The national survey of 1500 consumers ranked raspberries second behind strawberries in order of preference for consumers. The respondents ranked 13 fruit including blueberries, cranberries, bananas, apples and watermelon.
The preferred fruit applications were listed by the respondents as smoothies, followed by desserts, topping for cereals, in yogurts and in baked goods and desserts.
When ranked according to their perceived health benefits, raspberries placed third, behind blueberries and cranberries.
The results have implications for food formulators, which are increasingly recognizing the value of raspberry’s image on the label and in the product formulation to improve flavor and color and attract consumers. The research appears to confirm the fruit’s popularity and its benefits to processors as an ingredient.
According to Mintel’s global new product database (GNPD), the number of products containing raspberry listed as an ingredient has grown since 2003. From 101 new product launches five years ago, 195 products were launched in 2007. Almost 140 products have been launched so far this year.
The most popular category for formulators is non-alcoholic beverages, with 315 products launched between 2003 and July 30th, 2008. Other categories with the significant amounts of launches are desserts and ice creams (161), snacks (139), bakery (117), and sugar and gum confectionary (104).
Products launched with raspberry as an ingredient were only considered, not products with ‘raspberry’ flavors.
According to a study published in 2006 in the journal BioFactors (Vol. 23, pp. 197-205), raspberries possess about 50 per cent higher antioxidant activity than strawberries, and storage or processing into jams does not remove the valuable compounds.
Moreover, the fruit was reported to contain three times the antioxidant activity of kiwis, and ten times the antioxidant activity of tomatoes.
Vitamin C makes up about 20 per cent of the total antioxidant capacity, accounting for up to 30 milligrams per 100 grams of fruit. Anthocyanins, especially cyanidin and pelagonidin glycosides, account for a further 25 per cent.
Interestingly, the biggest contribution to antioxidant capacity is from ellagitannins, a family of compounds almost exclusive to the raspberry, and are reported to have anti-cancer activity.
About 60 percent of the US production of red raspberries is from the state of Washington. Furthermore, about 95 percent of the nation’s raspberries for processing come from the state.
The chairman of the Washington Red Raspberry Commission, Adam Enfield, welcomed the survey results. “Red raspberries haven’t received the same promotion dollars as other berries, which makes their popularity even more impressive,” said Enfield.
“Our berry grower/processors are now creating programs to increase the awareness of the great taste, versatility and nutrition benefits of red raspberries and capitalize on their popularity.”