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Market researcher Mintel thinks the drought-tolerant succulent has a real future in beverages. And not just in Mexico.
Always looking for the next food ingredient trend, market researcher Mintel just made a prediction that prickly pear cactus is on the rise. And with good reason.
Prickly pear cacti are drought-tolerant plants, meaning they can offer an advantage for farmers who are already facing the threat of uncertain global water security. Adding to the advantage of little watering, prickly pear cacti bear colorful fruits rich in calcium, magnesium, taurine, fiber, and numerous antioxidants. These fruits are also useful for their extractable pigments, including deep reds and oranges.
Mintel claims that less than 100 prickly pear products were launched between 2009 and 2013, but 57% of those were in beverage format. A significant portion of total product launches (26%) was in Mexico.
A number of ingredient suppliers are already marketing prickly pear cactus ingredients. Ecuadorian Rainforest (Belleville, NJ) offers prickly pear powder sourced from the whole fruit, and the company says its ingredient is well suited for jellies, teas, lotions, and beverages. The company’s prickly pear powder has bland taste-making it easy to pair with more flavorful ingredients-and pale green color. It’s sourced from the immature fruits, but other suppliers are offering red prickly pear powder, too.
Keep reading Nutritional Outlook in the coming months to learn more about prickly pears and their health benefits.
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