Developers tap into potential of Chile's Magellan Barberry

Countries More News Top Stories
Developers tap into potential of Chile's Magellan Barberry

Chilean researchers are placing their bets on the currently commercially unknown Magellan Barberry (Berberis microphylla), a symbol of its native home in Patagonia.calafate_copia

Commercial development efforts in Region XI (Aysén) will focus on creating a dehydrated form of this antioxidant-packed fruit - known locally as 'Calafate' - supported by a collaborative project between the Agricultural Innovation Foundation (FIA) and agricultural entrepreneur Mauricio Manríquez.

The dried fruit will then be used for powder supplements to provide added antioxidants and polyphenols to healthy diets, explained project coordinator Francisco Javier Alderete.

"The Calafate powder has the daily dose of antioxidants that a person needs for their health and nutrition," Alderete said in a press statement.

To determine the true nutritional value of the product, as well as its fresh berries, the team will work with the Institute of Nutrition and Food Technology (INTA).

The project will also intergrate efforts from local communities, said FIA project supervisor René Martorell.

"This initiative will add value to this native, high antioxidant fruit and is an activity that demands cooperation and commitment to rural agricultural communities in Aysén. This enhances regional development," Matorell said.

The first steps of the project are expected to get underway mid-year. Initial marketing will be carried out on the national market through specialty stores with a focus on natural products, nutritional supplements and gourmet foods.

Product potential

The Magellan Barberry is a relatively unknown fruit with no pre-existing efforts to determine its demand potential, FIA said.

The foundation, however, said the fruit could reach similar heights as the maqui berry, another native fruit to Chile with high antioxidant levels. In recent years, maqui berries have risen in popularity through juice concentrates, jellies and dehydrated foods, among other products.

South Korea, for example, provides a potential market, as a significant buyer of dried fruits.

"Considering that this country is one of the greatest importers of fruits and that Chile is the second exporter of dehydrated fruit, there is a consolidated platform to begin generating income for powdered Calafate berries," Alderete said.

ProChile will add extra marketing support, information and contacts to reach out to the U.S. market.

Photo: FIA

Subscribe to our newsletter