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Elderberry soars on the immunity trend

From beverages to bars, more companies are adding the deep purple berry to a variety of products for its hue, flavour and health appeal.

Elderberries are the deep purple fruit of the elderberry shrub and have a history of use in folk medicine for treating sicknesses like colds. Some experts have said the berries and flowers of elderberry are packed with antioxidants and vitamins that can boost the immune system and have the potential to tame inflammation, but studies have found that the effectiveness varies.

According to, SPINS data showed that elderberry use across US food and beverage categories like juice, candy and fruit spreads increased 124.6% in the 52 weeks ending Nov 1.

As the focus on immunity-boosting foods and beverages grows during the pandemic, interest in the purple berry has skyrocketed and expanded well beyond its use in syrups and supplements. Companies and analysts expect that growth to accelerate in 2021, it reports.

More products boasting elderberry on their labels are likely to roll out in the years ahead. The elderberry market is expected to grow by about $149-million from 2020 to 2024 at an annual rate of more than 5%, according to Technavio.

Uncle Matt’s new Ultimate Immune drink: organic orange juice and elderberry that has 300% of the RDA of vitamin C, 50% of vitamin D and 25% for zinc to support immunity and wellness.

These developments come as more research connects elderberries to better health. Although no published research studies have evaluated consuming elderberry for COVID-19, a review of five studies last year found that when taken within 48 hours of general onset cold and flu symptoms, the berry could reduce their length and severity.

A boom for ingredients with benefits

These elderberry products are riding the wave of demand for ingredients with immunity-boosting properties that has been rising throughout the pandemic

Kara Nielsen, director of Food & Drink at WGSN, a trend forecasting company under Ascential, said that elderberry is common in health stores among cough suppressants and tinctures, but it has become more recognised. WGSN identified immunity-supporting ingredients as a key trend for 2021 and spotlighted elderberries in a report. 

“As immunity demands expand, add elderberries to categories that support regular use, such as concentrated syrups to flavour still or sparkling water, fruit-juice glazes for breakfast cereal and jams for morning toast or waffles,” the WGSN report said.

“Pair them with adaptogens in snacks or chocolate to meet the dual needs of combating stress and improving the body’s ability to fight illness.” 

According to the Innova Consumer Survey 2020, six out of 10 global consumers are looking for products to support their immune health, and 54% saying they’ve spent time educating themselves on these types of ingredients and practices. 

Lu Ann Williams, director of insights and innovation at Innova Market Insights, said elderberry is “absolutely on-trend for immunity.” She expects continued broader interest in more ingredients with these types of claims in 2021….. Read the full article

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