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With a diversified climate and landscape, the continent offers an excellent potential of flavors, colors and natural actives of its fruits, seeds and typical plants for extracts and dehydrated ingredients, meeting the growing health and wellness trends, as Power to the Plants and The Night Shift. 


With an area of more than 21 million km², Latin America impresses by the profusion of flavors and colors of its exuberant nature. Due to the diversity of climates and territories in its 20 countries, there are fruits for all tastes throughout the year and plants with important active components that have attracted the attention of the food and beverage industries around the world.

Owner of the largest humid tropical forest in the world, the Amazon, Latin America is permeated by regions of mountain ranges, deserts and semi-deserts (like the Brazilian cerrado), fertile environments for the incredible blooming of nature in the form of plants, fruits and seeds that their components were recognized and were consumed by indigenous civilizations.

The abundance of active compounds 

The diversity of Latin American nature and the abundance of active components is an opportunity for the growing search for a more natural and healthy lifestyle in the world, which is motivating consumers to prioritize fruits, vegetables, nuts, grains and botanical elements in packaged or bottled food and beverages.

Its fruits and plants are excellent sources of vitamins, such as A, B, C and E, of fibers, flavonoids, polyphenols, anthocyanins, calcium, tannins, and caffeine, for example.

About three years ago, in the World Food & Beverage Trends report, under “Power for Plants”, Mintel highlighted the growing popularity of herbal products. “The preference for natural, simple and versatile diets will drive the expansion of plant-based formulations,” said Mintel.

The prediction really happened and can be seen in recent global launches: more companies and consumers have invested in formulations with flavors and nutrition inherent in the use of plants as ingredients.

The potential of nature is also gaining prominence in food and drinks prepared for different occasions of consumption. “The night is seen as a new occasion for the development of functional formulas for food and drinks”, identified Mintel in the analysis, confirming the trend The Night Shift (Night Shift).

In order to escape the effects of the increasingly busy lifestyle, it has increased the thirst of consumers for products, for example, that help in night relaxation. A behavior that opens up opportunities for herbal beverages and chamomile extracts.

Botanicals from Latin America applied to products

Confirming the trends, we have selected below some examples of products recently launched in the global market that use Latin American flavors, extracts, fruits and vegetables in powder and exploit their active compounds in formulation and positioning:

Strawberry-Camu-Camu-Ice-Cream
Made with strawberries mixed with organic camu camu berries, raw honey and flax seeds; from Singapore, the vegetarian product is 100% natural, and contains no preservatives.
Yerba-Mate-Flavored-Energy-Drink
Is free from sugar, taurine and added cane sugar, with yerba mate as a natural source of caffeine (China).
Functional-Cold-Pressed-Cherry-Juice
A blend of cherry, pomegranate and a natural energy complex with chilli, ginger and lime; with guarana extract in the formulation, it contains 150mg of natural caffeine, and is claimed to provide an energy boost, focus and immune support, with high content of vitamins A and C (UK).
Hibiscus-Aronia-Acerola-Flavor-Relax-Microdrink
Hibiscus, Aronia and Acerola Flavor Relax Microdrink
Isotonic-Coconut-Water-Drink
Isotonic Coconut Water Drink

Check out some examples of Latin American fruits, leaves, roots and seeds that can be applied as functional ingredients by the food and beverage industry:

       
   INDEX   
       
 AÇAÍ
ACEROLA
CAMU-CAMU
YERBA MATE
 GUARANÁ
SOURSOP
PHYSALIS
 MACA
MAQUI
NOPAL
 

 


AÇAÍ 


 

 
  • Botanical name: Euterpe oleracea
  • Popular name: Açaí
  • Part used: fruit
Origin
A fruit found in the Amazon, Acai berry is recognized worldwide as a superfruit or superfood due to its many benefits. Scientific studies have proven the different nutritional characteristics of Acai pulp and the synergy between its components, especially the polyphenols, fibers and monounsaturated and unsaturated fats, mainly responsible for recognizing the healthiness of this fruit.
Composition:Functions:
  • Fibers
  • Flavonoids
  • Anthocyanins
  • Omega 6
  • Omega 9
  • Vitamin E
  • Minerals
  • Amino acids
  • Antioxidant activity
  • Slows aging
  • Prevents digestive problems
  • Prevents cardiovascular problems
  • Assists in muscle strength and contraction
  • Improves blood circulation
  • Helps prevent cancer
  • Prevents osteoporosis
  • Prevents anemia
  • Maintains satiety
  • Helps in the proper functioning of the intestine
  • Anti-inflammatory function
  • Stimulates the immune system

