How good for your health is the Açaí Berry?

The Açaí Berry from the Amazon has become famous and appreciated all over the world for its unique taste and nutritious qualities. Especially among sports loving people and athletes. But really, how good is the Açaí Berry for your health and what are the exact health benefits?

Health benefits of the açaí berry

acai - benefitsThe Açaí Berry from the Amazon has become famous and appreciated all over the world for its unique taste and nutritious qualities. Especially among sports loving people and athletes. But really, how good is the Açaí Berry for your health and what are the exact health benefits?

To answer this question, we can divide the benefits from the berry into two categories: The nutritional and energetic aspects of the fruit on the one hand, and its potential medicinal properties on the other.

Nutritional benefits of the açaí berry

The Açai Berry began taking over the world because of its high-quality caloric energy contents, first becoming a trend among Jiu-Jitsu fighters and soon spreading out and into the good grace of practitioners of all other indoor, outdoor and radical sports. The amount of calories in the plain berries is comparable to that of a more famous tropical fruit, the banana. It will not put weight under your belt so long as you watch what you have your Açaí with. The fruit alone will provide 65 kcal per 100 g, (but this number can go as high as 250 kcal depending on the add-ons, like syrups, granolas, and other fruits). All accompanied by a plethora of other minerals, vitamins, proteins, healthy fats and fatty acids, making this one of the most nutritious fruits in the Amazon rainforest. So, as more people begin looking for more natural and healthier sources of nutrition and for new and exotic flavors, more and more the Açaí Berry finds its place in the diets of people all over the world. But the nutritional aspect is not all. Some of its properties are actively beneficial to your health.

Health benefits of the açaí berry

Let’s begin with its fat contents, most of which are of the mono and polyunsaturated forms. These are the good lipids, the ones that will help your body get rid of the bad, heart disease causing, LDL cholesterol.

Then, there’s its most famous medicinal property: The ability to help fight excess free radicals in your system. This is the so-called Antioxidant Property. Free radical chemistry is one of today’s busiest fields of medical and biochemical research. It is intimately related to the aging process and to other degenerative diseases, even some cancers as the latest studies point to. Recent research also shows that the Açaí Berry can be an excellent nutritional option for cancer patients in between chemotherapy sessions, bringing good quality protein and energy along with the antioxidants!

Some of the antioxidant substances found in the fruit are flavonoids, terpenes, tannins, vitamins A, C, and E. Anthocyanins, which are the substances that give the fruit its deep purple pigmentation, can improve the ability of an enzyme called sirtuin-6 to stop cells from becoming cancerous. These anthocyanins have also inhibited the growth of some intestine cancer cells, according to other studies; Grapes can also be a good source of this pigment, but it is not nearly as rich as the palm-berries are in other nutrients, energy, and antioxidants!

All in all, the Açai berries have been reported beneficial for many conditions like arthritis, cancer, obesity, and high cholesterol, as well as any other disease related to the damage caused by free radicals in your body.

There’s yet another health benefit from the fruit: It is a rainforest friendly crop, which helps improve the lives of the jungle people while preserving the biodiversity of the forest. And that is essential for the good health of all of us on this planet!

Nutritional values of the açaí berry

health benefits acaiTable of Nutritional Values for the Açaí Berry*
Per 100 g
Nutrient                                           Quantity               %DV**

Energetic value                          58.1kcal=244             3%
Carbohidrates                            6,2g                              2%
Proteins                                        0,8g                             1%
Saturated fats                              0,7g                             3%
Poliunsaturated fats                  0,4g
Fiber                                             2,6g                             10%
Soluble fiber                                0,1g
Calcium                                      35,2mg                         4%
Piridoxin B6                              0,1mg                            8%
Phosphorus                               16,4mg                          2%
Manganese                                 6,2mg                        270%
Magnesium                               17,0mg                            7%
Lipids                                             3,9g
Iron                                              0,4mg                          3%
Potassium                                 123,6mg
Copper                                           0,2ug
Zinc                                                0,3mg                       4%
Riboflavin B2                               0,0mg
Sodium                                          5,2mg

* Source: tabelanutricional.com.br
** % Daily Values based on a 2.000 Kcal or 8.400kj diet. Your personal Daily Values may be greater or smaller depending on your personal needs.

