The nutritional benefits of berries keep consumers coming back for more, but it’s not the only factor that encourages purchases.
“They are very high in vitamin C and in antioxidants,” said Julie Lucido, marketing director at Marketing Plus, Fresno, Calif., on behalf of Well-Pict Berries, Watsonville, Calif.
Lucido says those traits tend to encourage consumers and retailers alike to keep a strong focus on berries in the summer.
Henry Bierlink, executive director, Washington Red Raspberry Commission, says while raspberries have good fiber content, each berry has different traits that make it beneficial.
“It’s common sense to eat a variety of colors and berries, including raspberries,” he said.
Eric Crawford, president of Fresh Results LLC, Sunrise, Fla., says the health benefits of berries, particularly blueberries, has directly impacted their rising demand.
“Nutrition has a huge amount to do with it, in addition to flavor and convenience,” he said, referencing steady upward trends.
“Those all wrap together to create a perfect storm scenario, and that’s why we continue to see an amazing increase in demand of blueberries,” Crawford said.
Frances Dillard, director of marketing, Driscoll’s, Watsonville, Calif., says growth isn’t all about the nutritional benefits.
“While people enjoy the nutrition side of berries, it’s always about the flavor,” she said.
In order to harness these nutritional benefits for promotion purposes, companies and organizations have to determine the best approach for their needs.
For Cat McKenzie, marketing director of the Oregon Raspberry & Blackberry Commission, that means communicating with consumers in an efficient manner.
“Our job is to take that research and make it easy to understand so it can be used in articles. Then consumers are reading those articles,” McKenzie said.
The organization was involved with the recent International Berry Health Benefits Symposium, June 18-20, in Charlotte, N.C.
McKenzie, administrator of the event, said there was a lot of relevant research presented at the symposium this year, all of which can be found in abstract form on the website, www.berryhealth.org.
“There is just so much interesting information,” she said.
One study McKenzie was particularly interested in involved the long-term consumption of berries as a significant predictor of a lower risk for heart disease.
Other studies are equally as advanced, however.
“The brain-aging studies are moving into a whole new phase with human clinical studies,” she said.
The increased use of human clinical studies for research will mean even more nutritional benefit analysis.
“You can say a lot more about how berries are important for human health,” McKenzie said.