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Baobab powder is well known for its high, whole food Vitamin C content, the resulting antioxidant (ORAC) score, and its richness in fiber, particularly prebiotic, soluble fiber.  These are the reasons it is considered such a valuable Superfruit.  Combine this with its lovely, sweet/tart, citrusy flavor, its thinkening properties and its versatility in the kitchen, and you can see that Baobab is the up-and-coming industry champion.

The Baobab Zone

Baobab Trees are widely distributed in semi-arid and arid areas in West, Central and East Africa.  There are also some unique species found in Madagascar and Australia.  Different climate, soils and regions produce Baobab Fruit with different qualities, including varying nutritional profiles.  In fact, there can be considerable variation from tree to tree in the same area.  In Benin, home of Atacora, we see widely varying yields of big and small round, ovoid, oblong and otherwise morphed fruit that have subtly different flavors, and surely different nutritional make-ups.

 

 

 

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Baobab_Distribution_Map

 

Representitive Sampling

Products destined for sale and human consumption, Baobab included, need to be thoroughly laboratory tested by production lot. Certainly, testing the fruits of every tree, or even by small production batches is not feasible from a logistical or financial standpoint, as each round of testing costs thousands of dollars.  Thus, testing is most often done by production lots.  Each year, Atacora produces both certified organic and conventional (not yet certified) Baobab Powder, sourced from multiple villages in our region, and the numerous producer collectives therein.  Each year’s organic and conventional production represents two lots, and each small collective’s production represents an individual batch.

To obtain this year’s representitive sample for testing, I personally went into our warehouses and hand selected a few whole fruit from each lot’s numerous collectives. The women of the Atacora Fair Partnership Co-op used their traditional hand processing methods to obtain samples to be sent to the lab.  We tested for Identity, nutrition, pesticides, heavy metals, soluble and insoluble fiber, gluten, ORAC value, microbiology, etc. for both lots.  The results were beyond encouraging, as you will see from the comparisons to other Baobab noted below.  Interestingly, the results for organic and conventional were virtually identical.  The only difference between the two is the expensive certification.

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Nutrition Results

These are the results that customers see, and are front line marketing points.  You will see a lot of comparisons of Baobab and other nutritious fruit coming from other sellers, such as:

  • Baobab Fruit has more than DOUBLE the antioxidant levels of Acai and Goji berries
  • More Than 6 times the antioxidant levels of Cranberries, Blueberries and Pomegranates
  • More Than 6 times the Potassium of a Banana
  • More Than 6 times the Vitamin C of Oranges
  • Baobab Fruit is 50% Heart Healthy Fiber
  • Ounce for Ounce, As Much Magnesium As Coconut Water
  • Twice as Much Calcium as Milk

I find this kind of thing to be potentially misleading.  Per serving?  Per 100g?  Baobab is a dry powder.  Were they using dry blueberry powder?  Milk powder?  Some of the compared items are more than 90% water!  What are the serving sizes? 

Vitamin C

I just want to compare different Baobab powders and their data.  I do not wish to call out other producers specifically, however I have seen evidence that Atacora’s latest testing is head and shoulders above the rest.  There is a specific claim, for example, that Baobab from Southern Africa has more Vitamin C than Baobab sourced from elsewhere.  My research on product from that region shows 107-240 mg per 100g.  Our two lots tested at 393 and 408 mg per 100g (that’s 70% DV as opposed to less than  a maximum of 50% DV.  Elsewhere, I found “as much as 300 mg”. 

Antioxidants

Published ORAC (Oxygen Radical Absorption Capacity values (using the same measure as Atacora) from a very reputable company, producing very fine Baobab indicate 250 ORAC units per gram (250 µmol TE/g), or 2500 per 10g serving.  Our testing shows 316 ORAC units per gram, or 3160 per 10g serving.  There is another producers claiming 14,000 ORAC units per gram!  Judging by the amount of antioxidant Vitamin C in their product, that would make sense per 100g.  Atacora would score 31,900 per 100 g!  Something is fishy, here!  I even saw published charts indicating more than 250 mg of calcium per gram.  Well, if a gram is 1000 mg, that means that it would be 25% calcium.  Have some rock dust in your smoothie!  I do not think bones are 25% calcium!  It seems like murky research to me.

Fiber

Testing measures total fiber, soluble (prebiotic mucillage), and insoluble fiber (roughage).  Fiber is crucial for good digestion, which has enormous effects on overall health and well-being.  Atacora’s recent test show our two lots of Baobab to be 45% and 48.4% total dietary fiber (18% DV and 19% DV per 10 g serving), respectively.  Other test results I have found indicate between 40% and 50% total fiber, so Atacora is right in the ballpark.  Atacora Baobab’s total fiber tested at 66% soluble, PREBIOTIC fiber, whereas other tests I found in by research indicate 50% soluble fiber.  Atacora has more prebiotic punch!

Pesticides/Metals

All testing indicates levels well below acceptable tolerances, and, in fact, screening for each of 164 pesticides indicated NONE DETECTED for either Organic or Conventional.  That is rare.

Conclusions

  • Atacora Baobab Superfruit Powder is TOP DOG in the field of Baobab nutrition, according to the evidence.
  • There are Baobab producers out there (not all) who make outlandish nutritional claims and unfair comparisons to sell their product.
  • Atacora’s conventional (not certified organic) and certified organic Baobab are virtually indistinguishable according to our Certificates of Analysis.
  • We at Atacora stand behind our ethics and our product, in every way!
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