Natural Foods Merchandiser


Big time for baobab?

A giant furry nut may be this year's breakout superfruit, according to Mintel. The pulp of the fruit of the baobab, or "upside down" tree, has a tart flavor somewhere between grapefruit and tamarind. But it's the vitamins and antioxidants inside, plus the fact that it's wild-harvested that might launch baobab as the year's fruity rock star. Also, the baobob's got a great story. The thick-trunked tree is an icon of the African bush. It can live up to 500 years, and its hollow trunk stores water—and often bats, snakes and humans. A district commissioner in Zambia once set up his office inside a baobob, and a tree still standing in Western Australia was used to imprison Aboriginal convicts in the 1890s. In Senegal, the bodies of chiefs and bards were traditionally buried in the hollows and crevices of the trees, which then grew around the bodies. Baobab recently won European Commission approval as a novel food and is being incorporated into cereal bars and drinks.

Sniffing out lower-salt solutions

The mere aroma of salty-tasting foods—think anchovies, bacon, and Roquefort cheese—increases the perceived taste of salt according to researchers from the Institute of International Research in Dijon, France. The news couldn't come at a better time, as food manufacturers are scrambling to find low-salt solutions without sacrificing taste. Salt has come under increased scrutiny, with the Center for Science in the Public Interest dubbing it "perhaps the deadliest ingredient" in our food supply and the New York Times reporting last October that kids as young as 5 years old are developing kidney stones caused, in part, by excess salt in processed foods.

Natural Foods Merchandiser volume XXX/number 1/p. 6

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