystals and work well in fat-free baked goods, cookies and cakes.
- Succulent appearance: Natural wax platelets help keep California raisins’ skins intact, preserving their succulent texture and plump appearance.
- Naturally dry: California raisins are a natural drying agent, retaining natural moisture and extending product freshness. California raisins have a lower water activity than other dried vine fruits due to their intact skin and sugar content, so are ideal in low moisture snacks, confectionery and bakery.
Keep them safe
- Bulk California raisins keep up to 12 months, stored below 7°C (45F).
- Raisins freeze well for long periods and thaw quickly at room temperature.
- Raisins are shipped in poly-lined boxes and supplied in 12.5kg bulk packages. They are available oil coated or sugar coated on request.
Coming up next
“Trade shows, exhibitions and conferences provide valuable opportunities to engage with the UK trade,” says Peter Meadows, “and network with current and unknown brands. Due to Covid-19 we don’t foresee any physical events until 2021, but discussions are ongoing about virtual ones and we’re actively exploring whether these will work for RAC and California Raisins.