How Nuts and Nut Butters have Improved the Food Industry

Nuts and nut butters are healthy fats that have improved and expanded the food industry. They are versatile, tasty, and can be used in a variety of ways. Did you know that peanuts aren’t nuts at all? They are actually legumes, which is a type of pea. This makes it different from other nuts, like almonds, hazelnuts, and cashews.

Peanut butter used to be the only nut butter available on the market, making it impossible for those who were allergic to peanuts to enjoy one of the most adaptable flavors ever made.

Peanut butter and jelly, chocolate and peanut butter, ants on a log, buckeyes; these are just a few of the many recipes you can make using peanut butter, but only those who weren’t allergic got to enjoy these combinations.

That is until nut butter came on the scene.

What is Nut Butter?

Nut butter is a spreadable food paste made from grinding nuts into a butter-like consistency. Nut butter is mixed with sugar to sweeten it and a flavorless oil like coconut oil to make it smooth.

The most popular nut butters include almond butter, cashew butter, hazelnut spread, and sun butter. Nut butters used to be available only in specialty health food stores, but they are becoming increasingly popular that they are now available in most grocers nationwide.

Most nut butters are available in creamy or crunchy versions just like peanut butter, and the taste is extremely similar as well.

Many schools have now replaced peanut butter and jelly sandwiches in their cafeterias with sun butter or some other nut butter alternative so that those with peanut allergies can enjoy them too.

Natalie Butler explains how dangerous peanut allergies can be in her article on Healthline by saying, “Peanut allergies can be dangerous. The ACAAI reports that this is one of the food allergens most commonly associated with sudden and severe reactions, such as life-threatening anaphylaxis.”

What to Look for in Nut Butters

Not all nut butters are the same, so it is important to know what to look for and what to avoid.

Nut butters with ingredients like partially hydrogenated oil mean you will be consuming trans fat; a type of fat that can contribute to heart and cholesterol issues.

Alisa Hrustic with prevention.com discusses the effects of trans fat on the body by saying, “Trans fats spike your LDL (or the “dangerous”) cholesterol, which clogs your arteries. At the same time, they cause your HDL (a somewhat protective) cholesterol takes a dip, meaning excess cholesterol can’t be transported back to your liver to be flushed from your body.”

Nut butters can also have additional salt added to them which can increase your blood pressure and cause you to retain water.

When it comes to finding the right nut butters, check the label to see the amount of sugar and salt that is in the nut butter. In the ingredients list, check for partially hydrogenated oil to be listed. If so, you know there is an additional trans fat included in the nut butter. This can play a role in your overall heart health.

Why is Nut Butter so Successful in the Food Industry?

Nut butter is made from nuts, not legumes. Nuts are a single seed that is produced on a plant with its own individual shell that opens when the nut is ready to be eaten. Legumes are part of the pea family because there are multiple seeds in one pod.

Nuts are healthy fats while legumes are healthy proteins. The food industry has capitalized on creating and providing a product to people who have peanut allergies or those who are trying to limit the amount of pea and legumes they consume. They have successfully achieved this by creating nut butters made from all different types of nuts.

At eleatnutrition, they explain the nutritional difference between peanut butter and other nut butters by saying, “Nut butters (peanut, almond, cashew, etc.) are a good source of healthy fats and protein. As for the whole “almond butter is better than peanut butter” debate, variety is better. Each nut has their own unique nutrient content, so by occasionally switching between all the different kinds, you will be getting a wider variety of nutrients. Almond butter is slightly higher in monounsaturated fats and minerals, and peanut butter is slightly higher in protein. Cashew butter is a good source of magnesium, and walnut butter has more omega-3 than them all.”

To maximize using nuts and nut butters in all of your food industry needs, let us help you! Book a free consultation today and we will gladly outline how to make this area of your business successful.

A box of transparent plastic on a white background

Aligning Food Packaging Design and Branding Position

It’s so important to align your food packaging and design with your branding. Using packaging to convey a message that is consistent with other branding will help you attract your intended customers, while also creating a sense of brand loyalty. Syncing your branding and packaging also makes it easy for customers to quickly identify your products. In your efforts, it’s helpful to work with a food broker to find the best food packaging at the best price. Don’t be limited by your own budget when searching for the right packaging: your food broker can help you meet your packaging goals at a cost you can afford.

