Superfoods

Do you think the demand for “superfoods” is just a fad? That’s understandable. But recent numbers tell a different story. Tracking by the Mintel Global Products Database, and reported by Forbes, Food Business News and others, shows no let up in demand. Between 2011 and 2015, there was a 202% increase in the number of new food and drink products launched featuring some variation of the term “superfood” in the name. The US alone saw a 26% rise is such new products in 2015.

That’s a story of opportunity. A global food science analyst for Mintel attributed the growth to “strong consumer demand for highly nutritious products. The term ‘superfoods’ continues to tap into that desire to be healthy and is often used to promote the benefits of nutritionally dense foods.” As reported by Forbes, the global market for superfoods has grown 8.5% per year and is forecast to exceed $305.4 billion by 2020.

And the demand isn’t limited to foods. The Mintel analyst goes on to say, “…they are regularly springing up in the beauty, health and hygiene and pet food aisles as a result of today’s consumers becoming much more aware of what they are putting into and onto their bodies.”

Running parallel is the push toward “clean eating,” a trend where consumers are demanding healthier and more natural foods, which USA Today reports is driving demand for more natural ingredients in today’s food offerings.

What are so-called superfoods?

While there’s no real agreed upon definition, the term has come to mean extra healthy foods that are dense in nutrients and rich in antioxidants, making them believed to be beneficial to health and well-being. More specifically, the term describes food with a high phytonutrient content, which is thought to provide health advantages.

As explained at the US Department of Agriculture website, phytonutrients are organic components of plants thought to promote human health. Fruits, vegetables, grains, nuts and teas are rich sources of phytonutrients.

There is evidence from laboratory studies that phytochemicals in fruits and vegetables may reduce the risk of cancer, possibly due to dietary fiber, antioxidants and anti-inflammatory effects. An antioxidant is a molecule capable of inhibiting the destructive effects of the oxidation of other molecules. Oxidation reactions can produce free radicals, which can start chain reactions that damage cells and can contribute to aging and disease.

Superfoods available from the Burchell Nursery include almonds, apples, apricots, cherries, olives, oranges, walnuts and pomegranates

Almonds and Walnuts
Almonds are packed with vitamin E. As detailed in Mens Health magazine, almonds are energy rich snacks that lower blood sugar and are rich in amino acids to bolster muscle growth and are “stuffed” with the antioxidant vitamin E, which may help boost the immune system, fight against sun damage and protect arteries, muscles and the nervous system from free radicals. The Cleveland Clinic posts that almonds are “reported to help with memory and attention.”

Walnuts are “richer in heart-healthy omega-3's than salmon, loaded with more anti-inflammatory polyphenols than red wine, and packing half as much muscle-building protein as chicken. Other nuts combine only one or two of these features, not all three,” according to Mens Health.

Burchell Nursery offers 23 Almond varieties
and 16 Walnut varieties.