Freeze Dried vs Spray Dried Superfoods; Maqui vs Acai
Like most things we buy there are varying qualities of product, and similarly you tend to get what you pay for. Healthfoods are no exception to that. Even though freeze dried Maqui Berry and Acai Berry powders look and taste almost identical and are about the same price, Maqui Berry is reported to have between 3 and 4 times the antioxidant power (ORAC level) of Acai Berry per serve, so there's obviously better 'health' value in Maqui Berry.
Quality of product is also important to consider, that is freeze dried product versus spray dried powders, and of course being certified organic offers a level of quality assurance too. To simplify that, freeze dried powders are far superior to spray dried in that freeze drying retains way more nutrients than spray drying, they taste better too and the final product is significantly better for you.
Any product that is freeze dried (not just Maqui or Acai) will openly promote that fact on it's product labeling and supporting promotional material because it is a positive quality indicator for health food consumers, and it separates itself from inferior quality products which can't promote that fact.
You can usually tell a quality health food product by the price too. For example, one (leading) Maqui Berry brand retails at $44.95 for 150gm, a second brand retails at $29.95 for the same 150gm, and a third retails at $29.95 for only 100gm of Maqui Berry.
Which one do you think uses the cheaper and inferior quality spray dried ingredient?
Correct, the second one. The first and third one openly advertise freeze dried Maqui Berry as the source of product, and are priced similarly, whereas the second one doesn't mention anywhere the 'type' of powder it uses - absolutely nowhere, not on packaging, in consumer advertising, or even in wholesale advertising - so much so I had to phone them to ask the question, and sure enough it's spray dried, a fact the responder offered with a knowing sigh - indicating I'm perhaps not the first to ask them that question!
The bit that bothers me is the manufacturer must know it's an inferior quality ingredient because they hide that very fact by omission, yet they claim in advertising that their product is the 'best value' and 'highest quality', and at the same time offer no statistical facts about their Maqui Berry or the source of ingredient they use.
The same 'omission' of fact is used in an Acai Blend product to hide around 70% of added fruit sugars. They do this by listing the carbs total in the nutrition panel without the sugar (or fructose) differentiation underneath, and not indicating the actual content of certain ingredients. The Acai content is only about 30%, if that. So there's a product where the added fruit powders (added for taste - like most sugars) overpower and negate any health benefits that could be attributed to the Acai. I've pointed this out to health shops on my travels and most of the retailers had never read the product label and had no idea of the actual sugar content. They only care that it sells. I'm sure by now we all know 'fat free' on labels may as well say 'with added sugar', and that sugar (and it's derivatives; fructose, glucose etc) is considered as addictive as heroin or cocaine - so why would a health food manufacturer not only add sugar to their 'health' product, but then hide the fact?? The word 'unscrupulous' comes to mind.
Consumers beware, health food manufacturing is a business like any other and (sorry to say) profits are the bottom line. Manufacturers don't really care about your health. That, my friends, is left entirely for you to do as a discerning consumer - not all health foods are created equal, some are as bad as more obvious junk food. So, do your homework, ask the questions, compare products and be aware of what you are buying ... if something is too good a bargain compared to another there is probably a 'quality' (or lack of!!) reason for that. Don't believe all that you read in advertising either, it's what they don't say that may be the more relevant info.
PS. Planet Organics or MaquiBerry Active are our brands of choice for Maqui Berry freeze dried powders ... the 'Dr Superfoods' brand of Maqui Berry and Acai Berry powders is the one that contains the inferior spray dried powder in both berry products ... Can anyone else see the irony in that?? =)
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