Food as medicine? Peru's NxtDried bets on long-term demand for nutritious superfoods

By Niamh Michail

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags Superfoods

© NxtDried
© NxtDried
Peruvian superfood supplier NxtDried says long-term demand for nutritious superfoods, high in bioactive compounds, will help the company weather immediate coronavirus-related shocks. "The new consumer is very aware that food is a way to prevent disease," it says.

Based in Cajamarca, Peru and Bilbao, Spain, NxtDried sources organic fruit and vegetables that it dries using a proprietary process without the use of additives, preservatives or sugar.

The products include superfoods such as mango, pineapple, lucuma, banana, blueberry, goldenberry, ginger, turmeric, and camu camu.

Thanks to a mix of low temperature and vacuum drying techniques, NxtDried said its products have a greater nutritional content than fresh or conventionally dried fruit.

When the pressure is increased, the product begins to dehydrate at 40°C and we do not lose bioactive compounds such as vitamins,"​ a spokesperson said. "With this, we manage for example to have a goldenberry with seven times more vitamin C or 2.4 times pro-vitamin A content than some commercial products.”

NxtDried’s camu camu, meanwhile, has 25% vitamin C compared to between 5 and 15% in other commercially available varieties, it said.

According to the company, its production process differs from freeze-drying because it has a shorter dehydration time and lower CO2​ footprint while the final product has more vibrant natural colors and intense flavors.

It also uses an ‘air pop’ effect that maintains the shape of the fresh fruit without a ‘wrinkled’ appearance and adds a crunchy texture.

“The popping effect is like giving air to the product so that it keeps its original shape,” ​the spokesperson for the company told FoodNavigator-LATAM. “For example, if it is a grape or a blueberry that has its round shape, as if it were fresh. In addition, the popping effect gives a crunchy texture different from other technologies."

Currently, the biggest challenge for the company, which was founded around one year ago, is overcoming supply chain and logistic problems posed by the coronavirus crisis, such as delays in shipments by air or sea traffic restrictions.

In the long-term, however, it is confident that demand for its products will be sustainable.

All studies show us that the new consumer is very aware that food is a way to prevent disease, and is demanding new products [that are] natural with no added sugar […] and have a high content of some bioactive compound.”

The company sources its fruit and vegetables from across Peru and sells mostly in Europe and the US.

“The European region is a bit more conservative when it comes to trying new products, and in the USA they try new flavors like lucuma and they are also a bigger consumer of snacks​,” said the spokesperson.

The Latin American region is also increasing in importance as superfoods and naturally nutritious foods gain traction.

Certified organic and fairtrade, popular applications for its products include snacks, granola, cereal bars, and beverages while some ingredients can be used as a sweetener.

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