Year-Round Love of Berries Creates New Technology Developments

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With consumers wanting their berries year-round, agriculture producers are meeting the demand with innovative technologies that extend the growing season and keep berries on the supermarket shelves for longer periods of time.

Consumers are beginning to demand their berries year-round

Public demand for berries continues to grow at a rapid pace, and there's no clearer sign than the one being produced by growers who are responding to the needs of the consumer.

As understanding and education spreads regarding the healthful benefits of berries, demand has increased around the world. In the United Kingdom, for example, sales of blueberries are reported to have skyrocketed by 130 percent, along with raspberries, which have grown by 62 percent over the last two years. Strawberries, which are the most produced berry in the United States, have registered a 34 percent gain in the past two years in the UK.

UK agriculture producers have been able to meet the demand with the innovative polytunnel, a plastic structure used by farmers to protect soft fruits like berries. The advantage of the polytunnel has extended the growing season and kept berries on the supermarket shelves for longer periods of time. And, as far as consumers are concerned, the longer the season the better, as the increasing popularity of berries and berry flavors over the past few years has also created a new market for every berry, even the more exotic species like the black raspberry, açaí and goji berry ("wolfberry").

"Consumers are beginning to demand their berries year-round," said Berry Health Inc. founder Dr. Paul Gross, a leading expert in the area of antioxidant foods. "I see the market changing to accommodate that demand by providing more diversity of products that have a longer shelf life or as ingredients in many popular products used whatever the season."

Some of those products come from Berry Health Inc. which makes two great-tasting supplements -- Berry Wise Antioxidant and Berry Wise Fiber & Antioxidant -- currently available for purchase in the United States and Canada through the website http://www.Berrywiseinc.com. Both include nine minerals, 12 essential vitamins and four sources of fiber. The Berry Wise products are centered around the wild blueberry, which the United States Department of Agriculture has listed No. 1 in antioxidant protection when compared to 40 other fresh fruits and vegetables.

Dr. Gross, a founding member of the International Berry Health Assoc., says that while the trend toward wider market distribution and more availability throughout the year will meet consumer demand, it does present some risk.

"One of the pressures on a crop with growing popularity is that farmers will succeed in growing more produce on the same land," said Dr. Gross. "The result is a depletion of soil nutrients, making a lower quality nutrition in the berry. This has already occurred for strawberries in California. With this in mind, Berry Health Inc. is committed to making sure our products will always retain berries that contain the highest quality of nutrients." Dr. Gross's free CD on berries, antioxidants and health can also be found at http://www.berrywiseonline.com.

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Tricia Ryan
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