Consumers and food processors consider new berries

April 8, 2008
Açai set the trend bar for antioxidant-rich, little purple berries. The result is fruits like Saskatoon berries can more easily vie to be the next big little thing. Similar to blueberries, Saskatoons are a new crop with long-term industry potential, and poised to be a contender in the superfruit pantheon. A five-year effort to cultivate enough of the berries to bring them to market as an ingredient processors can rely on for the long haul is coming to — pardon the pun — fruition. Although, the first orchard in Manitoba was planted 15 years ago, it’s now the second largest commercial fruit crop in Manitoba. Market studies indicate potential to produce, process and export Saskatoon berry products is huge. Consumers favor products made from the berries, and a superior antioxidant profile in comparison to other prairie fruits, such as blueberries, only increases the appeal. They might need a less unwieldy name before they really catch on, although a funny name didn’t hold back açai. Still, would “sassberry” or “toonberry” be so bad?