Açaí – the soul of the Amazon

The history of açaí

acai- the soul of the AmazonShrouded in mystery, the cradle of countless popular indigenous legends, home to many endemic plant and animal species, many of which still unknown to science, the Amazon is today one of the few remaining large wild areas on our planet. It’s survival, nevertheless, is far from a sure thing. Still the forest, it’s people and stories all have been bravely hanging on, relying on the Amazon’s generosity to those who try to coexist with the mighty rain-forest.

The original indigenous people who inhabited the area never used writing, so their culture and history both relied on the oral tradition of transmission from generation to generation. If on the one hand that appears to be a serious compromise on factual precision, on the other hand, it enriches enormously the cultural, mythical and social picture one can make out of these stories. They tell us of the soul of the Amazon. They tell us the history of açaí.

The açaí palm tree

One such legend is the one related to the origins of the Açaí Palm tree:

“Long, long ago, the population of the tribes of the region became so large that severe famine struck. The chief of the tribe, the Morubixaba or Cacique, decided that no one should have any more children and those which were born should be killed, in an attempt to control the population growth. So it was done, and every newborn was immediately killed right upon birth. That was until Iaçã, the Cacique’s daughter, gave birth to her own son. Not abusing any privilege the baby was also sacrificed and buried in the shade of the forest. The heartbroken mother lived in endless weeping and grieving. One night, Iaçã heard the cry of her baby and went into the dark wilderness looking for it. The following day, her body was found dead, embraced to a tree bearing the most nutritious fruits in the forest. The fruit was so good that finally, the cacique ended the slaughtering of children. The people’s supply of food was finally plentiful due to the açaí tree. Açaí standing for the Cacique’s daughter’s name, Iaçã, backward!”

Acai PalmToday once again, the Açaí tree – Euterpe oleracea – and other natural riches of the Amazon are coming to the rescue of its people. The survival of the Amazon, in a global economy, depends on the appeal of products the rain-forest can provide without being depleted. One great example is the Açaí palm tree. Their fruit yield is high, the culture is not damaging to the rainforest environment – on the contrary – and the nutritional value is surprisingly rich in fibers, minerals, vitamins, antioxidants and caloric energy. The açaí berry is a staple in the region and is sold all around the country and the world in the form of frozen pulp, dry powder, and even its oil has a use for cosmetics and other industries. Much of the açaí harvest is controlled by local communities, helping the people of the forest stay in the forest where they have been for many generations.

Açaí from the Atlantic rainforest (Jussara palm)

The benefits even extrapolate the Amazonic boundaries, helping save other wild areas like the Atlantic Rain Forest. Açaí has become a viable substitute to the Jussara palm – Euterpe edulis – in the production of the Hearts-of-palm. The Jussara tree of the Atlantic forest has only one trunk per individual, takes decades to grow and is hopelessly dead when you crop it for Hearts-of-palm. It has virtually gone extinct in most of its natural habitats due to criminous overcropping; The açaí of the Amazon, on the other hand, sprouts various shoots which will become new trunks keeping the plant alive even when you pick a trunk or two for the Hearts-of-palm.

One of many different ecology friendly products of the Amazon, some of which we will be talking about soon, the açaí has a role to play in helping the locals and the rainforest thrive. Today just like in the age-old legend.

Almazonia

history acaiAlmazonia is a one-stop solution for all imports of products from the Amazon like açaí. We offer private label services and personalize your product and develop a distinctive brand. Our local presence and our buying power results in cost savings, streamlines processes and ensures the best quality.

