Coffee Fruit: Nature’s Superfruit, Rediscovered
For centuries, the traditional coffee production process has discarded much of the nutrition from the coffee plant as a waste product. FutureCeuticals has studied coffea arabica, and developed an eco-friendly, sustainable coffee fruit harvest and production process that preserves the unique phytonutrients. During our harvest, coffee fruit is handpicked at family-owned farms to capture and preserve all of the benefits of the plant.
When you sip your hot cup of coffee each morning, we’re guessing the last thing on your mind is how coffee beans eventually become your daily pick-me-up. Between busy schedules and countless responsibilities, most of us don’t have the time to research the coffee bean’s journey.
So, you might be surprised to learn that the bean’s story starts with the coffee cherry, nature’s forgotten superfruit. The small coffee cherry has nutrients that usually never make it to your coffee cup because during typical coffee production, processors strip the fruit from the bean and discard it as a waste product.
Thankfully, FutureCeuticals has developed and patented processing techniques that now allow us to preserve and safely use the coffee fruit and its valuable nutrients. That’s not the end of the story, though. Here are five more things you need to know about coffee fruit and how you can add it to your next better-for-you product.
5 Things You Should Know About Coffee Fruit
- Has nutritious (and surprising!) benefits.
- Is a sustainable ingredient.
- Contains natural caffeine.
- Can be used in a variety of applications.
- Has an interesting history.
1. Coffee fruit has nutritious benefits. One might even surprise you!
Coffee fruit – including its skin, or “cascara” − delivers antioxidant polyphenols, compounds that studies have shown can help mitigate the effects of free radicals on the body.
Surprisingly, coffee fruit also has potential brain health benefits. In one recent study, seventy-one adults consumed coffee cherry extract or placebo. Then they participated in a cognitive challenge involving working memory processes. At the end of the twenty-eight-day trial, researchers found that participants on the coffee cherry extract regimen showed improved reaction time compared to the placebo group.
2. Coffee fruit preservation promotes sustainability.
The traditional coffee production process inherently creates waste when producers discard the coffee fruit. Unfortunately, as the coffee fruit begins to decay, it releases harmful mycotoxins into the environment. Preserving the coffee fruit right after harvest can prevent the release of these mycotoxins — which is important because they can be harmful to human health.
You can also support the sustainability of the local coffee fruit farms and communities by purchasing responsibly sourced coffee fruit ingredients. Look for certifications from organizations such as the Rainforest Alliance™ as you make purchasing decisions.
Rainforest Alliance Certified™ farms meet rigorous environmental, social, and economic standards that support sustainable farming and better opportunities for farmers, their families, and our planet. These types of third-party certifications can help you feel confident that you are including ethically produced ingredients in your products.
3. Coffee fruit contains natural caffeine.
According to Mintel, “Consumers continue to demand sports and energy drinks with more natural qualities.”1 Coffee fruit contains natural caffeine, allowing product formulators to satisfy consumer demands for naturally derived energy products.
Different types of coffee fruit ingredients, such as whole fruit powders or extracts, contain different natural caffeine levels. This offers formulators a variety of options to add natural caffeine from coffee fruit to products ranging from energy beverages to supplements to bars and more.
4. Coffee fruit ingredients work in a variety of applications.
Coffee fruit does not stay fresh for long after harvest, making it nearly impossible to include the fruit in healthy products in a fresh or frozen state. But our preservation process now makes it possible to easily add coffee fruit extracts to food, beverages, and supplements.
For example, our CoffeeBerry® product portfolio includes CoffeeBerry® Energy whole coffee fruit extracts that offer half the bitterness of synthetic caffeine ingredients, according to research from FONA International. Some items in the product line are also water-soluble, making them ideal for beverage applications. Plus, ingredients in the portfolio are also available in conventional and organic, giving you more possibilities to fulfill your brand goals.
5. Coffee fruit has an interesting history.
Though we don’t know the exact history of humans and coffee, legend tells us that centuries ago, an Ethiopian goat herder realized that after eating coffee cherries, his herd seemed more energetic and had trouble sleeping. After telling a local monk about his discovery, the monk made a drink from the cherries and found that he, too, was able to stay alert for longer.
Consumers connect with stories. The history of coffee fruit can help you attract and engage with customers and make your product memorable in a crowded market.
Coffee fruit is an exotic ingredient with a rich history, sustainability story, and health benefits, making it an exciting option for your innovative food, supplement, and beverage products. Consumers are more interested in natural products than ever before. Adding coffee fruit ingredients to your better-for-you products can help you satisfy your customer’s needs while you support the well-being of people, communities, and our planet.