Blueberries remain a firm favourite for consumers, and it’s not hard to see why. They have achieved global status for having ‘superfood’ healthy properties, and their sweet yet tart taste complements a wide range of exciting food and drink products.
Native to North America, the humble blueberry now grows, both wild and cultivated, across South America, Eastern Europe and around the world. Blueberries come from the Vaccinium family, and are closely related to cranberries, bilberries and huckleberries. Contrary to their name, blueberries are not always blue. They come in a purple variety, too.
More than just a fruit, blueberries and their leaves have a long history of being used in traditional remedies for their medicinal properties, to treat and prevent digestive orders, improve circulation, maintain eye health and reduce inflammation. Is there anything they can’t do?
Now, blueberries are recognised for their high antioxidant content – a factor in their well-known ‘superfood’ status. They only have 57 calories per 100 g, contain 84% water and have low glycaemic index, making them a popular choice for low-sugar formulations. Blueberries also pack a nutritional punch, as a rich source of vitamin K, vitamin C and magnesium – and to this day, they are still consumed for their healthy halo.
Blueberries are not just a hit with consumers: manufacturers love them too! Blueberries have become a fruity addition to many everyday favourites, such as yoghurts, juices, muffins, health bars, and even soups and sauces. Plus, their vibrant colour makes them an ideal natural food dye in food and beverages. Now, manufacturers are experimenting with blueberries in exciting combinations and applications, such as blueberry wine and ice cream. Their balanced flavour pairs beautifully with sweet and savoury, giving chefs and food designers endless combinations to explore – blueberry and wasabi cookies, anyone?
Get in touch with our fruit and vegetable ingredient experts to see how blueberries can add a ‘superfood’ quality to your food and beverage products.
Dejan Trifunović, SVZ Business Intelligence Manager