PhytoTrade Africa has secured a $100,000 cash injection from the USAID Southern Africa Trade Hub to help develop a US market strategy for baobab – the African superfruit packing an unparalleled nutritional punch.
The cash will be spent on research on the US food industry and potential applications, product development advice and raising consumer awareness, a spokeswoman for the trade association told NutraIngredients-USA.
Works in range of food products from jam to ice cream
Baobab fruit pulp powder contains more fiber, vitamin C, iron, potassium and magnesium than any other fruit powder available on the market, weight for weight, according to Baobab Foods, the exclusive North American importer of baobab products from Afriplex of South Africa.
It is also one of the few plant sources of calcium and contains more than 50% fiber, most of which is soluble.
Speaking to this publication in September, the firm’s product development chief Stephan Broburg said a flurry of product launches containing baobab ingredients was scheduled for the first and second quarter of 2012, including a baobab granola, baobab powder in canisters, fruit cubes in a retail pack and chocolate covered fruit cubes.
Wave of product launches scheduled for Q1, Q2, 2012
Baobab powder looks like sherbet and has a delicate taste, and can be used in multiple applications from jam and ice cream to juices, powdered drinks, cereals and ready-to-drink teas.
The cubes - a blend of baobab fruit powder with citrus pectin and fruit purees - work as a standalone fruit snack or could be added to trail mixes and cereals or panned with chocolate.
But dietary supplement firms are also excited about baobab, claimed Broburg.
“We think capsules and powdered drink mixes with baobab as a base can be big categories, especially with the higher antioxidant levels, and as a raw, whole food with exceptional fiber content.”
The USAID Southern Africa Trade Hub (SATH) is one of three regional trade hubs set up by the US government to enhance Southern Africa’s trade competitiveness.