Growing Ideas: Freeze-dried fruit for in-season flavor

Smart snacking from 5th Season Fruit

Ever tried to eat a pineapple while on the move? It’s pretty difficult. 5th Season Fruit has found a way to freeze-dry fruit without sacrificing taste. The result? A snack that is 100 percent fruit and can be easily consumed on the go.

Brigitte Keijzer previously worked in the sales department of the meal subscription box company HelloFresh. But as the company scaled-up, she began to miss the charm of working for a start-up, where she could be responsible for many diverse facets of the business. Today, Keijzer is the marketing manager at 5th Season Fruit, a growing company headquartered in the Netherlands that makes freeze-dried fruit snacks.

Keijzer spoke with us about how 5th Season Fruit captures in-season freshness to make a healthy, delicious snack for all times of the year.

What is 5th Season Fruit?

5th Season Fruit sells packs of freeze-dried fruit. We have three variants: strawberry, pineapple, and ‘fruit salad,’ a mixture of strawberry, banana, and apple. Our fruit is harvested all over the world, then flash frozen and sent to our factory in Europe. There, in a vacuum, we slowly raised the temperature to 40 degrees Celsius. This process allows us to reduce the moisture in the fruit while retaining its shape, taste, and color.

What remains is a crunchy fruit snack that is 100 percent fruit. The difference with other dried or baked fruit is that more than ninety percent of the nutritional value of the fruit is retained. We don’t add any ingredients or preservatives. Because we freeze-dry our fruit and package it in an aluminum bag, it has a shelf life of more than a year.

“We retain more than 90% of the nutritional value of the fruit”

- Brigitte Keijzer, 5th Season Fruit

What problem are you trying to solve?

We want to make fruit more accessible. Most people love to eat fruit, but some kinds or fruit are too expensive or seasonal. And fruit isn’t always easy to eat on the go. Our innovation makes it possible for you to eat fruit wherever and whenever you want.

At the moment we’re focusing on people who have very little time or who are on the go. Since this month our products are sold at gas stations and in school and university cafeterias.

What is your biggest challenge?

Freeze-dried fruit is a new concept that not many people know about. The challenge is to get people to experience first-hand how delicious and convenient our snacks are. Everyone who has tasted our product has been enthusiastic about it.

We’re ambitious. We want to develop not only more variants but also new products. And we want our products to be on the shelves of large supermarkets, not just in England and the Netherlands. We’re not there yet, but from September our products will become available in the product line of an online supermarket.

“It's difficult to be patient when you’re ambitious”

- Brigitte Keijzer, 5th Season Fruit

Do you have tips for other entrepreneurs?

Use your network and don’t be shy. You'll find that most people take pleasure in helping you out. You also need to have a lot of patience in order to make things grow. This is the case with our ambition to be on the shelves of large supermarkets. It’s difficult to be patient when you’re ambitious.

This interview is part of the Growing Ideas series, in which we take a look at the future of food and agriculture and offer a platform to innovative companies in these sectors.