Food Packaging Is a Marketing Tool

Think of your food packaging like you would think of any business sign, business card or advertisement: it’s a marketing tool that can be used to build your customer base and tip-off customers to the kind of products your business produces. Well-made and nicely designed food packaging reveals to customers what kind of experience they can anticipate having when they purchase and consume your products, whatever those products are.

Know Your Brand Before Designing Your Packaging

It’s very important to design your product packaging around your brand, and that’s why it’s important to design your brand before creating the packaging. You may decide to work with a professional marketing agency or brand designer on this project. Branding is the colour, look and feel of your product or services – but it’s more than that, too. Your company’s brand is like its face to the world. Brand conveys abstract ideas like character, quality and company values. All of these ideas should be reinforced with your company packaging.

Steps to Keep Packaging In-Line With Branding

So how can you sync your packaging and branding?

  • Include your logo. Put your logo on all of your packages in a prominent position where it can be easily recognized.
  • Remain consistent across other marketing efforts. Hold up your product packages to compare them. Shapes, colours, images – all should be consistent, or at least, should be related. If you’re working with a packaging artist, they should be able to maintain this consistency from one package to another. Your food broker can help you find a package designer that can help with this.
  • Use consistent typeface or fonts. Letter shapes can convey as much meaning as actual words! Use a consistent family of fonts from one package to another.
  • Make updates to your food packaging as you make updates to your branding. A mature company may go through rebranding from time to time. If this happens to your company, bring your food packaging up to speed.

Contact a Food Broker

It’s important to partner with a food packaging provider that can help you bring your packaging goals to fruition. A good first step in finding the right packaging is to align with a food broker that can help. To get started today, contact The Greater Goods for a free consultation.

The Ultimate Guide to Dried Fruits

Dried fruits are real fruits that have been dehydrated by removing nearly all of the moisture that is found in the fruit. Dried fruits are healthy and contain a variety of vitamins and minerals. Some dried fruits may have additives to keep the fruit from spoiling, turning brown, or losing flavor. It’s important to understand what additives may be added to the dried fruit so that you know if its the right fruit you should choose.

In this ultimate guide, we will help you understand more about dried fruits and why they are a great ingredient to work with.

What are Dried Fruits?

So what exactly are dried fruits, other than fruit that has had most of its water content removed?

The most popular dried fruit are raisins, and they have become such a household staple that we forget raisins are dried fruit. But there’s more to dried fruits than just raisins.

Almost any fruit can be dried fruit, except for fruits with high water content like watermelon and cantaloupe. The best dried fruits are pears, apricots, cranberries, figs, bananas, apples, mangoes, and prunes. Oftentimes, these fruits are naturally sweetened and don’t require additional sweeteners.

Dried fruits often get the misnomer as being high in sugar when it is the loss of volume that gives the fruit high sugar content. The sugar in the fruit was found in the fruit before the water was removed; the only difference is that there is a lot less of the fruit now than there was when it was full of water. This makes dried fruit seem like they have high levels of sugar when it is the volume of the fruit that has drastically reduced.

Shereen Lehman with verywellfit.com explains, “When you compare fresh and dried fruit by volume, then you’ll always find more sugar and calories in the dried fruit. But if you analyze them piece by piece, the sugar and calories will be about the same.”

How is Dried Fruit Healthy?

Dried fruit contains antioxidants, fiber, and minerals. Antioxidants are important because they improve blood flow throughout the body and decrease the amount of oxidation that occurs within the body. This means an overall lower risk of developing diseases related to the heart and cardiovascular system.

Raisins are ideal dried fruits to eat because they have been shown to lower high blood pressure, regulate blood sugar levels, reduce cholesterol, and reduce appetite. By replacing food that is high in sugar with raisins can significantly reduce your risk of developing type 2 diabetes and heart disease.

