Fiber foods

New fiber-rich prebiotic baobab fruit puree that supports gut health

Blue Sky Botanics has announced the launch of a new product to add to its portfolio of bioactive ingredients for the food and beverage industries. Organic Baobab Fruit Puree is a pasteurized, ready-to-use superfruit ingredient that is high in dietary fiber and rich in vitamin C, potassium and calcium. With its zesty citrus flavor with a hint of grapefruit and caramel, Baobab Fruit Puree is perfect for food and beverage brands looking to add baobab fibre, nutrients, taste, texture and mouthfeel to their products. Made on Blue Sky’s new aseptic production line, the mash is pasteurized and immediately packaged to preserve nutrients and ensure a long shelf life.

Baobab and gut health

As researchers learn more about the link between the gut microbiome and human health, food and beverage formulators are increasingly looking to support the gut with prebiotic ingredients. Dietary fiber is essential and ingredients such as inulin, which have been shown to stimulate the growth of beneficial probiotic bacteria, are in high demand. There are approximately 36,000 plant species that naturally contain inulin fiber, the most abundant source being chicory root. But there’s a new kid on the block who may soon challenge inulin as the most potent prebiotic fiber source.

Baobab fruit powder is known as the African superfruit due to its richness in nutrients and exceptionally high dietary fiber content. Recently published research conducted by the University of Ghent in Belgium found that fiber from the baobab fruit is as potent a prebiotic as inulin, but at half the dose. This finding is supported by multiple studies of the Hadza, a tribe of hunter-gatherers in Tanzania who consume large amounts of baobab fruit throughout the year. These studies revealed that the Hadza have one of the most diverse gut microbiomes on the planet, and the researchers suggested this was due to the high soluble fiber content in their diet.

Why a mash?

The baobab fruit comes naturally in the form of raw powder. This can be a wording challenge.

“The hydrophobic nature of baobab powder makes mixing into liquid formulations on an industrial scale both difficult and time-consuming without specialized mixing equipment. Baobab Fruit Purée eliminates these challenges because the mechanical forces required to gently incorporate the powder and cohesively into a solution have already been applied,” says Caroline Brevitt, Managing Director of Blue Sky Botanics.

“We love that the baobab fruit comes in a 100% natural raw powder form without the need for processing or modification. But there are times when a formulation requires a liquid ingredient and we had many customers who asked us if we could supply Baobab in this format. The good news is that we now have a solution”.

Only high in fiber

Made from 100% pure organic baobab fruit, baobab fruit puree is an extremely versatile ingredient that can be used in a wide variety of product applications. It has one of the highest dietary fiber contents of any fruit puree on the market.

“Consumers and product developers are increasingly aware of the multiple health benefits of dietary fiber, particularly with the gut microbiome, yet most fruit purees fail to provide fiber content. Our baobab fruit puree contains over 11g/100g of total dietary fiber, several times more than other fruit purees,” says Daniel Jones, Food and Beverage Division Manager at Blue Sky.

Ethical and sustainable

Blue Sky Baobab Fruit Puree is both organic and fully traceable. It is also available as a FairWild certified premium product, reflecting environmentally sustainable sourcing practices, fair trade pricing and transparent trading relationships with rural fruit pickers in Southern Africa.

“Our entire fruit sourcing operation is certified organic, which means we can trace each batch of our fruit back to the specific area it was harvested from. However, consumers are increasingly demanding evidence of sustainability and ethical sourcing. That’s why we decided to also become FairWild Certified”, explains Gus Le Breton of Baobab Exports Ltd who supplies the raw material. Gus is also well known for his video blog The African Plant Hunter where he ventures into remote areas to reveal the hidden secrets of Africa’s medicinal plants.

“For the past 10 years, FairWild has been the global certification of fair trade standards for wild-harvested crops. The FairWild logo provides an absolute guarantee to brands and their consumers that they stand behind an ethically sourced product. Our baobab fruit is an excellent example of such an ingredient. It ticks all the ethical boxes and also provides a wonderful social impact story. We are proud to be the first and only FairWild certified Baobab supply chain in Africa”.

Baobab Exports sources its raw materials from Zimbabwe, where baobab trees grow in abundance across the country. These trees are sustainably harvested from the wild by over 5000 registered collectors from local rural communities. The Zimbabwean harvest season is between May and September, when the baobab fruit pods are in prime condition. This ensures that baobab fruit puree is produced from the most nutrient-dense and consistent fruit.

With its swollen, bottle-shaped trunk and root-like branches, the baobab is an icon of the African savannah that can live for up to 2,500 years. Baobabs are almost unique in that their fruits naturally occur in dry powder form – the fruit pods dehydrating and hardening on the branch throughout the dry season. This dehydration process is believed to naturally concentrate nutrients into the pods, producing one of the most nutrient-dense fruits on the planet.

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