Native to several South American countries, goldenberries have been on the radar for a while. Also called groundcherries, the nutrient-dense fruit is one of a number of products to cash in on the desire for Andean ‘superfoods,’ despite the fact that its nutritional profile is somewhat modest.
Sure, it’s got fibre, potassium and antioxidants (including vitamins A and C), but compared to some of the ingredients we’ve been seeing heading this way (sea buckthorn, honeyberry, jujube) it’s no obvious star.
Yet that fact hasn’t stopped Nestlé scooping up a majority stake in leading goldenberry buyer Terrafertil. While the deal to acquire 60% of the Ecuador-based company was announced in February, it only completed a couple of weeks ago following antitrust approval processes.
Nestlé certainly isn’t sitting on its hands with the new investment: just a week after the acquisition was completed, it launched vegan almond milks and fruit juices in Mexico and Ecuador under the Nature’s Heart brand.
The Swiss multinational has already tapped into trends like low sugar (Milkybar Wowsomes) and plant-based flexitarian fare (Garden Gourmet) this year. So how does the goldenberry fit into the master plan?
Goldenberries are often eaten by themselves as a snack, but can also be added to cereals, sauces and desserts to lend a tart, sweet flavour that also promises a nutrient kick.
The orange-coloured fruit is already common not just in the countries where it is farmed – Peru, Chile, Colombia, among others – but also in Canada as well as the States, where it has benefited from some good marketing.
One company has even trademarked the name Pichuberry to sell the product, hoping to associate the goldenberry with Peru’s famed Machu Picchu World Heritage Site, where Incan civilisation once flourished. TV personality Dr. Oz, meanwhile, once dubbed it one of the top ways to lose weight.
While the Americas may consume them fresh, most Europeans are more likely to have encountered them dried. Waitrose, for example, stocks Terrafertil brand Nature’s Heart, which also has goldenberry SKUs in Whole Foods. At Holland & Barrett, consumers can find them covered in white chocolate or in a powder with turmeric and coconut designed to boost smoothies.
Terrafertil also sells items based on cacao, coconut, chia and spirulina, an algae that has been popping up in pizza shops and catering companies.
The main reason behind Nestlé’s stake in Terrafertil may be related to the supply chain, according to Maria Mascaraque, a senior analyst at Euromonitor International. She told Food Spark’s sister service Food Navigator that that the major advantage appears to be that Nestlé will have instant access to Terrafertil’s organic portfolio.
And organic definitely seems to be a growing Nestlé concern. Just yesterday, Cereal Partners Worldwide, which manufactures Nesquick, Cheerios and Chocapic for Nestlé, announced that it would be releasing organic versions of those cereals.
According to Terrafertil CEO David Bermeo, Nestlé is keen to start NPD ASAP. He told Bloomberg: “One of our main rationales to partner up with Nestlé was that we’ve seen excitement from Nestlé to start using goldenberries as part of their ingredients in their products, from baby food to cereal bars to chocolate.”
What do you reckon Sparkie, is this a berry good idea?
Goldenberries are mainly being targeted towards food companies developing healthy snacks. The retail market is limited due to the lack of media representation in recent times.
They definitely have a future, as foods are being made from them fairly regularly, but it is really up to Nestlé if that is enough for them or if they launch a media campaign to bring them back to the forefront of health food fads.