The analyst says that the increasing popularity of berries and berry flavours in recent years is now extending to other less well-known super fruits, such as pomegranate, mangosteen, acai and noni, which are all being marketed on their antioxidant content and associated health benefits.
This could have a knock-on effect into other sectors. Datamonitor recently said that in Europe, the increased popularity of exotic fruit contributed significantly to a growth rate of 26 per cent for the European organic food industry between 2001 and 2004. The US market looks to be following suit.
Innova said that berry flavours have been popular for a number of years, with initial interest in summer fruits, such as strawberries and raspberries. This has gradually given way to fruits marketed more strongly on a health platform, such as cranberries and blueberries.
In total, 5,291 food and drinks launches featuring berries were tracked by Innova in 2005, making it the second most popular flavour overall, behind chocolate on 7,247 launches.
The analyst also said that more exotic and less well-known fruits are starting to come to the fore, with over 100 product launches containing pomegranate tracked over the year, for example.
Scientific research to date has centred on the antioxidant and related heart-health properties of pomegranate and pioneers include the Pom Wonderful juice brand, available in both the US and the UK, marketed on a clear health platform.
Launched in the US in 2003, it led the refrigerated juice category by the end of 2004, and is also available in the UK, where its unusual packaging, premium pricing and heart-health positioning have attracted considerable interest.
The Pomegreat ambient juice drink brand is also growing strongly in the UK, while the US has seen its first refrigerated organic pomegranate juice with the launch by Fruttzo's.
Another new star on the super fruit horizon is acai, a purple berry from Brazil. It claims a long list of benefits, including greater energy and stamina, improved digestion, better mental focus and improved sleep, although with just 13 launches of products with acai tracked by Innova in 2005, it has some way to go to catch pomegranate.
Asia's so-called queen of fruits, the mangosteen, is also seeing activity in the form of drinks, such as Xango and Mango.Xan, moving from network marketing to traditional health food distribution in the US, and from there perhaps to the mainstream market.
Meanwhile, noni, a tropical fruit found primarily in the South Pacific and traditionally used by Tahitians for its health benefits, is also one to watch. It was first brought to the US market as Tahitian Noni Juice in 1996, and first gained approval for use in the EU by Tahitian Noni International in 2003 under Novel Foods legislation.