A sponsored feature from California Raisins
From fine dining to public sector catering, California raisins help foodservice operators achieve a spectrum of subtle, balanced flavours, from morning goods to world cuisines.
Peter Meadows, the UK Trade Representative of The Raisin Administrative Committee (RAC), which promotes the California Raisins brand worldwide, tells the story:
“The RAC has been working with foodservice operators for many years, helping them develop new dishes and finished products, and continues seeking new ways to refresh menus and help chefs realise their creativity with California raisins.
“On prepared foods our strategy is to work closely with ingredient importers and their customers and partner with foodservice companies, wholesalers and manufacturers. We assist with technical and product information for use in test kitchens and production and will be supporting ingredient and supplier events where allowed after COVID-19.”
California raisins bring uniqueness and appeal to stews, sauces, glazes, stir-fries, chutneys and salsas and enrich wraps and fruity finishes. They help emulsify vinaigrettes and add character and depth to spicy dishes. Raisins cheer comfort foods like cheeseburgers, ice cream, scones, muffins, breads and rolls, and add interest to oatmeal, cereals and muesli. Free from artificial colours, flavour enhancers, stabilisers and preservatives, California raisins’ natural sweetness helps reduce added sugar contents, and their high water binding capacity helps baked goods retain moisture. California raisins contain propionic acid, a natural preservative. California raisins in paste form also replace fat, adding bulk, sweetness and texture.
The power behind the brand
Created in 1949, the Raisin Administrative Committee (RAC) is a federal marketing order, led by the growers and packers and overseen by the US Department of Agriculture. Britain is the world’s largest dried fruit importer and the RAC is actively involved with the importers’ body, the National Dried Fruit Trade Association. It works with individual importers and ingredient suppliers and negotiates promotions with specific customers.
California in the spotlight
The California raisin was ‘invented’ by William Thompson in 1876, when he crossed the Lady de Coverley grape with other varieties to produce the Thompson seedless grape, perfect for producing raisins.
The California raisin industry produces 300,000 tons of dried fruit annually, within a 60-mile radius of Fresno, known as the central San Joaquin Valley. The Valley’s growers and packers invest heavily in equipment and technology to ensure California raisins are the world’s cleanest and safest.
California Raisins bring many advantages to recipe dishes and finished products:
- Flavour stability: California raisins’ sweet and fruity flavour stays stable up to 15 months, unaffected by manufacturing processes.
- Natural colour: California raisins are naturally blue-black with no added colours. 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. They act as fat-replacers in baked goods and offer pleasant chewiness in many applications. 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 act as a natural drying agent, retaining natural moisture and extending product freshness. They have a lower water activity than other dried vine fruits due to their intact skin and sugar content.
Keep them safe
- Bulk California raisins keep up to 12 months, stored below 7C (45F) in airtight containers.
- Raisins freeze well and thaw quickly at room temperature.
- Raisins are shipped in poly-lined boxes, 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 UK foodservice customers,” says Peter Meadows. “Sadly due to COVID-19 we don’t foresee any physical events until 2021, but we’re actively exploring the virtual options.”
For more information visit www.californiaraisins.co.uk