Nut, date and dried fruit demand expands with healthy eating - The Packer

Nut, date and dried fruit demand expands with healthy eating

09/21/2012 12:00:00 PM
Cynthia David

Instead, they languish on racks in the baking section, Christiansen said, looking like they’ve been hanging there for years.

“The worst part is they’re stored in the back or in an open warehouse and it’s not cool enough,” he said.

Dried fruit

Eating natural sources of sugar holds appeal for today’s health-conscious consumer. It’s a role tailor-made for California dried plums, raisins, figs and dates, which together are worth nearly $930 million a year.

“There’s been a large uptick in requests for date paste, date sugar and chopped dates from processors looking for an alternative to refined sugar,” said Lorrie Cooper, manager of the Indio-based California Date Commission and the California Date Administrative Committee.

Dried plums are dispelling their old-school image by partnering with food-loving Olympic swimming star Natalie Coughlin.

“With the focus on a more natural diet instead of supplements, we believe the audience is coming to us,” said Donn Zea, executive director of the Sacremento-based California Dried Plum Board, whose new campaign touts plums as “the whole package.”

“Young people are looking for something that’s readily available, cost-effective, tastes great and has a multitude of nutrients.”

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