Northwest Naturals is a leading fruit juice concentrate provider for companies worldwide. While we are most known for this product, we offer so much more than just fruit juice concentrates. We also supply quality fruit essences and fruit sweeteners. In this blog post, we sit down with Northwest Naturals’ Product Development Manager, Carolyn T., to explore what each product entails and the difference between them.
What is a Juice Concentrate?
A juice concentrate is a product that NWN specializes in and has a variety of different flavors. Essentially, it is a fruit juice that is treated in a process that extracts up to 35% of water from a single fruit, creating a high BRIX product that can be used as is, in different applications, or diluted and added back as a single strength juice.
We also create a juice blend with multiple juice concentrates to create a Fruit Juice WONF (with other natural flavors) containing acid, tailoring it to fit a customer’s needs or to match a particular fruit profile.
What is a Fruit Essence?
A fruit essence is a product that provides an aroma to a finished product. It is the volatile component that comes off of the fruit when it is being concentrated and heated. This product adds a delicious aroma to a finished application, such as beverages or ice creams. However, unlike a juice concentrate, the consumer typically won’t taste it but only smell.
When would a company come to NWN for a fruit essence only?
NWN offers a wide variety of fruit essences and most commonly provides this product to alcoholic beverage companies looking to add a fresh aroma upon opening the can/bottle. Every time someone takes a sip, they smell a note of the fruit flavor.
We see fruit essence as the missing piece of the puzzle. We will typically recommend using essence in addition to a juice concentrate to an application. When you use a fruit essence, you’re building the full experience of the fruit profile the client is looking to achieve.
What is your typical customer for Fruit Essence?
Alcohol companies are usually the most interested in fruit essence because it is colorless and used at a very low level. We can add a lot of desirable aromas without adding additional flavors. It is also an excellent product for flavor producers looking to boost their flavor profiles.
What are examples of a product where fruit essence would be great?
Fruit essence is an excellent option for companies with low-calorie applications or beverages. Instead of adding more juice concentrates or juice concentrate WONF, they use essence to enhance the desired fruit experience. A great example is in a hard seltzer, skinny margaritas and even ciders.
Are there applications fruit essence wouldn’t work well in?
We would not want to include fruit essence in a product that would be baked/heated or in a low-alcohol base. Cooking it would evaporate the flavor and the aroma. We mainly recommend using fruit essence in beverage applications.
What is a Fruit Sweetener?
Fruit sweetener is very similar to juice concentrate; however, it is processed to remove the fruit flavor and create a fruit syrup. It’s a natural sweetener, labeled as a fruit syrup, and often replaces high fructose corn syrup in a product. The NWN Fruit Sweeteners are primarily made out of pear or pineapple, or a mix of both.
Why does NWN use pear and pineapple as the base fruits for fruit sweetener?
NWN uses pear and pineapple as a bulk sweetener because they are high in sugar, low in acidity, and are more cost-effective than other fruits. They are the base for all of the NWN WONF blends. In comparison, other fruits do not give the same clarity and are more problematic to process. Pear and pineapple process particularly well and have suitable characteristics that pair with all fruit profiles we offer.
When would you recommend using fruit sweetener for an application?
Typically we recommend fruit sweeteners to clients who want to remove high fructose from their application. While fruit sweetener is technically high fructose sugar, it is derived from a different source. If a client is looking for an alternative to high fructose corn syrup, they will use a fruit sweetener instead.
What kind of products does fruit sweetener work best in?
It is very flexible and used in a variety of applications, from frozen to heated. Because they are stable, fantastic in alcohol/ high alcohol products mixed with juice concentrate to create flavorful blends.
Can all three products be used in a single application?
Yes, absolutely! Juice concentrates, fruit essence, and fruit sweeteners all have their individual characteristics and can also be used in a single application to build a robust flavor profile. We offer a variety of blends that contain all three items.
Contact us today if you would like to explore these products for your next application!