Adda Bjarnadottir with Healthline writes, “One piece of dried fruit contains about the same amount of nutrients as the fresh fruit, but condensed in a much smaller package. By weight, dried fruit contains up to 3.5 times the fiber, vitamins, and minerals of fresh fruit. Therefore, one serving can provide a large percentage of the daily recommended intake of many vitamins and minerals, such as folate.”

What to Steer Clear from with Dried Fruits

There are many additives that are found in dried fruits because of the way that the fruits need to be preserved when packaged. These additives are mostly sulfites which can be harmful to people with asthma or other respiratory issues.

Potassium sorbate is another food additive that preserves the condition of the food so that it doesn’t spoil or turn colors. Potassium sorbate typically does not cause a reaction on most people, but the FDA must include it on the label for consumers to know it is present.

The last thing you want to be mindful of when choosing dried fruits is the sugar content. Sugar is a natural compound found within the fruit, but this is not what you’re looking for. You need to check the ingredient list of the dried fruit to see if sugar is listed as an ingredient. If it is, you know you have dried fruit that has had sugar added.

Wake Internal Medicine Consultants explains how to know if your dried fruit has added sugars. “The sugars listed on the food label include sugars natural to the food as well as added sugars, so it is difficult to determine if sugar may have been added to a dried fruit just by looking at the grams of sugar on the label. To see if a product has added sugars, look at the ingredients list underneath the food label.”

Book a free consultation today so that we can help you take using dried fruits to the next level for your business. We will be happy to help!

A food industry consultant putting together a food product launch plan

How to Market Your Food Product

Whether you’re marketing a dessert or a pantry staple, getting your food product out into the public eye has never been more difficult. Between the established brands and the up-and-comers, the industry is packed with choices across the board. We’ll look at how to stand out, even if you’re working in the most saturated of sectors, and why a food industry consultant might be the key to helping you connect with customers.

Singled Out

An entrepreneur has their eye on every aspect of the business, but they forget that the average person doesn’t. Even the most well-known brands have to simplify when it comes to how they speak to their customers.

It’s often best to pick one feature and sell it. Ask yourself a few key questions before you begin your campaign:

  • Is your product the cheapest? The tastiest? The most nutritious?
  • Are you marketing to time-strapped parents? College students? The elite home cooks of the world?
  • What kind of brand recognition do you have? Do you cater to a niche crowd?
  • What are your competitors saying? How can you distinguish your food from theirs?

This isn’t to say that you can’t advertise that your food is both delicious and affordable, only that you’re using the most prominent benefit to wedge a proverbial foot in the door in the minds (and shopping carts) of the consumer.

Consider Your Scale

Most companies would consider a boom in business a blessing, forgetting that scaling operations can be a tricky venture for even the most experienced magnate. If you’re going to market to the masses though, you need to have a plan in place if the public turns out in droves. You can’t count your chickens before they hatch, but you should have a basic strategy for what you’ll do just in case.

Seek Feedback

New food products often start small as a way to gauge public interest and general demand. The more you talk to people about what they’re looking for, the easier it will be to present and price your product. Make a product price too high and you might drive away the very people you’re trying to help. Make it too low and people might doubt the quality.

Hire a Food Industry Consultant

The right food industry consultants can use their buying capacity to get you a better deal and provide the kind of supply security that you’ll need if your business starts taking off. If you’re having a tough time finding ingredients or a reliable partner, they can start solving problems. All this support can be essential to streamlining your operations, which can result in anything from lower costs to a tastier product.

The Greater Goods has built a client base by looking out for your bottom line. We reduce ingredient and packaging costs, allowing you to pass those savings to the consumer and increase sales. We can help you achieve your goals so you can start developing the messages that will stick with your audience.

How Chocolate is Regulated Differently in Different Countries

You might not realize it, but chocolate has many regulations and requirements that it must meet in countries all over the world. Chocolate seems so simple but the regulations and requirements make it much more complex.

Chocolate is made from the cocoa bean that is found in South America. The cocoa beans are cleaned, roasted, and removed from the hull. Then the bean goes through a press that turns it into a chocolate paste known as chocolate liquor. The chocolate liquor is pure bittersweet chocolate in its most natural form. Only then is the chocolate liquor combined with other ingredients, like sugar, milk solids, and milk fats, to create the different types of chocolate that we know today.

