Remember when pomegranate was all the rage? How about acai? Lychee berries? There was probably even a moment before my time when kiwis were the new messiah (and, heck, we all know the story of Adam, Eve and that irresistible apple …). Nutritionist Lauren Slayton takes issue with the hype surrounding these “superfruits,” the suddenly-hot specimens of nature’s bounty that seem to appear on the scene out of nowhere, starring in style-section articles, Facebook ads, and weight-loss scams before being pushed aside for the next miraculously healthy fruit du jour.
First of all, “most fruits are super,” Slayton points out.
Food trends are much like fashion trends; while we’re hearing about maxi skirts, minis are just fine, too. Same goes for acai and blueberries. Just because something is familiar doesn’t mean it is inferior.
And while it might be fun to sample goji berries or mangosteen every now and then, regularly consuming something only cultivated in Indonesia isn’t exactly environmentally-friendly — especially considering you can get the same health benefits from some locally-grown cherries. Besides, just because certain “superfruits” might seem exotic and new to some of us, “many of them have been consumed for thousands of years,” writes Slayton.
Perhaps the wikipedia entry for “superfruit” says it best:
Superfruit, a marketing term first used in the food and beverage industry in 2005, refers to a fruit which combines exceptional nutrient richness and antioxidant quality with appealing taste that can stimulate and retain loyalty for consumer products. Some popular fruits like strawberries,blackcurrants, blackberries or oranges are not commonly mentioned as superfruits despite excellent nutritional properties, apparently because they have not been marketed specifically as superfruits.
Alas! Who will market the humble orange? How could a blackberry dream of holding its own against a freaking dragonfruit?