 


ACEROLA

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  • Botanical name: Malpighia emarginata
  • POPULAR NAMES: Acerola cherry, Antilles Cherry, West Indian Cherry and Barbados Cherry.
Origin
Brazil is the world’s largest producer of Acerola berries. This fruit is known for its high content of vitamin C, containing 1000 – 4000mg of vitamin C (ascorbic acid) per 100g of fruit. Such concentration is higher than the content found in the orange, however it can vary according to climatic conditions, cultural treatments and stage of maturation of the Acerola.
Composition:Functions:
  • Vitamin C
  • Vitamin A
  • B-complex
  • Vitamins
  • Iron
  • Calcium
  • Carotenoids
  • Flavonoids
  • Antioxidant effect
  • Accelerates metabolism
  • Acts on iron absorption
  • Assists in collagen synthesis
  • Stimulates the immune system

 


CAMU-CAMU

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  • Botanical name: Myrciaria dubia
  • Popular names: Camu-camu, Camucamu, Araça d´água, Camocamo, Caçari
  • Part used: fruit
Origin
Camu camu is a native fruit of the Amazon basin, being found in Brazil, Peru, Colombia, Ecuador and Bolivia. It bears fruit from November to May and is considered one of the fruits with the highest vitamin C content. Its productivity and vitamin C content can be influenced by the place of harvest, climatic conditions and cultural treatments.
Composition:Functions:
  • Vitamin C
  • Manganese
  • Flavonoids
  • Proanthocionidines
  • Antioxidant activity
  • Reverses high cholesterol
  • Reverses triglycerides
  • Decreases blood glucose
  • Assists in increasing insulin production

 


 GUARANÁ

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Guaraná - América Latina aromas extratos e desidratados

  • Botanical name: Paullinia cupana
  • Part used: seed

 

Origin
The Guaraná is native to Brazil, cultivated in the Amazonian and Northeast regions. The country is the world’s largest producer of Guarana seeds. The Amazon Maués Indians considered this plant as a “sacred fruit” and used the seed during fights and combats to increase strength and vitality.
Composition:Functions:
  • Caffeine
  • Theophylline
  • Theobromine
  • Tannins
  • Catechins
  • Saponins
  • Flavonoids
  • Starch
  • Pectin
  • Energetic action
  • Antioxidant activity
  • Protects from free radicals
  • Prevents cardiovascular problems
  • Prevents diabetes
  • Helps digestive problems
  • Slows aging

About caffeine:

Caffeine is the most abundant methylxanthine found in Guarana. This compound is responsible for the energetic and stimulating action of the Guaraná seeds.


YERBA MATE

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Erva Mate - América Latina aromas extratos e desidratados

  • Botanical name: Ilex paraguariensis
  • Popular names: Mate, Erva-mate, Yerba mate, Erveira, Erva-congonha
  • Part used: leaf
Origin

Mate is native to the subtropical regions of South America. It is a very common plant in southern Brazil, Argentina, Paraguay and Uruguay. It is consumed as hot or cold tea. Tea made from green Mate leaves is popularly called chimarrão or tererê. When the same leaves go through a high temperature process, chemical reactions occur in their components, changing their color and flavor characteristics, thus producing toasted Mate.

The Guarani Indians of the Northeast region of Argentina seem to have been the discoverers of the use of Yerba Mate, who passed on their knowledge to the Spanish colonizers, who disseminated the consumption of the plant throughout Southern South America. Mate consumption has spread across 5 continents after scientifically proving its beneficial properties.

Composition:Functions:
  • Polyphenols
  • Caffeine
  • Saponins
  • Minerals
  • Vitamins
  • Amino acids
  • Antioxidant activity
  • Energetic effect
  • Stimulates central nervous system
  • Decreases tiredness and fatigue
  • Weight control
  • Diuretic action
  • Appetite reduction
  • Metabolism acceleration

 


SOURSOP

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  • Botanical name: Annona muricata
  • Popular names: Graviola, Soursop, Guanabana, Paw-paw, Sirsak.
  • Part used: fruit
Origin

Graviola is native to the tropical forests of South and North America, and is widely cultivated in Northeast Brazil. In addition to its pleasant and tropical flavor, its shape also draws attention, being a large fruit, with an oval shape and light green skin with spines.

