The largest food company in the world has their eyes on a small Andean fruit. The CPG company is known for their iconic food products and believes that the next big superfood candidate is the goldenberry.
This interest in the small yellow-orange fruit with a sweet and sour taste comes after Nestlé recently purchased a 60 percent stake in Ecuador-based company Terrafertil, which is known to be 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 chief executive officer, told Bloomberg.
The maker of Gerber baby food and KitKat chocolate bars can add the marble-sized berries to nearly any formulation that can benefit from a sweet and sour ingredient. In addition, the company will be able to promote such products as healthier food options because goldenberries are high in antioxidants, vitamins and minerals.
This move is one of many as Nestlé continues its mission to be known for healthy product options rather than chocolate. Their 2017 acquisitions of plant-based food company Sweet Earth Foods and Canadian vitamin maker Atrium Innovations indicate that the company is making aggressive moves towards the health food space.
In addition to acquisitions, the company is differentiating themselves in the food industry through product innovations. More recently, Nestlé launched a personalized nutrition program in Japan which utilizes DNA Testing, artificial intelligence and Instagram to provide consumers with a personalized nutrition regimen. Although this program is currently just in a trial phase, it is likely to attract the attention of millennials who have been known to appreciate personalized nutritious food options.
As for their chocolate business, the company has been working to make their products more appealing to health-focused consumers. In April, Nestlé made headlines for their newly patented sugar reduction technology that can reduce up to 40 percent of the sugar in confectionery products. The company used this technology to reformulate their 81-year-old white chocolate bars, Milkybar Wowsomes, to have 30 percent less sugar than their original counterparts.
In spring, the company announced their plans to further reduce the amount of sugar, salt and saturated fats in their food products. They have already achieved certain reduction goals such as reducing sugar content in their products by 30 percent since 2000 and reducing salt by 20 percent since 2005. So it seems that the company is on a steady track for success.
Nestlé’s interest in finding a new superfood comes as the market for other superfoods such as quinoa become oversaturated. Additionally, a new superfood is likely to differentiate Nestlé from other healthy food companies for a while (until other companies come out with similar products).
“Consumers these days are increasingly looking for organic and natural food with high nutrient content,” said Laurent Freixe, CEO of Nestlé Americas, told Bloomberg. “We are looking forward to exploring with Terrafertil the potential of their products.”