- Nestlé, the world's largest food company, may be looking at the goldenberry as its next superfood candidate, according to Bloomberg.
- The focus on the yellow berry that's roughly the size of a marble comes as Nestlé recently purchased a 60% stake in the Ecuador-based Terrafertil, a natural and organic plant-based food company. Terrafertil is the world’s largest buyer of goldenberries.
- “One of our main rationales to partner up with Nestlé was that we’ve seen excitement from Nestlé to start using goldenberries as part of their ingredients in their products, from baby food to cereal bars to chocolate,” David Bermeo, Terrafertil CEO, told Bloomberg.
Nestlé has been doubling down on healthier products with its acquisitions of plant-based Sweet Earth Foods and Canadian vitamin maker Atrium Innovations. But its deal with Terrafertil could give the Swiss company immediate insight into the next superfood that could grab the attention of consumers looking for better-for-you products largely unheard of in many of the markets where Nestlé operates. One advantage for Nestlé of working with Terrafertil is that the smaller company is already familiar with the berry, including where to source it from, how to include it in foods and markets where it can be sold.
The goldenberry, a small yellow-colored fruit more closely related to tomatoes than an actual berry, has been touted for its wide-range of health benefits, including high fiber and vitamin A and C content, as well as being loaded with antioxidants, which can help reduce the risk of certain cancers and other diseases. The fruit, which is also called cape gooseberry or physalis, is native to Peru but can thrive in high altitude and warm climates in places such as Ecuador, Columbia and even Hawaii.
The berry carries both sweet and tart characteristics, which could make it useful as an ingredient in a host of foods such as baked goods, salads or eaten by itself in fresh or dried form. That could make it attractive to a large food manufacturer such as Nestlé that sells products in nearly 200 countries around the world, including the U.S., where tastes and trends can vary by region. The goldenberry can be located in some stores in America and online through Amazon, Instacart and Walmart.com, but when found, it is most commonly in a dried form.
While the goldenberry has a host of characteristics that are attractive to both Nestlé and health-conscious consumers, it's uncertain whether enough shoppers will embrace the product to make it the next kale or quinoa — assuming it's a fruit they are familiar with in the first place or become acquainted with as it grows in popularity. And even if does catch on, it's far from certain whether enough of the crop would be available to meet whatever the demand.