High consumer demand for healthy foods has increased the interest in improving the quality of food products. Dates are loved for their health benefits, textural characteristics, and sweet taste. Their applications as natural sweeteners are also growing in the food industry.
This article will focus on date products applications in the food industry from three different perspectives. These are the food sector, products, and trends.
- APPLICATIONS BY PRODUCT
- APPLICATIONS BY FOOD SECTOR
- DATE PRODUCT APPLICATIONS BY TRENDS
APPLICATIONS BY PRODUCT
There are a variety of products obtained from date fruits. Here we mention the most common ones as well as the way they are used in foods.
Fresh dates can be transformed into date paste. Date paste is applied to various food products, such as the following.
Date paste can be used in manufacturing value-added products like date jam and date candy.
Baked goods and bars
Date-infused baked goods are usually mild and chewy. Some of the applications include:
- Date paste is a fantastic addition to moist baked goods like cakes, brownies, and muffins.
- It is a great binder for bars and balls.
- It is used as an all-natural substitute for sugar (perfect for gluten-free recipes).
- It can also improve a dessert’s texture.
Date paste is added into blended fruit smoothies.
- Date paste pair with tangy fruits, such as oranges, limes, and grapefruits.
- Date paste also tastes great alongside apples, bananas, and various nut varieties.
Sauces and marinades
Date paste makes a tasty addition to sauces alongside other ingredients such as balsamic vinegar, tomato sauce, tomato paste, soy sauce, and water.
Date paste is used as a vegan-friendly filling in pies to replace white sugar. For example, date paste can be added to pumpkin or pecan pies.
Date paste is also an incredibly healthy addition to salad dressings. It gives a thicker consistency to the product.
- Adding fresh date paste to some meat products may stop lipid and pigment oxidation during storage.
- Adding date paste into baked goods helps improve dough’s physical properties and shelf life.
- The incorporation of date paste in cooked meat decreases fat content and increases total dietary fibers. They both result in less hard, more chewy, and sticky texture.
Date syrup has a more liquid consistency than date paste. Their applications are a bit different.
Coloring and flavoring
Date syrup can be used as a natural coloring and flavoring agent in food formulations like ice cream, beverages, bakery products, jam, butter, and many more.
It can replace sugar as a natural sweetener in drinks, foods, and desserts (such as traditional Indian and Iranian desserts).
Date balsamic production
It is a key ingredient in the production of date balsamic vinegar 500.
- It can improve chemical composition in products such as prebiotic chocolate milk and yogurt.
- It also promotes microbial growth in biomass production and microbial fermentation process.
Date powder contains a high amount of fiber, beside natural sweeteners.
- Date powder is used as a sweetening agent in teas and beverages.
- The incorporation of date powder in desserts creates a sweetening effect and enhances viscosity.
Pitted dates are more than just dates without stones. They are versatile depending on what you want to make with them.
- You can slice pitted dates to make chopped dates (see below).
- You can serve pitted dates as a natural sweetener with tea and coffee.
- You can grind it to make date paste or syrup.
- You can pack and sell them as on-the-go snacks.
Our chopped dates are cut mainly by machine, showing a certain amount of homogeneity in size.
Chopped dates are the most suitable date parts for use in goods when dates give the food an appealing look. These include;
- Muffins and Puranpoli (e.g., Date and Sesame Puranpoli)
- Cookies (e.g., dates substitute raisins in cookies)
- Baklava (e.g., fried baklava)
- Oatmeals and Porridges
- Milkshakes and Smoothies
- Salads, especially salads offered in restaurants. For example, try Pear, Apple, and Date Salad with Orange Dressing. It will give a quick energy boost to your vegan customers.
You can bag and sell them as quick snacks as they are covered in rice flour.
APPLICATIONS BY FOOD SECTOR
Confectioneries are grouped into two different types: Sugar confectionery and sweet confections.
Sugar confections like sweet, sugar-based foods are usually eaten as snacks. Some examples include;
- Chewing gum
A confectionery or sweet shop offers sugar confections with date products.
Baker’s confections (simply bakeries) make sweet and savory baked products that are often eaten as desserts. These include,
- and more
Date products can be incorporated into all these food items as a sweetener and a strengthener. As mentioned earlier, chopped dates are used in making date muffins, where dates give muffins a sweeter taste and a dotted look.
Chocolate dates allow the enjoyment of chocolates while sweetened with dates. Dates substitute refined sugar in chocolates. Ingredients for chocolate dates include natural dates (date syrup) chocolate and sometimes nuts.
Chocolate-covered dates are stuffed dates (such as dates stuffed with almond and pistachio) covered in chocolate.
Blended dates are used as an ingredient in the composition of snacks, including nuts and dried fruits. The date’s strengthening characteristics support the bonding potential of the food system and give a sweet taste to the final product. For example, consider using date paste to replace honey in date-based snack bars. There are now snack bars with varying amounts of date paste (such as snack bars with 50% to 70% date paste).
Mueslis & Cereals
Dates in muesli create a caramel-like flavor that also provides well-balanced nutrition. It is an excellent source of fiber for health-conscious consumers. It also saves a great deal of time and money.
Chopped dates, for example, is a suitable option for bakeries, cafes, and restaurants to supplement other ingredients such as pecan muesli. Vegetarians or vegans love it.
Energy bars and balls
Date energy bars & balls are perfect snacks, especially for athletes after heavy workouts. Nuts are usually used in date bars & balls. Together, they provide fiber, healthy fats, protein, and many vitamins.
DATE PRODUCT APPLICATIONS BY TRENDS
The increasing global demand for healthy snacking is the driving force behind the growing consumer interest in date-based products. Researchers have found three main trends, especially in the European market, which we discuss below.
Dates are one of the sweetest fruits that can replace white or brown sugar. Some of the applications include;
- In home cooking, date products give natural sweetness to smoothies, shakes, healthy snacks, and other dishes.
- Industrial users use date products as sugar replacements in baked goods, candies, cakes, bars, chocolates, etc.
- Some companies promote date products (e.g., date syrup) as a vegan replacement for honey. Honey produced by bees is not vegan.
Healthy Snacking For All
A major trend in the consumption of dates is that it is used as a healthy snack. Consumers are searching for healthier alternatives to snacks such as candies or chocolate between meals. Or other protein-rich, low-calorie options to replace meals. Date-based snacks can fulfill both criteria.
Date-based Innovative Products
Producers and exporters of dates are introducing new products, aside from direct date products such as date paste or date syrup. The natural sweetener function of dates allows new products to be made without added sugar.
Some of these products include;
- Fruit Snacks With Date
These include date-based fruit bars which have become popular over the past years. Dates and date paste are often used in fruit bars because of their sweetness.
- Breakfast Cereals With Dates
Traditionally, manufacturers use added sugar to give sweetness to muesli, granola, and other products. But more consumers are switching toward no-added-sugar alternatives. Some breakfast cereal producers have already started to use dates in their products.
- Traditional Sweet Snacks With Dates
More healthy alternatives are replacing traditional sugar-rich jams and marmalades. These new products use dates in their composition. Examples include sweet spreads, chocolate-based products, cookies and crispies, fermented milk, organic chocolates, and wafers sweetened with dates.
Date products applications in the food industry are categorized according to products, food sector and trends. Generally, they revolve around the trend to adopt date products as a healthy alternative to white sugar.
We will be giving updates on how trends evolve in the future. So, stay tuned to our website for updates.