Acai is the #1 food for anti-ageing benefits” claims Dr. Perricone, a world renowned expert on antioxidant products. From specialists to sports stars, many celebrities are now recognizing the positive effects of RioLife açaí. The açaí berry, pronounced AH-SIGH-EE has been heralded as “Natures Perfect Food” by the U.S Health Sciences Institute. Açaí is certainly a healthy option; the berries are grown in the Amazon rainforest and are packed with antioxidants. The people living in the Amazon region in Northern Brazil have consumed Açaí for thousands of years, and its healing and sustaining powers are legendary. In Belém, the colonial port at the mouth of the Amazon, about 200,000 litres are drunk every day — more than milk. All the juice bars that line the blocks near Ipanema and Copacabana do a roaring trade. In fact, açaí is more of a lifestyle option than a foodstuff. It is the magic potion that fuelled the hedonistic energy of Brazilian beach culture.
In Australia açaí has become readily available through RioLife (http://www.riolife.com.au), a Sydney based business founded by three young guns who have been friends since school days. The young entrepreneurs were travelling and working in Rio de Janeiro, California, and Singapore in 2005 when friends introduced them to what the young men call a Rio Bowl – liquefied açaí pulp and guarana syrup blended with banana and topped with granola and sliced bananas. They were instantly hooked.
RioLife Managing Director Jeremy Liddle said they first launched açaí at various juice bars and cafes on the Northern Beaches. “The main products were the famous Rio Bowl and Rio Juice, which were based on authentic Brazilian recipes. Now we’re very excited about this new pure dried açaí product,” said Jeremy. “This is the first 100% dried açaí product available across all of Australia. We’re expecting it to appeal to a much broader market, and be available to more people as we don’t have to worry about frozen distribution” says Jeremy.
“RioLife has already launched our Pure Dried açaí in New Zealand, and in 2008/2009 we are focusing on launching a whole range of açaí based products into health food stores across both NZ and Australia” stated Jeremy.
So why is a powdered format so good?
This is the best way to obtain all the goodness that açaí has to offer without it needing to be kept frozen or have preservatives added, but most importantly by condensing the fruit into the dried powdered form it holds an incredible level of antioxidants, more so than any other fruit or antioxidant product on the market. You could keep a tub at home or in the office for convenient healthier living.
So why are Antioxidants so great??
Clearly we have entered the “era of the antioxidants”, and this is with good reason.
Antioxidants neutralise the free radicals which damage cells in your body. Free radicals are caused by stresses on the body such as pollution, exposure to the sun, exercise, smoking, poor diet or just having too much fun! So keeping the level of antioxidants up is the perfect way to help your body fight off all the nasties which are potentially harmful. A clinical study in the U.S. (http://news.ufl.edu/2006/01/12/berries/) showed “extracts from acai (ah-SAH’-ee) berries triggered a self-destruct response in up to 86 percent of leukemia cells” said Stephen Talcott.
“It’s RioLife’s goal to make açaí an essential lifestyle fruit for healthy living and sustainability, as every unit sold is contributing to the sustainability of the Brazilian rainforest. 1% of all retail sales of RioLife açaí products carrying the ‘Amazon Friendly’ logo will be sent back to the Amazon to pay for ‘Fruits of the Amazon’s’ social projects like the construction of a school. You will also see other products being released in both NZ and Australia carrying the ‘Amazon Friendly’ logo. The sustainably-managed açaí berry is now a perfect model of Triple Bottom Line success; economic, environmental, and social.” said Liddle.
RioLife was inaugurated in 2005 and launched its premium product Açaí in November 2005. RioLife began by distributing for Nu Fruits of the Amazon, and the two companies have now merged, turning RioLife into the national retail brand for Nu Fruits of the Amazon’s products. This merger occurred in June 2007, and Jeremy Liddle has now taken over as Managing Director of both companies/brands. Nu Fruits operates as the importer and is focused on food ingredient sales to manufacturers.
RioLife’s focus includes not only a love affair with açai fruit and its nutritional qualities, but also the romance of the Amazon rainforest and the ideological allure of açaí’s sustainable-agriculture platform. The popularity of açai offers a way to encourage the spread of “sustainable” agriculture in the rainforest: the more the Amazonians are encouraged to tend to crops of wild açai, the less likely they are to strip the trees from the forest in order to convert the land into arable plots. For this reason world renowned pro surfer Joel Parkinson and other pro sportsmen and media icons such as Oprah are endorsing the fruit.
In line with this environmentally friendly approach RioLife accounts for 1% of all retail sales of açaí products carrying the ‘Amazon Friendly’ logo, and sends this money back to Brazil to support social projects such as building a school.
At this stage acai is just scratching the surface of consumer awareness in Australia, but if the Californian market is anything to go by, this super-fruit is in a league of its own within the health food industry. It can be argued, and often is argued by many world renowned doctors and nutritionists, that acai is the healthiest fruit on the planet because of the balance and wide range of nutrients it offers.
The acai berry is nearly completely seed, after being harvested wild the skin is stripped off at the point of processing and mixed with water to make a pulp. Açaí pulp contains an impressive nutritional elixir. At the top of its nutrient list are anthocyanins, powerful antioxidants, of which açaí contains amounts 33 times greater than red wine and significantly more than other fruits such as blueberries, that have recently been gaining attention for their antioxidant content. Acai also contains omega-6 and omega-9 cholesterol-fighting fatty acids, more protein than the average egg, essential amino acids, and vitamins and minerals ranging from vitamin E to calcium; enough goodness to make other fruits feel inadequate. And, one last thing, any drink or meal containing an acai guarana mix acts as an instant energy booster. Acai is quite simply the sexiest of all fruits! Oh yes don’t forget – the native people of the Amazon claim it is a natural aphrodisiac, or the “Viagra of the Amazon”.