26 Feb 2018 --- The demand for healthy snacks for children is a market in itself and Dutch-based startup Fruitfunk saw that there was an increasing need for an alternative to sweets snacks. In 2014, the company decided to do something about it. As a fairly young startup, Fruitfunk were daring enough to develop a completely responsible products range, something which the company believes big confectionery players might be hesitant to do.
FoodIngredientsFirst caught up with Rob de Weert, Co-Founder of Fruitfunk, about the opportunities in healthy snacking and the company outlook for the future.
FIF: As a startup, what have been some of the challenges you have faced?
Fruitfunk: Starting a new company and introducing a new brand to the market should not be taken lightly. It is difficult to introduce your products in the market as an unknown brand. It takes a while before you are taken seriously by suppliers and supermarkets. For them, it is a risk to work together with a new brand because it brings uncertainty regarding rotation from the shelves. Next, to that, we have no enormous marketing budgets to spend with the retailers, so we have to focus on health benefits and the corporate social responsibility retailers need to take in their assortments. We also had to convince consumers, because for them our product was new and brought questions. Consumers weren’t used to the look of the products. We do not use artificial colorings and flavorings in our products, so our products look different than regular candy. We see that the mass-market is slowly moving into a healthier way of living. Still, there is a big challenge ahead of us to inform our customers (retailers) and consumers about what’s healthy and what’s not. We are a disruptive player in a pretty conservative market. The A-brands in our branch has a reason to stick to their current production processes. We do things differently, but that needs extra clarification.
FIF: What is happening regarding sugar reduction that you were able to see an opportunity within?
Fruitfunk: Consumers are more and more aware of what they put into their bodies. Good and healthy food is increasingly important for consumers. We see three generations of healthy snacking. The first generations are the conventional candy and sweets industry. Of course, they noticed this change in demand and created, as we call it, second-generation healthy snacks or sweets. No structural changes were made in recipes or production processes, only replacing the gelatin by pectin and using natural colorings. Still, the products in de second generation are improved to a small extent. The companies belonging to the third generation healthy snacking are companies who do things differently: a different way of producing and made from fruit only. We belong to the third generation.
We don’t add sugar to our products. Our snacks and sweets are made from fruit. In a short period, the fruit is heated, dehydrated and cooled. After cooling down the fruit is shaped to our wonderful fruit flakes for a perfect bite. Our unique production method keeps the original fruit fibers, minerals and vitamins. The dietary fibers ensure that the natural fructose will be absorbed by the human body at a slower rate. The result is that blood sugar levels remain stable. The dietary fibers also contribute to saturation.
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