Ingredient Focus 2018: Pastry

We explore the latest products, news, and trends in the pastry sector
Pastry, Croissant, Capfruit, Baking, Aramtec


Fruit purée from Capfruit

EMF Emirates has introduced an improved range of fruit purée from Capfruit. It has no added sugar, colouring, flavourings, preservatives or thickening agents. The new recipes, with 100% fruit, offer two advantages: pastry chefs, chocolate and ice cream makers and barmen can sweeten their recipes as needed, while using a purée that retains its natural taste. Fruits are harvested at maturity and sometimes even frozen on-site to retain flavour is lost. This range of purées does not, in general, need pasteurisation. One of the most popular flavours of the season is frozen alphonso mango purée.

Contact: +971 4 327 2254


Cheese Croissant

Bridor, while adapting in accordance with market requirements, has created a range of savoury snacks with generous and varied fillings. This year the company has launched its cheese croissant, which is filled with a rich emmental cheese cream and topping.

Contact: +33 (0)299 001167


Advanced Baking Concept (ABC) Baking, focusing on handcrafted natural, ‘green label’ products with no additives or preservatives, has developed its Petrin range of traditional handcrafted sourdough breads from its own levain source, featuring both white, rye and multi-grain doughs in a variety of shapes and sizes. The company has also developed a ciapo range, a ciabatta and levain and is exploring the variety of flavours that can be infused in the breads, such as cranberry, apricot and cardamom, mint, seaweed and wasabi.

Contact: +971 4 885 3788

Vanilla bean products

The pastry division of Aramtec launched three types of natural vanilla beans products in the UAE market at Gulfood: gourmet vanilla beans (50g), pure vanilla bean paste (400ml, alcohol-free) and natural vanilla bean paste (300g, alcohol-free). In the first product, organic premium Heilala vanilla beans are hand-selected for their freshness, rich flavour and aroma. Split the bean and scrape the seeds for a strong flavour, or simmer the whole bean in liquid to infuse. In the second product, Heilala vanilla paste is combined with pure vanilla with seeds yielding an intense smoky flavour. Finally, a paste blend of pure Heilala vanilla extract and natural flavours infused with seeds from a vanilla beans. With the consistency of runny honey, natural vanilla paste has sweet notes with a hint of sweet almond and caramel. It can be used in place of a vanilla bean and is suited to applications such as whipped cream, cheese cakes, custards, ice cream, and gelato

Contact: +971 4 380 8444

B Breaks

B Breaks are trendy, practical and tasty breads for breakfast, lunch, or snacking. Three of its flavours include: muesli, chocolate, and olives and rosemary. Adapting to consumer demand, Bridor found that breakfast today is increasingly being eaten on the move. The company realised that this represents a genuine source of growth for the catering industry.

Contact: +33 (0)299 001167

Président Cream Cheese

Lactalis has launched a new 1kg-size Président Cream Cheese for professionals. Spreadable, smooth and creamy, this is a double usage product that can be used for desserts (like cheesecake) and savoury recipes (like makis or bagels). It is a high premium quality product with a milky taste, which the company claims cannot be found in other cream cheese products.

Contact: +971 4 362 3025

Inspiration Fruit couverture from Valrhona

Chef Middle East has launched the Inspiration fruit couverture range from Valrhona within its pastry division. This range is dairy-free as it does not contain any milk protein — in fact, all ingredients present in this range are entirely natural, from the colour to the taste. The intensity of these couvertures allows chefs to work on interesting applications such as coating or ganache. The Inspiration range is currently available with almond, strawberry and passion fruit flavours and is manipulated the same way any other chocolate couverture would be, with the need of tempering it due to its high cocoa butter content, yet this range does not contain any cocoa nibs.

Contact: +9714 815 9888


Aramtec now has the right to exclusively distribute Heilala Vanilla products from New Zealand in the UAE market. Heilala Vanilla was established on the principles of fair trade: supporting livelihoods and the people of Vava’u in the Kingdom of Tonga as an integral part of the business. Tonga is a remote island in the South Pacific and the company wanted to provide necessary employment for the local families and village, and the purpose was to establish a sustainable business that would generate a sense of pride.

Chef Middle East has officially on-boarded the Catalan brand Sosa Ingredients, enabling its pastry category to include brands such as Valrhona, Boiron and Président, allowing it to offer a range of solutions for all pastry professionals in the region. Sosa Ingredients started out in 1967 as a family business producing artisan biscuits and traditional Catalan Christmas products and developed its product range through the years, introducing ingredients for ice cream, freeze-dried fruits, texturisers, natural plant extracts, essential oils and many more.


The importance of the pastry industry in the region cannot be overstated. While pastry just forms a part of the global snacks and confectionery industry, the market is valued at US$9billion according to a report released ahead of the 2017 Yummex Middle East, and is forecasted to reach $11b by 2021.

This region has also inspired chefs to use local ingredients in their creations, as suppliers also attest. EMF Emirates general manager Pierre Feghali said: “The demand for the traditional has be consistent but local pastries with international influence are a breakthrough and amazing platform for international chefs to challenge themselves and showcase their creations like never before. Fusion desserts are providing an opportunity to combine typically European desserts with Arabic flavours. For example, a classic crème brulee with lemon and sumac.”

ABC Baking commercial director Masood Syed agreed, and said specifically that with the diverse cultures in the region, consumers are always looking for a ‘taste of home’ so this marriage of different cuisine influences was popular. He added: “We have, therefore, catered to this need, creating a full Arabic snacking range, za’atar croissants for the Arabian palate, curry croissants for those from subcontinent and garlic for European expats. We have also developed a range of locally inspired ice creams, such as kunafa, umm ali, Emirati coffee and dates, incorporating the dream of the baker and local consumer.”

