Dried fruits and edible nuts consumption is widespread. In dried fruits, water content is removed from the fruit either naturally, through sun drying or through the use of specialized dehydrators. On the other hand edible nut is a fruit composed of hard shell and a seed. Dried fruits and edible nuts are important source of nutrients for humans. Dried fruits have very low sodium content similar to the fresh fruits and a significant source of dietary fiber and potassium. Dried fruits are also a rich source of essential nutrients such as vitamin A, Vitamin K and iron. On the other hand nuts are very high in nutrients and good source of fats and vitamins and a rich source of amino acids.
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Dried fruits can be segmented by types into: Dried Grapes, Dried Apricots, Dried Figs, Dates and others. Edible nuts can be segmented by types into: Peanuts, Tree nuts, Almonds, Cashews, Walnuts, Hazelnuts, Pecans, Pistachios and Others.
Asia Pacific represents the largest and fastest growing market for dried fruits and edible nuts globally, followed by North America and Europe.
Rising aging population, high obesity rate, increasing health awareness, increasing acceptance of nuts and dried fruits as true health food and rising disposable income are some of the major driving force for dried fruits and edible nuts market. Dried fruits and edible nuts are healthier alternative for aging population. In the past few years there were a drastic rise in the number of health issues such as diabetes, allergies and heart diseases among the aging population. According to The United Nations Department of Economic and Social Affairs (UNDESA), Population Division (2012), in 1950, around 205 million persons aged 60 or above in the world and in 2012 it was increased to reach around 810 million and it is projected to more than double by 2050, reaching 2 billion. Cashew nuts are a healthy food for heart patients due to its high level of monounsaturated fatty acids and helps in maintaining cholesterol level. Increasing acceptance of dried fruits and edible nuts as true health food opens the door for many food manufactures. For instance, chocolate manufacturers were the first to include dried fruits and nuts in chocolate recipes due to their flavor enhancing ability and perceived health benefits.
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The major companies operating in the dried fruits and edible nuts market include Arimex Ltd, Mariani Packing Co Inc, National Raisin Company, Ocean Spray Cranberries Inc, Olam International Ltd, Sunbeam Foods Pty Ltd, Sun-Maid Growers of California and Sunsweet Growers Inc.