For more info about importing açaí directly from Brazil, click here.

We invite you to discover what Almazonia can do for your company. Contact us for more info!

Importing açaí from Brazil

We source our organic certified açaí directly from local communities in the Amazon without any middlemen & brokers. Importing açaí (organic) and other super fruits from Brazil against very competitive rates whereby we guarantee uninterrupted supply year-round and excellent customer service.

Importing organic açaí pulp from Brazil

We source our organic certified açaí directly from local communities in the Amazon without any middlemen & brokers. Almazonia is a one-stop solution for importing açaí and other organic (super)fruits from the Amazon like cupuaçu, acerola, mango and passion fruit.

importing acai
The filling of a 40ft reefer container with açaí. In a 40ft reefer container fits 24,480 kg. A 20ft reefer container offers space for 12,240 kg of açaí. Most açái is exported from the port of Vila do Conde near the city of Belém at the mouth of the Amazon river.

Importing açaí directly from Brazil leads to substantial cost savings. We offer both in transparent and private label packaging:

  • Organic 12% dry rate pure açaí (no citric acid) in 100 grams and 1 kg packaging.
  • Organic 14% dry rate pure açaí (no citric acid) in 100 grams and 1 kg packaging.
  • Organic 16% dry rate pure açaí (with citric acid) in 60 kg and 180 kg drums (only during harvest season).
  • Açaí cream (0% cholesterol) with guaraná, banana or strawberry.
  • Cupuaçu cream (0% cholesterol).
  • Pitaya (dragon fruit) cream.
  • Other superfruits like cupuaçu, acerola and graviola.
  • 100% pure organic açaí  powder (freeze-dried).
  • Other organic fruits from Brazil like mango, passion fruit and pineapple.

Our -30 degrees Celsius warehouse is located about one hour from the international airport of Guarulhos.

For our clients in Europe we offer our consolidated açaí import services. By combining the order of different clients into one container we offer açaí bars and other retailers the opportunity to import açaí directly form Brazil at substantial lower prices. We handle all custom procedures, import duties and internal logistics within Europe. Interested? Please contact us for a quote and discover how much you can save.

We provide private label services whereby we handle all (legal) requirements including the registration at the Brazilian Ministry of Agriculture (MAPA).

Importing açaí from Brazil

depulping acai
Because the açaí berry spoils very quickly immediately after harvest the açaí berry is deeply frozen. However, before the açaí can be frozen, the pits should be removed.

Shipping fresh and frozen products like açaí around the world is a highly specialized and delicate task. The açaí needs to stay deep frozen at -18 degrees Celsius during the whole logistical chain. All our logistical partners have earned their reputation as experienced perishable goods forwarders. Before exporting our organic açaí, we test the quality of each lot at an accredited laboratory to screen for microbes, yeast, mold, agro-toxins and pesticides.

Depending on the quantity we export the (frozen) açaí pulp by sea or air freight.

Exporting açaí by reefer  container

Most of the açaí pulp factories are located in Castanhal / Belém and the closest seaport is Vila do Conde. For ocean freight we use 20 / 40 ft Reefer containers that maintains a temperature of -18 Celsius degrees.

Exporting açaí by air

Smaller shipments / samples of açaí are exported by air freight. We have access to a -30 degrees Celsius warehouse near the international airport of Guarulhos from where we where we dispatch our samples / smaller shipments. To keep the açaí frozen during air freight we use dry ice in EPS boxes. This ensures that the açaí will stay frozen for up to 3 days.

Why use our sourcing services

Except offering very competitive pricing for all our açaí products, quality control is always our foremost priority. We follow our products from beginning to end, ensuring that our customers receive the world’s finest açaí-based products. Almazonia´s buying power produces cost savings, streamlines processes and ensures quality.

Except açaí we also export other organic fruits like cupuaçu, acerola, mango and passion fruit. Almazonia is a one-stop solution for importing açaí and other organic (super)fruits from the Amazon.

