10 Apr 2019
Consumer demand for natural products is increasing continually. The Taste Tomorrow survey revealed a distinct consumer preference for fruit, because it is both natural and tasty. Jo Libens, global category manager and responsible for all Puratos fruit fillings, has noticed this as well: "Both the consumer and our customers are increasingly looking for more naturalness in their fillings. They want more fruit and bigger pieces, but combined with a high baking stability to enable them to use the fruit as a filling for croissants and Danish pastries."
Not only did the Taste Tomorrow survey reveal a preference for fruit on the part of the consumer and the customers; a demand for ‘cleaner label’ products was also clearly expressed: products without artificial preservatives, colourings and flavourings. "This is a clear, retail-driven trend in the industry. Process innovation is crucial if you want to do this well. Based on these insights, we installed a new production line that makes it possible to produce fillings without artificial additives, while preserving the identity and flavour of the fruit."
Puratos offers two fruit fillings: Topfil and Vivafil. Topfil contains up to 90% fruit, in larger pieces. This is primarily intended for pastries where the fruit is on top, like on cheesecakes or Danish pastries. Vivafil, on the other hand, is the best alternative when a high level of baking stability is required: as a fruit filling for croissants, for example. "Our fruit fillings are unique because we put naturalness first throughout the entire process." It is a long journey before an apple is ready to be processed as a fruit filling in a pastry. From tree to bakery, or in other words: from field to fork. This process and Puratos’ focus on naturalness starts with the selection of the apples. Puratos uses Jonagold apples in its apple fillings, a variety to which fewer sweeteners need to be added thanks to its natural sweetness. All apples are carefully inspected upon delivery to ensure the taste and colour are compliant as well as the sugar and acidic composition. "These measurements are of crucial importance. In some cases, the recipe will need to be adjusted for each harvest."
Puratos consciously opts for local production, near local customers and consumers. "We operate more sustainably on account of the short distances between sourcing, production and the customer. Thanks to regional sourcing and processing you can also adapt the flavour profile to the demands of local consumers. Additionally, we also take into account local specialities which we can roll out worldwide thanks to our glocal presence. A good example of this is our Topfil Apple based on the French classic tarte tatin, and our black cherry filling, which derives its inspiration from the gateau Basque, an authentic recipe from the Basque country."
Two transformations are needed to turn apples into a filling.
Transformation 1: The fruit is processed into another raw material directly after harvesting.
Transformation 2: Adding ingredients and pasteurization. The raw material is now a ready-to-use fruit filling for bakery and patisserie applications.
Libens: "Our genuine added value can be discerned in the second transformation. We adapt our fruit fillings to our customers’ demands, depending on the desired end product. If the fruit filling is intended for a Danish pastry or croissant, you will need a high baking stability. However, if it is used in a cake, the ingredients must contribute to the product’s shelf life. The texture of the filling can also be adapted to the customer’s wishes: coarser pieces of fruit for a natural fruit filling, or completely smooth if the customer wishes to inject the filling."
The production method used by Puratos for its fillings is unique. "Contrary to the production method used for traditional jams, in which a great deal of sugar is added and the fruit is simmered for a long time to thoroughly pasteurize it and to prevent post-contamination, the production method we use for our fruit fillings is aimed at heating it, allowing it to cool and package it as quickly as possible. We mix everything as gently as possible to retain the natural texture of the fruit. We aim to guarantee that the filling remains as natural as possible in everything we do."