“Cacao fruit is definitely taking off. It is one of the new superfoods because it is loaded with antioxidants and anti-inflammatories, but beyond that what is cool is the pulp of the cacao fruit is naturally sweet and a little tangy so we can formulate our smoothie without added sugar,” Dominick Gregg, a representative for the company said at SOHO Expo in Florida earlier this month.
He explained that Suavva is run by seventh generation cacao farmers who sell the bean to chocolate companies and then use a proprietary technique to mill the pulp so that the nutrients, including mood-boosting theobromine, are preserved. The ingredient -- which the company also sells -- can be freeze-dried or pureed as well for added versatility.
“We use 99% of the cacao fruit. We mill it down into three parts: the white hull gives you the sugar substitute, the rind gives you a protein powder that you can throw in a granola bar or as a boost for your shake and the rest of it goes into our smoothies,” Gregg said.
The smoothies, which launched earlier this year, come in six on-trend flavors, including: Amazing Cacao, Blissful Berry, Sassy Strawberry, Merry Mango, Buena Banana and Chocolatey Cheer.
In addition to having no added sugar, which will be a key selling point going forward when this information is broken out in the Nutrition Facts Panel, the smoothies also are free-from preservatives as they are HPP cold-pressed. They also are non-GMO, vegan and kosher, Gregg said.
Currently distributed in Florida, Louisiana, New York and New Jersey, the company hopes to expand the smoothies’ presence in store shelves in the southeast and elsewhere, Gregg said.
Building demand for the ingredient
But building up the beverage line is not the ultimate goal. Rather, Suavva wants to build awareness of the cacao fruit pulp as an ingredient and become a supplier to other brands and products, Gregg said.
“We are hoping that the smoothies will grab consumers’ attention and create demand so that other manufacturers want to use the ingredient, too,” Gregg said.
He added Suavva is ahead of the game for now, but that the “Dr. Ozs and Dr. Phils of the world are starting to talk about cacao fruit” and it is only a matter of time before the ingredient explodes.