For more info or interested in receiving samples, click here.

 

Useful links:

Exporting acai to the NetherlandsCBI / Centre for the Promotion of Imports from developing countries

HS tariff code for frozen açaí pulp – PB Global Trade Solutions

Açaí ain´t açaí: dry matter of açaí – Almazonia

Açaí factory

Each açaí factory follows roughly the same processes for turning the açaí berries into frozen açaí pulp. The end result, however, in both taste profile and quality can be very different. The açaí berry is very sensitive and requires rigorous quality control and management by each açaí factory.

Açaí factory: turning açaí berries into frozen açaí pulp

Each açaí factory follows roughly the same processes for turning the açaí berries into frozen açaí pulp. The end result, however, in both taste profile and quality can be very different. The açaí berry is very sensitive and requires rigorous quality control and management by each açaí factory. We follow our products from beginning to end, ensuring that our customers receive the world’s finest açaí products.

Fresh açaí berries arriving at the açaí factory where they will be turned into pulp within hours.

Before açaí berries turn up in your açaí bowl, the berry has to undergo several processes. These different phases in each açaí factory can be roughly divided into:

1. Reception and weighing
2. Sanitization, first selection and softening 
3. Rinse, second selection and drainage
4. De-pulping
5. Filtration
6. Homogenization
7. Pasteurization
8. Packaging
9. Freezing
10. Storage

Because the berries spoils very fast it is essential that all these processes together do not last longer than 12 hours from the moment the berries are harvested.

Reception and weighing of the fresh harvested açaí berries

After arriving at the açaí factory the berries are first weighted.

Most of the açaí does not come from plantations but is harvested from the wild by ribeirinhos. These are indigenous people living on the riverbanks of the Amazon region. After collecting the berries, the ribeirinhos sell them to the wholesalers (atravessadores) who then sell them to the açaí factory. During transport to the factory it is important that the freshly collected berries are not exposed directly to the sun. Açaí is sold in baskets called “latas” and each lata weighs approximately 14kg. The price of the lata is quoted on a daily basis according to supply and demand.

When the fresh açaí arrives at the açaí facility, they are weighted and the origin of the açaí is registered. Because the berries spoils very fast it is essential that the berries arrive not later than 12 hours at the açaí factory from the moment the berries are harvested. The storage time of the fruit until processing may not exceed 2 hours, counting from the reception at the açaí factory.

Sanitation, first selection and softening

Biological contaminants such as bacteria, viruses and fungi are present in air, water and soil. Because these organisms can affect human health it is important to disinfect the wild harvested açaí berries. To decontaminate the berries, plastic, tiled or stainless steel tanks are used with chlorinated water with a maximum capacity of 500 liters. The berries are kept there for around 40 minutes. This also ensures that the berries softens which facilitates the removal of the açaí flesh from the kernel at a later stage (depulping). In general, 90% of the dirt is removed during this phase.

Rinse, second selection and drainage

The açaí berries are cleaned at the açaí factory to remove any dirt.

The purpose here is to remove any residue of the chlorinated solution so that the quality and flavor of the final product is not altered. With a sieve any remaining dirt is also removed from the berries. All the water is removed in this phase.

Depulping of the açaí berries at the açaí factory

Now that the berries are clean and removed of any dirt, the depulping of the berry in the açaí factory can start. This happens by means of friction between the berries (the edible layer of the açaí is only 1 to 2 mm thick). Specialized stainless steel machines with a vertical internal axis generate circular movements that separates the flesh of the berry from the kernel. Because the açaí berry is naturally very dry, water is used in this process. The purity of the frozen açaí pulp is determined here. The more water is used in this process, the less pure will be the açaí pulp. This number is expressed in the dry rate of açaí. Export quality of frozen açaí pulp should have at least a dry rate of 12% (açaí médio). The highest quality is açaí pulp is called açaí special and has a dry rate of minimum 14%. Each depulping machine in an açaí factory has a capacity to process around 100 – 200 liters of açaí pulp per day. A large açaí factory will therefor have the need the have several depulping machines.

