Nov 01, 2021 — Botanical extract maker Blue Sky Botanics launches Baobab Fruit Puree, a bioactive ingredient marketed as having a higher prebiotic dietary fiber content than those produced with other plant powders, such as inulin .
Caroline Brevitt, CEO of Blue Sky Botanics, tells FoodIngredientsFirst that Baobab Fruit Puree contains 11 g per 100 g of total dietary fiber, several times more than other fruit purees.
For example, baobab puree contains 3.4 times more dietary fiber than prune puree and 4.3 times more than bananas. Compared to raspberry and strawberry, it contains 12.3 times and 15.9 times more dietary fiber, respectively.
“The puree has a smooth consistency that easily combines with other ingredients. It has a moderately low pH and a high Brix level, making it an ideal ingredient for a wide range of sweet and savory applications ranging from healthy snacks, drinks and preserves, explains Brevitt.
Promote gut health
Food and beverage formulators are incorporating prebiotic ingredients into their products more regularly to help the gut microbiome. Dietary fiber such as inulin is used to stimulate the growth of probiotic bacteria.
The increased interest in functional fiber ingredients is due to the fact that consumers associate gut health and the microbiome with overall holistic well-being. In line with the trend of personalized nutrition, grain fiber, soluble fiber and fruit fiber are promoted.
Baobab has a tangy citrus flavor with hints of grapefruit and caramel and allows food developers to infuse their products with a pleasant texture and mouth feel.
Research conducted by the University of Ghent in Belgium found that the fiber from the baobab fruit was as powerful a prebiotic as inulin, but at half the dose. Multiple studies have been carried out on the Hadza hunter-gatherer tribe of Tanzania, which consumes a lot of baobab.
The study found that the Hadza have one of the most diverse gut microbiomes in the world due to the high soluble fiber content in their diet, according to the researchers.
The baobab is estimated at US $ 1 billion for rural Africa, supporting the livelihoods of ten million households.
Several possible formulations
The baobab fruit puree produced by Blue Sky Botanics has a shelf life of six months at room temperature, 12 months in the fridge, or 18 months in the freezer.
The mash is also rich in vitamin C, potassium and calcium. It can be used in a variety of applications including baby food, confectionery, baked goods, beverages, desserts, salad dressings, nutrition bars, ice cream, preserves and yogurt.
Brevitt explains, “There are times when a formulation requires a liquid ingredient, and many customers have asked us if we can provide baobab in that format. ”
The company found the best solution for applying baobab to different applications and found that the mash worked the best.
Blue Sky Botanics imports its baobab from Zimbabwe on the basis of a 16-year supply relationship with Gus le Breton, “The African Plant Hunter” and founder of the Union for Ethical BioTrade (UEBT) and PhytoTrade Africa.
Powder formulation issues resolved
Blue Sky Botanics has discovered that the baobab fruit, which occurs naturally in powder form, presents challenges in food formulation.
“The hydrophobic nature of baobab powder makes mixing into industrial scale liquid formulations both difficult and time consuming without specialized mixing equipment,” says Brevitt.
Baobab fruit pods dehydrate and harden on the branch throughout the dry season. This dehydration process naturally concentrates nutrients in the pods.
Processing fruit powder into a puree solved these challenges, allowing the company to expand its uses.
Baobab fruit puree eliminates these challenges because the mechanical forces required to incorporate the powder smoothly and consistently into a solution have already been applied.
By Inga de Jong
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