'INTERNATIONAL SYMPOSIUM ON SUPERFRUITS
- MYTH OR TRUTH?'
Venue: Victory Saigon Hotel, Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam
Date: 1 - 3 July 2013
What exactly is meant by “superfruit”? Is a fruit “super” because it is packed with nutrients? Is this a scientific fact? Or is “super” only a promotional catch-phrase used to increase sales?
The term “superfruit” has gained significant attention and is used extensively to promote the health benefits of less popular fruits, such as pomegranates, cranberries and açaí berries. The term “super” refers to the level of antioxidants, as measured by the oxygen radical absorbance capacity (ORAC). Hence, at what ORAC level can a fruit be considered “super”? And what about fruits like passionfruit, papaya, avocado, pineapple, and dragonfruit which are laden with fibres and phytochemicals that are beneficial to health and well-being? Are they not “super”, too?
While most people associate superfruit with properties that benefit human health, scientists and nutritionists have differing points of view on the use of the term. Some claim that there is no scientifically objective assessment of some fruit being nutritionally more “super” than others as fruit is generally packed with different nutritious components.
Similarly, there is no definitive list of superfruit, and new fruit is regularly put forward as being “super”. While the term “superfruit” could promote the lesser known tropical fruit, it might impact negatively on the consumption of more established tropical fruit, particularly in an increasingly crowded and competitive international fruit market. In addition, the biodiversity of fruit is attracting attention, as the nutrients and bioactive non-nutrients within species can vary dramatically.
Several cooperatives, associations and companies that produce and market so called “superfruit” have developed an effective marketing strategy and have benefited significantly from the “superfruit” campaign. So, does this mean that the term “superfruit” is a marketing gimmick and is all about branding strategy?
Cognizant of the arguments regarding the definition of superfruit, the Food and Agricultural Organization of the United Nations, the International Tropical Fruits Network (TFNet) and the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development (MARD) of Vietnam is organizing an International Symposium on “Superfruits”: Truth or Myth? The Symposium will take place in Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam, on 1-3 July 2013. Experts will discuss the definition of superfruit with regard to nutritional and agronomic properties and characteristics, while proponents or skeptics will exchange views on the actual classification of superfruit. In addition, issues regarding the integration of smallholders in the tropical fruit value chain to enhance market access will also be addressed.