Pure Chocolate Regulations in Different Countries

Chocolate is classified into different categories of products throughout the world. The most common 3 products of chocolate are pure chocolate, milk chocolate, and white chocolate.

Pure chocolate includes unsweetened, bittersweet, and semi-sweet chocolate. It is the category of chocolate that has the most cocoa mass and the least amount of sugar, making it rich in chocolate and not very sweet. There are many health benefits of pure chocolate. Pure, unsweetened chocolate is antioxidant, can help regulate blood pressure, and help protect your heart from plaque buildup.

Brain East Dean at Livestrong.com explains how pure chocolate helps our body. Dean writes, “The primary sources of antioxidants in most people’s diets are fruits, vegetables, and whole grains. However, chocolate is an excellent supplementary source of a class of antioxidants known as flavanols, which come from the cocoa beans used to make chocolate. Flavanols can reduce high blood pressure, decrease cholesterol, and boost circulation.”

Each country recognizes pure chocolate as a type of chocolate that has the largest cocoa mass and the percentage at which it is classified changes among the countries.

In the United States, pure chocolate must have at least 35% cocoa mass to be classified as a type of pure chocolate (bittersweet, semi-sweet, etc.).

In Japan, pure chocolate must have 60% cocoa mass. In Canada, pure chocolate must have 31% cocoa mass to be classified as pure chocolate.

Each country has requirements that regulate how much cocoa mass should be included in the chocolate product for it to be classified as chocolate.

Milk Chocolate Regulations in Different Countries

Chocolate that is combined with milk products is called milk chocolate. Milk chocolate will have sugar, milk solids, milk fats, and other additives to keep the chocolate smooth and combined.

For chocolate to be labeled as chocolate in the United States, it must have a minimum cocoa mass of 10%, but this is not the standard in other countries.

In Canada, the minimum cocoa mass is 25% for milk chocolate. In Europe, the minimum cocoa mass for milk chocolate is 35%.

As you can imagine, different cocoa mass requirements can cause a different taste among the different types of milk chocolate manufactured all over the world.

Because American milk chocolate has a lower cocoa mass with a higher sugar content, it has a different taste than European milk chocolate that has a staggering 35% regulation.

Susan Paretts with oureverydaylife.com describes why this is by saying, “Chocolate manufactured in the United States is generally sweeter than chocolate produced in European countries. This is mainly due to the fact that American chocolate contains less cocoa, which allows for the addition of more sugar or other carbohydrate sweeteners. European chocolate contains more cocoa and thus, less sugar.”

White Chocolate Regulations in Different Countries

Until 2002, white chocolate was not recognized in the United States as a chocolate. The FDA ruled that chocolate must contain chocolate liquor to be considered chocolate. However, chocolate liquor wouldn’t exist without cocoa butter, the fat that is found inside the cocoa bean before it is pressed to make the paste.

This is how white chocolate finally became recognized in 2002 by the FDA as being classified as chocolate, but there was a catch. In order for white chocolate to be classified as white chocolate, it must contain at least 20% cocoa butter. The cocoa butter will then be combined with sugar and milk solids to give it a sweet and creamy taste.

All countries that regulate chocolate follow the 20% cocoa butter regulation. The only location that doesn’t have a regulation on any of their chocolate is Hong Kong, China. Their Food and Environmental Hygiene Department regulates the ingredients that go into making chocolate, rather than the chocolate itself.

Meredith Allen at web.colby.edu further explains, “White chocolate, on the other hand, was not considered chocolate in the United States until 2002, when the FDA eliminated the regulation that products must contain chocolate liquor to be considered chocolate rather than a confectionery. The FDA instead regulated that white chocolate must contain at least 20 percent cocoa butter.”

Who knew chocolate could have so many rules, requirements, and regulations? The Greater Goods is here to help you with anything you need to know about food regulations that expand farther than just chocolate. Book a free consultation with us today so that we can help your business grow.