Shoppers regard apples as one of the top three healthiest fruits and 96 percent view the fruit as a value-based anytime food for both adults and children.
A marketing term first used in 2005, superfruit refers to fruit with high concentrations of specific vitamins, minerals, or antioxidants that help improve health and wellness.
Apples richly deserve superfruit status, Phil Lempert, CEO of Supermarketguru.com and The Lempert Report, told NutraIngredientsUSA.com. “Apples are rich in nutrients, especially fiber, are fat, sodium and cholesterol free, and contain a variety of phytonturients, including antioxidants, that play a role in the prevention of disease,” he said.
Comparing antioxidant levels, as measured by oxygen radical absorbance capacity (ORAC), one large apple with the skin weighing 242g has a higher value, ~7500, than the average serving of blueberries where half a cup delivers ~4750, said Lempert.
Also, unlike apples, more commonly regarded superfruits may not be available year round and often cost more, he added.
The survey, conducted on behalf of the US Apple Association, surveyed more than 1,000 chief household shoppers on their views about apples and apple products with regard to nutrition, health and eating habits.
When asked to rate 10 individual fruits on a scale of one (most healthful) to 10 (least healthful), respondents showed the strongest preference for three particular fruits: blueberries, apples and pomegranates. 64 percent rated apples a one, two or three on the scale of one-to-10.
More than 90 percent believed that apples and apple beverages, especially those with the peel left intact, are rich in polyphenols and antioxidants both known to promote health.
Also, nearly 90 per cent of respondents believed that apples and apple products may help to boost weight loss efforts while 85 per cent said that daily consumption of apples and apple products can help reduce LDL (low-density lipoprotein) or “bad” cholesterol levels and protect against heart disease.
Dietary guidelines for Americans suggests that on average, healthy adults should eat about 5 cups of fruits and vegetables per day. One small apple, half a large apple, one cup of sliced raw or cooked apples, half a cup of dried apples, one cup of 100 percent apple juice/cider, and 1 cup of applesauce all count as a one cup towards the five cup total.
All varieties of apple are similar in their nutritional profile.
Meanwhile, US apple production is estimated to reach 241m bushels this year which equates to about 113 apples/US consumer.
Last year, a third of the national apple harvest was devoted to processing, including juices and sauces. About one half went to the domestic fresh market and 14 percent was exported as fresh produce.
Around 84m bushels is expected to be used for processing in the 2009/2010 harvest year.