The acai berry isn’t new in the smoothie bar. The US coffee house chain Caribou was the first to introduce the berry two years ago in June 2007. Still in the US, Smoothie King has included its ‘Acai Adventure’ for some time, and in Europe, Zumo has also found success with acai as an option in its stores.
In ready-to-drink, depending where you are, there are many options.
Bom Dia from Bolthouse Farms was one of the first to introduce RTD acai, often in blends including other superfruits such as mangosteen.
In the US, Acai Roots sells powdered and concentrated acai alongside RTD options. In the UK, The Berry Company won the ‘Best new brand or business’ category in the 2007 Beverage Innovation Awards with its exotic berry offerings, including acai.
The big brands, too, have noticed the power of the little Brazilian berry, and acai now features in ranges from PepsiCo’s Tropicana, while many acai fans buy their favourite online from specialists such as Acai Berry Juice.org.
Beyond smoothies, pure juice, juice blends and even concentrates, the distinct flavour of acai is now making it into energy drinks too. In the current issue of *Beverage Innovation*, right up-front in those must-read innovations pages, there’s a new acai energy drink from MonaVie.
To start with, it’s naturally sweet. It’s acknowledged as having around 10 times more antioxidants than red grapes and twice as many as blueberries. To top that, it’s also a great non-fishy source of omega-3 fatty acids, plus monounsaturated fats, amino acids and dietary fibre. No wonder they call it a superfruit. Some fans of the exotic little berry say that it’s “the most nutritious fruit on the planet”.
Acai berries are reminiscent of sweet, black grapes and ripe blackberries with hints of peaches, pears and plums.
So, it’s good for you and it tastes great, but what else does it do?
Well, some say it has aphrodisiac properties. Maybe it’s easy to love something so special. And maybe even more important, in 2006, University of Florida researchers conducted laboratory studies that show extracts from acai contain antioxidants that can destroy cultured human cancer cells.
Acai berries are harvested from palm trees in the Amazon region of Brazil. It has been frequently written about as the ‘Brazilian Mega-Nutrient’.
OK, sorry. I guess this is obvious, but I have heard all sorts of pronunciations around the word ‘ace’. The correct way to say acai is ‘ah-sigh-ee’. Lecture over.
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