Filtration

depulping acai
Açaí factory near Belém where specialized stainless steel machines separate the flesh of the berry from the kernel.

After depulping the açaí berries, the paste is filtered with plastic sieves to remove any remaining material as a consequence of the depulping. For example the peel of the açaí berry or parts of the pits.

Homogenization

During this process the fat globules are broken up to such a small size that they remain suspended evenly rather than separating out and floating to the surface. The purpose of homogenization is making things uniform or similar that is accomplished by means of high pressure. Homogenization is a physical process and not chemical and so nothing is added or taken away from the açaí.

Pasteurization of the açaí

For food safety most distributors outside Brazil require the açaí to be pasteurized. This is a heating process that kills so called pathogens. Pasteurization is a very delicate process as it interferes both with the color of the açaí and the taste itself. 

Before exporting our açaí, we test the quality of each lot at an accredited laboratory to screen for microbes, yeast, mold, agro-toxins and pesticides.

Packaging

The açaí pulp has now reached its final processing and is ready for consumption. The packaging machine at the açaí factory is directly connected to the homogenization / pasteurization equipment and is done fully automatically. The packaging for format is dependent on the demands of the final client. For exportation the most used packaging is 100 grams sachets that are used for the açaí bowls.

Freezing of the açaí pulp

Now that the açaí berries are depulped and packaged it is essential that the pulp is frozen as fast as possible to avoid contamination and / or deterioration of the product. Each açaí factory has a so called freezing tunnel where the açaí is put immediately after packaging. The temperature in this tunnel is around minus 30 degrees Celsius. After the açaí is frozen it is moved to a storage room with a temperature between minus 18 and minus 25 degrees Celsius where it will stay until is it moved to the client.

Depending on whether is açaí pulp is pasteurized or not the expiry date of the açaí is 12 months or 24 months (with pasteurization).

Enjoy your açaí bowl!

Almazonia

açaí factoryAlmazonia is a one-stop solution for all imports of organic fruits from Brazil like açaí, acerola, passion fruit and mango. We offer private label services and personalize your product and develop a distinctive brand. Our local presence and our buying power results in cost savings, streamlines processes and ensures the best quality.

For more info about importing açaí directly from Brazil, click here.

We invite you to discover what Almazonia can do for your company. Contact us for more info!

 

Useful links:

Açái Marajó – an açaí factory in Jundiaí

Açaí: an antioxidant-rich superfruit from the Amazon

What are free radicals?

Free radicals are unstable molecules with highly reactive ions. They are essential for some bodily processes and, in typical amounts, are balanced by antioxidants produced by the body itself.

However, free radicals are also produced by external factors related to lifestyle and the environment. Emotional stress, exposure to smoke, alcohol, excessive physical exercise, UV radiation from the sun and pollution can create an excess of free radicals. Diets in saturated fats, sugars and chemicals – such as preservatives, hormones and pesticide residues – also contribute to high free radicals levels.

Scientific studies demonstrate that antioxidants ingested through foods and beverages can supplement antioxidants produced by our own body, helping to counteract free radicals and reduce oxidative stress. With oxidative stress contained, cellular damage and its related disease states can be minimized.

What are antioxidants?

Antioxidants occur naturally in a wide range of fruits and vegetables. The broad class of substances that fight oxidative stress has four subsets. Açaí´s beneficial anthocyanins are part of the polyphenol group and its flavonoid subset.

Flavonoids are responsible for the color in fruits and vegetables. Of these, anthocyanins are the source of red to purple colors. There are more than 8,000 naturally occurring compounds in the flavonoids family. Anthocyanins occur in high concentration in açaí and are responsible for its beautiful color as well as the major part of its antioxidant power.

