Fruits have long been cherished for their natural sweetness, vibrant flavors, and nutritional benefits. In recent years, the confectionery industry has recognized the value of incorporating fruits into various treats. Fruits serve as versatile ingredients in confectionery, providing a natural sweetness that complements the often indulgent nature of sweets. Their diverse flavor profiles, ranging from tangy citrus to sweet berries, add depth and complexity to confections. Additionally, fruits contribute essential vitamins, minerals, and dietary fiber, aligning with the growing consumer demand for healthier treat options.

Fruits are incorporated in confections many forms, such as dehydrated, freeze dryed, jams, preserves, puree, juice or even fresh.

When incorporating fruits into confections, understanding the impact of water activity is essential. Fruits naturally contain water, and their incorporation into confections can affect the overall water activity of the product.

Controlling water activity is vital for the stability of confectionery items. High water activity can lead to microbial growth, spoilage, and textural changes, compromising the quality of the product over time. Dehydrated and freeze-dried fruits are popular choices in confectionery due to their lower water content. 

Understanding the relationship between water activity and the stability of confections with added fruits is crucial for creating products with optimal quality and extended shelf life. By carefully managing water activity, confectionery manufacturers can strike a balance between delivering delightful fruit flavors and ensuring the stability and safety of their products.

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Source and Processing

  • Dehydrated Fruits: Dehydration involves removing water content, concentrating the natural sugars and flavors. Dehydrated fruits, such as raisins and dried apricots, are commonly used in chocolates, granola bars, and trail mixes.
  • Freeze-Dried Fruits: Freeze-drying preserves the shape, color, and nutritional content of fruits by removing moisture under low temperatures. Freeze-dried fruits like strawberries and pineapple offer a crunchy texture and intense fruit flavor to confectionery products.
  • Puree: Fruit purees, obtained by processing fruits into a smooth consistency, are prevalent in gummies, fruit fillings, and fruit-flavored coatings. Apple, mango, and berry purees are popular choices.
  • Juice: Fruit juices, both concentrated and fresh, are used to impart a liquid form of fruit flavor to confections. They are common in candies, jellies, and fruit-flavored beverages.

Main function in Confections

Fruits have many uses in confection besides then obvious flavor. Some of them are:

  • Natural Sweetener: Fruits contribute natural sugars, reducing the need for added sugars in confectionery products.
  • Textural Enhancement: Dehydrated and freeze-dried fruits add crunchiness, while purees and juices contribute to moisture and softness in various confections.
  • Flavor Enhancement: The diverse flavor profiles of fruits enhance the overall taste of confectionery products without the need for excessive artificial flavorings.
  • Nutritional value/appeal: Adding fruits into products adds the nutritional value of such fruit into the confection. Keep in mind nutriens that might be sensitive to processing conditions. 
  • Color: Fruits contribute natural colors, enriching the visual appeal of confections.


Maintaining optimal physicochemical properties in fruit-based confections requires a combination of ingredient selection, processing techniques, and quality control measures. Understanding the changes that may happen with process and formulation combinations is important for the proper use of fruits in confections:

  • Water Activity: Fruits naturally contain water, and the water activity of fruit-based ingredients can impact the overall stability of confections. Controlling water activity is essential to prevent spoilage and maintain the desired texture and shelf life.
  • Moisture content: Fresh fruits contain high moisture content. High moisture content can lead to stickiness, microbial growth, and textural changes. Dehydrated and freeze-dried forms of fruits are often preferred in confectionery to reduce moisture content while retaining flavor.
  • Enzymatic Reactions: They can impact the color, flavor, and texture of confections. For example, enzymatic browning can occur when fruits are cut or crushed, leading to undesirable color changes. Heat treatment or the use of anti-oxidative agents can mitigate enzymatic reactions and preserve the visual and sensory qualities of the confection.
  • Color Changes Due to Heat: The color of fruits is influenced by heat, and confectionery processes such as baking or cooking can lead to color changes. Heat can cause the breakdown of pigments and the Maillard reaction, resulting in browning. Careful temperature control and the selection of heat-stable fruit forms can help maintain the desired color in fruit-based confections.
  • Color Changes Due to pH: pH levels can impact the color of fruits in confections. Acidic fruits may exhibit vibrant colors, while changes in pH can affect the stability of pigments. For instance, anthocyanins, responsible for red, blue, or purple hues, may change color based on pH. 


The use of fruits in confectionery is subject to regulatory oversight by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA).

Adherence to Good Manufacturing Practices (GMP) is crucial to ensure the safety and quality of fruit-based confectionery products.

Compliance with labeling requirements, including accurate ingredient lists and nutritional information, is essential for transparency and consumer awareness.

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