When Innovation Gives You Probiotic Prunes
Mariani Packing Company is a leader in the global dried fruit market. Their consumer focus, industry innovations, and uncompromised commitment to quality have been the company’s hallmark for over 110 years, dating back to its founding in 1906. Still family run, the company’s latest new product continues to leverage its pillars of success with their most recent innovative product launch—Probiotic Prunes.
A Trendy Match
While pairing two complimentary digestive aids such as probiotics and prunes (rich in prebiotics) seems like an obvious match, it took some out-of-the-box thinking to conceive and bring it to market.
“Consumers are looking for more out of their snacking choices,” says Patrick Gould, VP of Sales and Marketing at Mariani. “There is an increasing focus on health, nutrition and overall wellness – and with the onset of pill fatigue, consumers are turning to their food choices more than ever to support their nutritional supplementation,” he explains. “They are looking more at the benefits of dried fruit and are making choices based on the convenience of portable nutrition.”
Probiotic Prunes are an innovative solution to these evolving consumer needs.
“We are providing consumers with quality dried plums that are known for their digestive health benefits, vitamins, and minerals and combining it with a shelf stable probiotic a convenient and great tasting product. Probiotics are well recognized for digestive and immune health benefits, and when combining GanedenBC30 probiotic with our dried plum, consumers increase the value of their dried fruit purchase,” Gould says.
How A Prune Becomes Probiotic
Probiotic Prunes are made via a proprietary process that applies a blend of both the GanedenBC30 probiotic and additional vitamins to the prunes during the pitting and rehydration process. “The challenge was determining the right formulation and application process to maintain the appropriate amount of probiotic cultures that could survive the manufacturing process, remain shelf stable for the life of the prunes, and finally endure the harsh environment of the stomach to deliver more live probiotic cells to the rest of your digestive system,” Gould explains. Unlike most probiotics, GanedenBC30 is temperature stable and has a long shelf life, making this unique application and pairing possible.
Adding GanedenBC30 to its product has enabled Mariani Probiotic Prunes to support immune and digestive health and deliver active cultures 10x more effectively than yogurt cultures in just 1 serving per day (roughly 5-6 prunes).
Smoothing Bumpy Roads
Like many of Ganeden’s clients, Mariani had never worked directly with probiotics so the two companies worked closely together to meet product requirements and make the formulation successful. “Working with the Ganeden team is fantastic,” Gould says. “They have helped us with our product testing and their quality team is very responsive to any questions we have.”
Through its Extra Step Program, Ganeden has also helped Mariani market Probiotic Prunes. “The sales and marketing team has been a great support in providing information to help us build our selling stories and actively work to introduce the product to new accounts to help us grow our business,” Gould acknowledges.” “They are true partners in helping develop our probiotic dried fruit product line.”
Retailers Ready for Innovation
Retailers are responding well to Mariani’s latest innovation in the dried fruit category. “Our retailer partners recognize the growth in probiotics in other categories and are excited to see this type of product innovation being brought to the dried fruit category,” Gould says. “Customer-driven insight and best-in-class R&D helped bring this innovative product to an under the radar category, and while the product is in its infancy, it has the potential to attract new customers to the category. For several of our retailers, this item is becoming one of the top products in our dried fruit portfolio. With an innovative item like our Probiotic Prunes, trial is key, and this product doesn’t disappoint. It’s packed with nutrients, and tastes great as the flavor profile of the prune isn’t changed.”
Mariani will continue its probiotic dried fruit roll out in the retail market and continue to develop new applications for its ingredients business. “We are looking to build on the success of Mariani probiotic packaged products. As the largest independently owned dried fruit processor in the world, we are looking at bringing this innovation to our bulk and ingredient side of our business” Gould says.