About Açaí (Pronounced Ah-Sigh-EE)
“Oh is that how you say it?”
We’re constantly asked about the dark purple ingredient açaí, pronounced ah-sigh-ee, that’s drizzled on many of our snacks. We even sell an açaí fruit strip with only organic açaí, organic pear, and organic apples in the ingredients. But what is açaí and why are we seeing it on shelves and in smoothie shops everywhere?
Açaí is a berry that grows on tall palm trees in the Amazon Rainforest region in South America. It’s classified as a drupe, or a stone fruit, which is a fruit with flesh that surrounds a central pit. Açaí berries are typically harvested when they fall to the ground, and because they’re extremely perishable, it’s rare that you’ll find the fruit in its natural and whole form at the grocery store. Most companies turn açaí into a powder or freeze the berries, which is why you’ll most commonly see açaí covered in dark chocolate, as a superfood powder, or in a smoothie (have you tried an açaí bowl yet?). As for taste, the açaí berry is almost like black coffee – earthy and almost bitter, it can take some getting used to.
Açaí has been hailed as a superfood with claims that the fruit can aid in weight loss. Subsequent studies have found that this isn’t necessarily the case: eating açaí does not directly lead to rapid weight loss. Still, a small study found that adults who ate the berry daily experienced reductions in glucose, insulin levels, and cholesterol. Açaí is also packed with fiber and potent antioxidants that aid in heart health as it has one of the highest Oxygen Radical Absorption Capacity (ORAC) of any food, nearly 10 times that of grapes. The stronger the ORAC rating, the stronger the antioxidants.
Why Us and Why Açaí?
When volunteering in South America as a Peace Corps member, Peaceful Fruits’ founder ate açaí over rice - a traditional dish of the indigenous people in the village in which he served. This was around the time that açaí started to hit the U.S. shelves, mostly covered in chocolate or in açaí bowl form. When returning to the U.S., our founder decided that he wanted to share açaí in a form that was true to the way he enjoyed it during his service.
5 of our 8 flavors (Blueberry, Apple, Pineapple, Strawberry, Original Açaí, Peach) have açaí drizzled in a zig-zag shape to add a boost of antioxidants to our whole and just-fruit fruit snacks (check out the picture below). And a 6th flavor, true to its form with the title Original Açaí, features the superfruit as the main ingredient so you can experience the berry close to its natural form. Most importantly, we source the açaí we use in our snacks from local farmers in South America, maintaining our connection with the region and the relationships our founder established during his time in the Peace Corps.