Chef Middle East pastry specialist Pooja Bhatt asserted that the key to success in this region is to be able to adapt to the local taste and DNA. She said: “Consumers in the UAE are adventurous and constantly looking for innovation in their plate. A lot of flourishing concepts offer pastries with local twists and aromatic profiles such as kunafa cake, halva choux, cardamom chocolate fondant or pistachio milk cake.”

However, the demand for international concepts must not be dismissed, as Aramtec sales & marketing manager — pastry division Riyadh Hassan commented. He said: “From my point of view, local consumers are more influenced by international pastries and more keen to try the latest innovative desserts from New York, France, or Japan.” Lactalis brand manager food service MENA Laura Bourmani also commented: “Due to the diverse nationalities living in Dubai, we are more into international pastries than local ones.”

But one of the big trends or considerations the regional pastry industry is looking at right now is the need to offer gluten-free and vegan products to consumers. Not just a fad, with increasing number of allergies and intolerances, consumers often request these healthy products. Aramtec’s Hassan commented: “Health and wellness is increasingly on consumers’ minds, leading them to avoid ingredients perceived as unhealthy. Besides the longstanding trend for sugar reduction, there is an increasing demand for gluten-free and lactose-free in cocoa and chocolate products, with dairy alternatives such as coconut milk increasing in popularity.”

Bridor Middle East sales manager Ricardo Morais also asserted that gluten-free is a very serious subject and vendors must address this demand immediately. He commented: “At Bridor we took into consideration the needs from our customers. They were expecting an easy to use and 100% safe product. This is why we developed our range of gluten-free items.”

Feghali said he thinks of this as an opportunity that the market can exploit; certainly, EMF Emirates now offers Italian origin Viva, non-dairy vegetable cream, which is gluten-free and vegan.

Chef Middle East’s Bhatt also agreed with her peers and said that there is a high demand for dairy-free and sugar-free products, bearing in mind allergies and intolerances. She explained: “As a simple example, the demand for alternatives to cow milk has never been as high. Our customers appreciate our ability to provide different products such as quinoa milk, rice milk, almond milk and other vegetal milk. Pastry chefs are really challenged with this trend, which is becoming more of a lifestyle choice for consumers. Their objective is to provide guests with high-standard pastries and desserts while adapting their recipes to new dietary requirements.”

One of Chef Middle East’s key customers within the hotel segment, Madinat Jumeirah, has developed an entire concept called ‘Flavours of Health’ focusing on meeting guest’s expectations aligned with their dichoice. The resort executive pastry chef Paul Hayward commented: “Beyond allergies and intolerances, being health-conscious is more of a lifestyle choice than just a trend. We are currently developing a range of freeze-dried fruits enrobed in Valrhona chocolate, endorsing our guest’s preferences — so they still can enjoy a reasonable guilty pleasure.”

Couqley French Bistro co-founder and managing director Ziad Kamel also told Caterer Middle East: “The vegan demand is going strong. Expect to see chefs replacing eggs and animal products and using gluten-free flour and more natural ingredients with desserts focused on using one or two quality ingredients. There is a shift from gums, stabilisers and substitutes to more wholesome and less processed ingredients. I believe we’ll see a lot of growth, creativity, and deliciousness in the vegan and ‘natural’ segment, worldwide and in the UAE.”

Clinton St.Baking Company marketing manager Heather McKnight also commented that the outlet is very conscious of dietary requirements. It has introduced a vegan chocolate cake as well as a flourless chocolate cake.

Top trends

Return to Classics: EMF Emirates general manager Pierre M. Feghali said that one of the trends he’s currently seeing is revisiting classic desserts while “giving them a modern twist by adding a flavour and rethinking the assembly of the ingredients”.

Flavours in vogue: Yuzu, a Japanese citrus fruit, is becoming an upcoming flavour trend in the pastry and chocolate industry, revealed EMF Emirates’ Feghali. “With its unique citrus flavour and strong fragrance, the juice, rind and peel of this fruit has recently started making its way into kitchens and restaurants around the world. It makes an excellent addition to sauces, and desserts,” he added.

Catch their eye: Aramtec sales & marketing manager — pastry division Riyadh Hassan said that catching the customer’s attention is still the top priority for many chefs. “Which is why, the trend today is back to colourful, shiny glazes used in eclairs and individual petits cakes. However, ‘bigger-is-better’ is still a continuing trend.”

Single portions: Lactalis brand manager food service MENA Laura Bourmani commented: “One of the main trends today is the single portion cake. Many people who move to Dubai for example, are single, with an average age of 25-40. So, when you enter a pastry shop or a supermarket, you can notice that there is a large variety of single portion cakes, rather than the big ones.”

Healthy pastry: Consumers, especially millennials, are still seeking ‘experience’ and ‘adventure’ in new and interesting flavours, reported Feghali, yet with health-awareness in mind, accounting for less fat and sweetness in pastries. ABC Baking commercial director Masood Syed agreed: “Today, the market requires breads and pastries which are both delicious and healthy. There is a movement toward organic ‘green label’ products with no additives and preservatives.”

Trend watch: price fluctuation

There are price fluctuations throughout the market which both suppliers and consumers are trying to deal with.

EMF Emirates general manager Pierre Feghali said: “Fluctuation in ingredient prices has been a constant battle for us as a supplier. We are determined to provide the consistent quality product to our clients, which makes ingredient sourcing very challenging.” ABC Baking commercial director Masood Syed added that international markets do fluctuate and can be somewhat problematic with regards to logistics.

Specifically with the cocoa market, Aramtec sales & marketing manager — pastry division Riyadh Hassan said that there is high volatility due to fluctuation in prices. He further commented: “With the demand picking up so strongly, supplies are struggling to keep up and the physical availability remains tight.”

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