Açaí ain´t açaí: dry matter of açaí

The process of removing the flesh of the fruit from the pit will have a big influence on the purity and quality of the açaí. An açaí bowl with a high quality of açaí pulp can contain up to twice as much açaí relative to a bowl with lesser quality.

Quality of açaí pulp

dry matter açaí qualityFor centuries local communities are aware of the nutritional and medicinal properties of the açaí berry that grows spontaneously and abundantly in the states of Pará, Amapá, Maranhão and eastern Amazonas. Because the açaí berry spoils very quickly, it is not possible to eat the berries fresh. Therefore, immediately after harvest the açaí berry is deeply frozen. However, before the açaí can be frozen, the pits should be removed. The açaí berry namely consists of almost 90% pit. And this is important to know because the process of removing the flesh of the fruit from the pit will have a big influence on the purity and quality of the açaí. An açaí bowl with a high quality of açaí pulp can contain up to twice as much açaí relative to a bowl with lesser quality.

Dry matter açaí

The edible layer of the açaí is only 1 to 2 mm thick. In order to remove this thin layer, the freshly harvested açaí berries will be the rolled against each other into a funnel. Because the açaí berry is naturally very dry run, water is used in the process whereby the açaí berries are changed into pulp. This percentage is expressed in the dry matter of açaí. The higher the dry matter, the less water is used and so the purer is the açaí pulp. It is the dry matter that determines in the purity of the frozen açaí pulp.

There are three standardized quality levels for açaí pulp:

  • Açaí ´fino´ (C): low to medium dry matter (8% -11%).
  • Açaí ‘medio‘ (B): medium to high dry matter (11% – 14%).
  • Açaí ‘grosso‘ (A): a very high dry matter (> 14%),  also called ‘industrial quality’.

Often citric acid is used in açaí pulp as a natural preservative and anti-oxidant which influences the taste (lowers Ph).

If you would like to know more about açaí please feel free to contact us. We always like to share our knowledge and experiences.

For info about importing açaí from Brazil, click here.


Importing açaí powder (organic) from Brazil

We are an import & export company in Brazil specialized in exporting (organic) products from the Amazon rainforest like (organic) açaí powder. We buy all our products directly from the producers, often small to medium-sized companies that offer great products against fair values.

Importing açaí powder (organic)

We are an import & export company in Brazil specialized in exporting (organic) products from the Amazon rainforest like (organic) açaí powder. We buy all our products directly from the source without intermediaries / brokers in between. Importing açaí powder (organic) directly from Brazil against very competitive rates. Also smaller shipments. Private label possible.

Açaí berries perish very fast – within 24 hours – and once the berries are harvested, the nutrition begins to degrade. To maintain the açaí’s bio-activity and antioxidant benefits efficient and careful processing are essential. This is why the method of açaí format and the supplier matters.

Our freeze-dried organic açaí powder:

  • Is internationally recognized for its superior quality and nutritional profile;
  • Delivers superb ORAC, with maximum conservation of açaí’s bio-active components;
  • Is organic certified;

Freeze-dried versus spray-dried açaí powder

There are two different methods to turn the açaí berry into powder: freeze-drying and spray-drying. With spray-drying high temperatures are used and results in a loss of natural properties of the açaí including the taste and the color. With freeze drying the temperature stays low during the whole process that guarantees that all the nutrients in the açaí will stay intact and that the açaí maintains its original taste.

We use freeze-drying for all our organic açaí powder.

Our sourcing services

Establishing long-term relationship with our suppliers is an essential part of our business. We create partnerships where we give our producers the opportunity to expand and meet new buyers. Often medium-sized companies with a proven track-record that are looking for overseas opportunities but often lack the capital base and experience to maintain their own export and marketing structure. We use no intermediaries and buy our products directly at the source.

Interested in importing açaí powder (organic) directly from Brazil? We only export the highest quality of freeze-dried organic açaí powder against very competitive prices. Please contact us for more info.