Inclusion of dates and date products in food and beverages has been growing significantly over the past few years. But who is actually behind such trend? Who is using dates? Since retailers are a big trend setter when it comes to nutrition trends, we analyse how different UK retailers are applying date products in their own brands.
Of all the product launches and relaunches using dates, Tesco is clearly leading the trend, as Image 1 illustrates.
Tesco, Waitrose and Asda, which have the highest numbers of own label products made with dates or date ingredients, use dates in different categories. While cereals is one of the top three categories using dates in all three retailers, followed by snacks and bakery, there are some variances among the three. For example, Asda uses dates predominantly in bakery, desserts and snacks, Tesco in cereals, snacks and bakery, and Waitrose uses them in snacks, cereals and desserts.
Dates are growing in popularity, both for their flavour and health benefits. They are great for consumers since they are rich in phytochemicals, antioxidants and rich in fibre, and contain no refined sugars. Date paste, date juice concentrate (date syrup) and chopped dates, which are the most common date ingredients in final products, retain some of these benefits and hence suit manufacturers’ needs as well, contributing to clean label claims and reducing sugar. Sugar reduction is high on the agenda of British retailers, as well as other food and beverage companies and manufacturers.
Beloved team of technical experts specialise in sugar reduction using dates, so if you are looking at developing healthier, refined sugar free or reduced sugar products, please do not hesitate to get in touch and we will be happy to help.