Recently, Nutrition Insight wrote an article about the resurgence of Baobab in the last few years. We can certainly agree that the Baobab fruit is gaining some serious traction in conjunction with the world’s growing interest in digestive health and sports nutrition – not to mention the Superfood craze.
With companies like Yeo Valley, Costco, and even Coca-Cola now incorporating the fruit from the Baobab tree into their mainstream products, demand has more than doubled and we’ve witnessed that growth first hand, seeing 100% growth in baobab powder exports in the last year.
The combination of interest in superfoods, sports nutrition, and digestive health has companies who currently carry products on the “not so healthy” side clamoring to include Baobab as an ingredient in efforts to remarket the food as “healthy & nutritious”, and for good reason. In addition to the prebiotic gut health properties, this fruit is ideal for those needing to regulate their blood sugar, aid electrolyte imbalances, make the most of natural adaptogens, and regulate their alkaline pH blood levels. With these incredibly beneficial properties and the interest in healthy, on the go products, we certainly expect to see some significant growth in the use of baobab powder throughout the health and sports-related industries.
Interestingly, all parts of the tree can be used. The dry fruit pulp has many uses; the most popular in most African regions are as a sherbert-like drink that is rich in vitamin C. The seeds can be pressed into oil that has wonderful nutrient and topical properties. The hard, outer shell is waterproof and can be made into a variety of domestic articles such as calabashes and castanets. Both the seeds and the leaves can be eaten. The bark can be harvested without killing the tree and pounded to make rope.
There are 10’s of millions of baobab trees in 40 African countries that provide fruit for both humans and animals. Currently, most of those trees have no fruit harvested from them. Several African countries are currently developing baobab supply chains, which will significantly boost supplies for export. In the long term, crop scientists are researching improved baobab propagation and fruit yields, to ensure that baobab fruit supply can continue to meet demand as it grows.
Baobab Foods is at the vanguard of developing more efficient baobab processing techniques and machinery to increase the yield per ton of fruit pods harvested which will increase the tonnage produced with fewer pods needing to be harvested.
As the specific demand for the Baobab “superfruit” continues to increase, we expect to see continued growth in exports, greater care taken in supply chains, economic growth in some of the poorest parts of Africa, and greater interest in the sustainability of this iconic African tree.