Composition:Functions:
  • Fibers
  • Calcium
  • Magnesium
  • Manganese
  • Potassium
  • Vitamins B1, B2 and B6
  • Acetogenins
  • Alkaloids
  • Polyphenols
  • Assists in weight loss
  • Provides greater satiety
  • Acts against premature aging
  • Slower glucose absorption

 


MACA

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  • Botanical name: Lepidium meyenii
  • Common Names: Maca, Peruvian Ginseng, Andes Ginseng
  • Used part: root

Origin

Maca is an amazing plant that grows in between 4 and 5 thousand meters of altitude in the Central Andes of Peru, with temperatures that oscillate between 20 degrees positive and 25 degrees negative.

This plant has been part of the Peruvian culinary tradition for hundreds of years and was considered by the Incas as a “gift of the gods”. The Inca warriors included the roots of maca in their food before participating in the battles, which made them extremely strong.

 
Composition:Functions:
  • Flavonoids
  • Saponins
  • Macaenos
  • Macaines
  • Tannins
  • Alkaloids
  • Phytosterol
  • Fibers
  • Tonic action
  • Antioxidant
  • Hypolipidemic effect
  • Hormone Regulator

.


MAQUI

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Maqui - América Latina aromas extratos e desidratados

  • Botanical name: Aristotelia chilensis
  • Popular names: Maqui, Maquei, Queldrón, Queldón, Clon, Coclón, Koelon, Maki, Chilean blackberry.
  • Part used: fruit
Origin
Its consumption is millennial. Even before the Spanish colonization in Chile, the Maqui was already known and consumed by the Mapuches Indians, who called it a “sacred tree”. In the Mapuche language, Maki means fruit. This fruit can be found in the Chilean and Argentinean Andes and is spread by seeds. With a very similar appearance to currants, Maqui has the flavor described as a blend of Blackberry, Blueberry, Watermelon and Açaí.
Composition:Functions:
  • Anthocyanins
  • Polyphenols
  • Vitamin A
  • Vitamin C
  • Vitamin E
  • Minerals
  • Calcium
  • Iron
  • Potassium
  • Antioxidant activity
  • Combats oxidative stress
  • Prevents aging
  • Accelerates metabolism

.


NOPAL

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  • Botanical name: Opuntia fícus-indica
  • Common Names: Nopal, Nopal Cactus, Prickly Pear, Indian fig opuntia, Puntia Vera
  • Used part: Cactus
Origin
Nopal grows in arid and semi-arid environments in Latin America, such as Mexico, South Africa and Mediterranean countries. Nopal is a cactus with rich composition in active distribution in all parts of the plant as flower, pulp, seed and fruit.
Composition:Functions:
  • Quercetin
  • Kaempferol
  • Luteolin
  • Isorhamnetin
  • Palmitic acid
  • Octadecenoic Acid
  • Linoleic acid
  • Linoenic Acid
  • Vitamins K, C and E
  • Beta-sitosterol
  • Campesterol
  • Stigmasterol
  • Calcium
  • Magnesium
  • Iron Potassium
  • Fiber
  • Hypolipidemic action
  • Hypocholesterolemic effect
  • Hypoglycemic action
  • Anti-inflammatory
  • Antioxidant

.


PHYSALIS

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Physalis - América Latina aromas extratos e desidratados

  • Botanical name: Physalis peruviana
  • Popular names: Physalis, Uchuva, Uvilla, Aguamanto, Topotopo, Goldenberry cape, gosenberry.
  • Part used: fruit
Origin

Physalis is native to Peru, but currently Colombia is the world’s largest producer of the fruit. Its fruits are orange and tasty when ripe and can be eaten fresh or made into jams and candies.

Composition:Functions:
  • Vitamin A
  • Dietary element
  • B-complex Vitamins
  • Vitamin C
  • Carotenoids
  • Polyphenols
  • Optic nerve strengthening
  • Regulates blood glucose
  • Acts as an intestinal regulator
  • Detoxification agent
  • Antiulcer
  • Cholesterol reducer
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