Pears poised for 'superfruit' status

Since the US Department of Agriculture named pears as the number one fruit-based source of fibre in its 2005 review of dietary guidelines, pear marketeers are giving a traditional fruit a new lease on life as a member of the growing band of superfruits.

While there is nothing new in the idea of fruit being good for you, superfruits highlight specific, intrinsic nutritional properties and subsequent health benefits. Blueberries, acai, cranberry and pomegranate have exploited their superfruit potential recently.

These campaigns are characterised by solid science, sophisticated marketing and packaging, and innovative variety of consumption platforms (juices, bars, supplements, etc). Now the humble pear is taking a tilt at the superfruit spotlight, albeit as a whole fruit rather than a trendy juice or supplement.

As Julian Mellentin, editor of New Nutrition Business, notes in his report, 'Superfruit: eight key case studies in marketing healthy fruit,' it's a surprisingly unworn path.

"Marketing the health benefits of whole fruit, although on the increase, is done remarkably little. But to have any effect, this communications effort needs to be serious. It's not a one-time effort and it won't yield quick results — it requires a consistent, year-in, year-out commitment to building a fruit's long-term health halo."

Pears stack up well against whole grains and are low-glycaemic index, low-calorie, and rich in antioxidants such as potassium. Pears also provide 10 per cent of daily vitamin C. A pear has 100 calories and 4-5g of fibre, which equates to about 16 per cent of the RDI for most adults.

USDA data show 41 per cent of the fibre in a pear is pectin, a type of soluble fibre with reported cholesterol and blood sugar benefits.

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