To ease your site search, article categories are at bottom of page.

July 06, 2008

Baobab extract approved in EU ingredients market

African farmers could be set to tap into a billion dollar industry with baobab, as the baobab fruit pulp obtained novel foods approval at the end of June.

The news could see a rush in demand for thus novel fruit, which has been building since initial reports a couple of years. "We do anticipate a rising level of demand for baobab," said Dr Lucy Welford from PhytoTrade Africa, the southern Africa natural products trade association that represents companies wishing to export their dried baobab fruit.

The maximum sustainable harvesting potential of baobab could be just under one billion dollars, according to a report by Ben Bennett from the UK's Natural Resources Institute (NRI) for the Regional Trade Facilitation Programme (RTFP).

"Baobab can be offered sustainably and in very large quantities," Bennett said. "[The novel foods approval] is wonderful news for the thousand or so potential products that could come out of Africa," he added.

Riaan van Breda, technical director for Afriplex, said that approval had arrived, but the final written confirmation was expected within weeks. PhytoTrade Africa and South African company Afriplex have been working together to ensure the ingredient's acceptance within the European ingredients market.

That approval has now come and PhytoTrade Africa are moving to promote the potential of baobab fruit pulp in specific food applications.

"The key things that PhytoTrade wants to focus on are the opportunities in the beverage and healthy snack markets," said Welford.

Baobab is the large green or brown fruit of the Adansonia digitata, (or 'upside-down') tree, which grows primarily in South Africa, Botswana, Namibia, Mozambique and Zimbabwe.

On pollination by fruit bats, this tree produces large green or brownish fruits. Different parts of the fruit are a traditional food in these countries.

It has a long history of traditional use in Africa, but has not been commonly consumed in the EU prior to May 1997, meaning that approval must be gained under novel foods legislation before it can be used in products for the European market.

The wheels were set in motion by PhytoTrade Africa, which submitted an application to the UK's Food Standards Agency in 2006.

According to the novel foods application, the anticipated intake of baobab pulp from products such as smoothies and cereal bars would be around five to 10 per cent. These levels were determined by preliminary work by Leatherhead Food International to determine the potential applications of the pulp as an ingredient in food and beverages.

LFI's work found that the optimum level for smoothie drinks was between six and eight per cent by weight fruit pulp, while cereal bars prepared by a dry mix process showed that five to ten per cent by weight of the baobab fruit pulp "produced acceptable fruit bars with good flavour and a chewy texture."

"The Leatherhead Food results clearly demonstrate that these values are acceptable for the incorporation of baobab pulp at these levels," stated the novel food approval application. "Further uses include a de-pectinated baobab fruit pulp and the use of the fruit pulp in other food products such as biscuits, confectionary, and other related food products."

"In time, we also want to devote some attention to research into baobab pulp's health giving properties, as well as developing new uses and applications," Welford said.

The fruit pulp of the baobab is said to have an antioxidant activity about four times that of kiwi or apple pulp. The main nutrients include vitamin C, riboflavin, niacin, pectin and citric, malic and succinic acids, while the oil also contains the vitamins A, D and E.

A study from Italian researchers last year reported that the baobab pulp had an Integral Antioxidant Capacity (IAC) 10 times that of orange pulp (Food Chemistry, Vol. 102, pp 1352-1356).

The pulp is also reported to be prebiotic and stimulate the intestinal microflora.
If successful, the application will further underline the growing popularity of exotic ingredients derived from Africa.

Food Navigator

Article Categories

AGRA agribusiness agrochemicals agroforestry aid Algeria aloe vera Angola aquaculture banana barley beans beef bees Benin biodiesel biodiversity biof biofuel biosafety biotechnology Botswana Brazil Burkina Faso Burundi CAADP Cameroon capacity building cashew cassava cattle Central African Republic cereals certification CGIAR Chad China CIMMYT climate change cocoa coffee COMESA commercial farming Congo Republic conservation agriculture cotton cow pea dairy desertification development disease diversification DRCongo drought ECOWAS Egypt Equatorial Guinea Ethiopia EU EUREPGAP events/meetings exports fa fair trade FAO fertilizer finance fisheries floods flowers food security fruit Gabon Gambia gender issues Ghana GM crops grain green revolution groundnuts Guinea Bissau Guinea Conakry HIV/AIDS honey hoodia horticulture ICIPE ICRAF ICRISAT IFAD IITA imports India infrastructure innovation inputs investment irrigation Ivory Coast jatropha kenaf keny Kenya khat land deals land management land reform Lesotho Liberia Libya livestock macadamia Madagascar maize Malawi Mali mango marijuana markets Mauritania Mauritius mechanization millet Morocco Mozambique mushroom Namibia NEPAD Niger Nigeria organic agriculture palm oil pastoralism pea pest control pesticides pineapple plantain policy issues potato poultry processing productivity Project pyrethrum rai rain reforestation research rice rivers rubber Rwanda SADC Sao Tome and Principe seed seeds Senegal sesame Seychelles shea butter Sierra Leone sisal soil erosion soil fertility Somalia sorghum South Africa South Sudan Southern Africa spices standards subsidies Sudan sugar sugar cane sustainable farming Swaziland sweet potato Tanzania tariffs tea tef tobacco Togo tomato trade training Tunisia Uganda UNCTAD urban farming value addition value-addition vanilla vegetables water management weeds West Africa wheat World Bank WTO yam Zambia Zanzibar zero tillage Zimbabwe

  © 2007 Africa News Network design by Ourblogtemplates.com

Back to TOP