Fruits have long provided a natural sweetness to a wide variety of baked goods. One of the most versatile fruits in the bunch are cherries, which are the star of the show in everything from cherry pie to Black Forest cake and are deserving of the label as a superfruit.
Dried and frozen tart cherries, in particular, make great additions to products as they bring a trending sweet-sour flavor profile, a halo of potential health benefits, a pop of bright red color and added texture.
According to the Cherry Industry Administrative Board (CIAB), tart cherries are a sought-after ingredient for today’s health-conscious consumers that don’t want to sacrifice on taste. They are able to add just the right flavor profile to a range of foods and products. The ingredient has become so popular that new tart cherry products have increased 113 percent during the last 5 years, according to Mintel’s Global New Products Database.
Sweet goods such as ice cream, muffins and nutrition bars are among the items that lend themselves to tart cherries as an inclusion. An example of this would be the Rustic Bakery Tart Cherry, Cacao Nib, & Almond Artisan Crisps and Kashi Cherry Dark Chocolate Bar.
The health halo of this ingredient cannot be ignored. Tart cherries are a superfruit with numerous nutritional benefits that appeal to consumers who would feel better about purchasing indulgent foods with their inclusion. The CIAB states that tart cherries are one of the natural food sources of melatonin, with scientific research having explored the duration and quality of sleep, insomnia and sleep efficiency following their consumption. Other studies have determined tart cherry consumption benefits exercise recovery, gout attacks, arthritis symptoms, heart health, blood pressure and gut health.
Because tart cherries help elevate the eating occasion, they offer a more premium quality to a finished product. Datassential Custom Research from 2020 found that more than half of consumers said they would spend more for products made with tart cherries, with health-conscious shoppers even more likely to pay extra.
Additionally, there has been a heightened focus on supporting local business and agriculture in the US. Montmorency Tart Cherries are grown in America, a meaningful quality for consumers who increasingly care about food origins and want to support local agriculture.
Another key aspect of using tart cherries as an inclusion is their visual appeal. Colorful produce varieties are trending on menus as consumers associate bright colors with nutritional value. This in addition to the Instagram-friendly look of red tart cherries makes them a hit for many different items.
With the numerous sensory benefits they provide, it’s no wonder tart cherries have emerged as a hot ingredient for product developers.