||It has been suggested that this article be merged into Superfood. (Discuss) Proposed since November 2014.|
Superfruit is a marketing term first used in the food and beverage industry in 2005. Superfruit has no official U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) or U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) definition. The designation of a fruit as a superfruit is entirely up to the product manufacturer. As such, the term is primarily a marketing tool used to create consumer demand.
Keys to marketing a successful superfruit product include the native fruit qualities, scientific evidence suggesting a potential health benefit, marketing, protection of intellectual property and developing a strategy to attract consumers. Combined in the right way, these elements may allow a fruit to achieve "critical mass" as a superfruit.
To date, superfruits have been developed mainly as juices, but began in 2007 to appear as single piece products or as ingredients for functional foods, confectioneries and cosmetics. Current industry development includes applications for creating novel consumer products, such as energy drinks, dietary supplements, and flavors with nutrient qualities, e.g. fortified water, popcorn or snack chips.
Although used increasingly in new food and beverage products, superfruits have not been defined by scientific criteria that would allow consumers to objectively assess nutrient value and potential for furnishing health benefits. Consequently, the term superfruit is used liberally to include fruits having sparse scientific evidence for being "super" other than being relatively unknown to common consumers.
The superfruit category is a relatively new marketing approach for promoting common or rare fruits used as raw materials and ingredients for the global industries of functional foods, beverages and nutraceuticals. The fruits may have nutritional significance due to their nutrient content, antioxidant value or anticipated health benefits and commercial significance associated with novelty of taste, color, number of food or beverage product formats or potential to stimulate future products with innovative packaging and labeling.
In 2007, the superfoods category was forecast to become a billion dollar global industry by 2011, with several thousand new superfruit products expected to enter the marketplace in 2007–8. According to Datamonitor, superfruit product launches grew at a rate of 67% over 2007-8, but underwent significant category decline beginning in 2011 when introductions of food and non-food products featuring pomegranate, açaí or goji declined by 56% for the period from 2011-12 versus 2009-10.
Origin and background
More than a dozen industry publications on functional foods and beverages have referred to various exotic or antioxidant species as superfruits with estimates for some 10,000 new product introductions in 2007–8.
Relatively rare fruits originating from Oceania (noni), China (goji, seabuckthorn), Southeast Asia (mangosteen) or tropical South America (açaí) unknown to American consumers were among the first wave of superfruits successfully used in product manufacturing from 2005 to 2010, but their popularity has declined through 2013, being replaced in part by new entries from southern Africa (baobab) and northern Europe (forest berries). Consumer interest in new products using pomegranate remained consistent through 2013.
However, definition of a superfruit remains obscure with no scientific standards or commercial criteria accepted uniformly in the industry.
Mainstream consumers initially seemed to accept juices of fruits that would not be popular in fresh form, such as noni and pomegranate – two of the largest selling juices. Tahitian Noni began selling noni juice in 1996 and claimed billions of dollars in sales during their first 10 years of operation. Earlier reports showed pomegranate-based products grew nearly 400 per cent over 2005-7 from new launches, a gain exceeding all the previous six years. Similarly, XanGo, a multiple-fruit juice containing mangosteen juice, grew from $40 million in sales in 2002 to $200 million in 2005.
One strategy used by manufacturers has been to employ superfruits to enhance the flavor of food products, attempting to mask tastes or provide impressions of novelty and health. 5,000 new products were introduced in 2005 on berries alone and more than 500 new superfruit products were launched in 2006. DataMonitor included the superfruit category as one of the top 10 global trends in consumer products for 2008. In 2013, innovation in superfruit products appeared to be generally declining, with fewer new introductions to the category.
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