New exotic fruit set for UK shopsBaobab has six times the vitamin C of an orange

16 July 2008

The baobab fruit

An exotic African fruit with up to six times the vitamin C of an orange has been cleared to be sold in Britain.

The baobab tree is a common feature of the landscape in southern Africa and its fruit has been eaten for generations across the continent. 

As well as having very high vitamin C content, the fruit is also rich in anti-oxidants, iron and potassium and contains twice as much calcium as milk.

Baobab products

The fruit had not been allowed into Britain because legislation prevents the importation of food that was not commonly consumed in the European Union (EU) before 1997.

But the EU has now given its approval, and products containing baobab could start appearing on UK shop shelves within months.

It will not be sold whole because the shell is too hard to crack but the fruit pulp will be used as an ingredient in cereal bars and smoothies.

Cereal bars

PhytoTrade Africa, a trade organisation that promotes fair and ethical trade, had lobbied for the EU ruling.

Its chief executive, Gus Le Breton, said: ‘Baobab is an ideal ingredient for smoothies and cereal bars, and its well documented nutritional benefits provide manufacturers with a new opportunity to target the booming market in healthy foods.’