Baobab GRAS dossier in, an answer in less than 180 days?

By Stephen Daniells

- Last updated on GMT

Baobab GRAS dossier in, an answer in less than 180 days?
 FDA approval of baobab fruit pulp could be less than six months away, as momentum continues for what could be one of the hot ingredients of 2009.

The ingredient is already self-affirmed GRAS, a spokesperson from PhytoTrade Africa told, and FDA-approved GRAS is pending. PhytoTrade Africa is the southern Africa natural products trade association that represents companies wishing to export their dried baobab fruit.

In September, our sister site reported that the GRAS dossier would be submitted shortly. The dossier is now in and the waiting game is in progress.

Promotion of the baobab fruit pulp’s the potential for beverage and healthy snack markets has already begun with PL Thomas signed up for some of the distribution and marketing. Indeed, the company showcased a ‘beauty’ beverage at SupplySide West in Las Vegas.

Paula Nurnberger from PL Thomas told that there is interest from the food, nutrition, and cosmeceutical side. Cosmetics applications are also offering potential for the ingredient.

Boabab is the fruit of the Adansonia digitata, (or 'upside-down') tree, which grows primarily in South Africa, Botswana, Namibia, Mozambique and Zimbabwe. The fruit, which has a long history of use in Africa, is understood to have a high antioxidant content.

Health benefits

The antioxidant activity is reportedly about four times that of kiwi or apple pulp. The main nutrients include vitamin C, riboflavin, niacin, pectin and citric, malic and succinic acids, while the oil also contains the vitamins A, D and E.

The pulp is also reported to be prebiotic and stimulate the intestinal microflora.

The maximum sustainable harvesting potential of baobab could about $1bn, according to a report by Ben Bennett from the UK's Natural Resources Institute (NRI) for the Regional Trade Facilitation Programme (RTFP).

European bloom

Baobab fruit pulp received European novel foods approval in July of last year. In a recent interview Billy Smith, marketing manager of Afriplex said: “The response from major food companies [in Europe] has been absolutely phenomenal​”.

In additional to the novelty factor, Smith drew attention to the sustainable and fair trade aspects. Boabab is wild harvested, and the benefits of the commerce are channeled to the communities that need it.

To listen to the interview with Billy Smith, please click here​.

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