First it was KFC. Now it’s acai berries from the Amazon. When will Oprah stop her food terror tactics?
Bloomberg: Rising U.S. sales of acai, a purple Amazon berry promoted as a “superfood” on Oprah Winfrey’s Web site, are depriving Brazilian jungle dwellers of a protein-rich nutrient they’ve relied on for generations.
U.S. consumers are turning a “a typical poor people’s food into something like a delicacy,” said Oscar Nogueira, who specialises in the fruit at Embrapa, Brazil’s agricultural research company.
Spending on acai-based products by Americans seeking to lose weight, gain energy or slow ageing doubled to $104 million last year, according to SPINS, a Schaumburg, Illinois-based market research firm. Since U.S. demand took off early this decade, the fruit’s wholesale price in Brazil has jumped about 60-fold, Embrapa data show.
In 2008, exports from Para, the South American country’s main producing state, climbed 53 per cent to account for about a quarter of output, according to the local government. Production, though, has increased little in the past five years.
Image: Joe Crimmings
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