Trend spotter: Superfruits are out, traditional fruits are in

By Caroline Scott-Thomas

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags: Fruit

Trend spotter: Superfruits are out, traditional fruits are in
American consumers’ favorite flavors are changing, and while fruity flavors are gaining in popularity, superfruits are on the way out, according to Dr. Elizabeth Sloan, president of Sloan Trends.

Speaking at the Research Chefs Association conference in San Antonio, Texas last week, Sloan presented Technomic data, suggesting that “fruity” became US consumers’ second-favorite flavor profile last year, up from seventh place in 2009. But while fruity flavors have become more popular, consumers have been less adventurous in their tastes.

“Superfruits are not doing too well,”​ she said. “The beverage market has always been the barometer…For the last two years, superfruit flavors have fallen. It’s going back to more traditional fruit-like flavors.”

In particular, she said that aҫai has gone from being in the top five most-used flavors in new beverage products in 2009, to 19th​ position in 2011. Pomegranate took the number one spot in 2008-2009, but had slipped to 18th​ last year.

Meanwhile, mango and coconut have been the fastest movers up the list, while the top three flavors in 2011 were apple, berry and orange.

Speculating on the reasons for the demise of superfruit flavors, Sloan said: “The people who were buying them were very trendy. It’s a very specific consumer group.”

She added: “People who were buying superfruit drinks weren’t buying them because of the taste.”

In terms of their antioxidant content, consumers are also looking to other ingredients, including herbs and spices, which may have much higher antioxidant values than superfruits or other foods considered to be antioxidant-rich. One teaspoon of cloves has around the same level of antioxidants as half a cup of blueberries, Sloan said, while one teaspoon of oregano could be equivalent in antioxidants to a bar of dark chocolate.

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2 comments

Sucrose - the next drug

Posted by Vic Cherikoff,

Here's clear evidence of how our primitive taste drives can kill us today. Our instinctive drive for sweetness would have been satiated in our hunter-gatherer past by sucrose-free fruits laden with micro-sugars (enhancing cellular micro-nutrient uptake) and both water and fat-soluble antioxidants (wild fruits are well endowed with lipophilic antioxidants). Finding sweet fruits, wild honey and other sweet plant exudates would have required energy expenditure (more than foraging in a supermarket); fiber and a host of anti-inflammatory compounds, minerals, enzymes and other beneficial phytonutrients.

The point to note here is that sucrose intake would have been minimal, not like the average 73g per day per adult today. And noting that mangoes have lost most of their fiber instead being pumped up with over 3% more sucrose than an equal weight of cola. Little wonder we in the developed world are getting fatter as we exercise our taste preference for sugary drinks.

What if super fruits were added into mango and apple juice bases? This might minimize the damage at least or for something off the wall, why not develop low sucrose mangoes and add xylitol or stevia to the juices along with super fruits? Now that's a smart approach rather than killing your customers. Besides, it may not be long before we list sucrose as a drug, similar to tobacco and alcohol. Certainly researchers at UCSF agree with this position.

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antioxidents and superfruits

Posted by Michael Whiteman,

When was the last time Ms Sloan consumed a teaspoon of cloves at a single sitting? Or even during the course of a month?

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