Anheuser-Busch: Healthy Pomegranates Get Tipsy, Too

Americans already knew pomegranate was healthy. Now it looks like we think that weird purple fruit might make booze a little better, too. Anheuser-Busch is introducing Bacardi Silver Pomegranate Mojito--a pomegranate-flavored twist on the Mojito cocktail, which it claims is the first nationally available, pomegranate Mojito-flavored premium malt beverage to hit the market.

And Purple, a juice blend that contains pomegranate, cherry, black currant, purple plum, cranberry and blueberry, is turning up in martinis at The Palm, one of New York's toniest hotels.

"It's really all about the intersection of this search for the fountain of youth and intense flavor," says Karen Caplan, president of Frieda's Inc., the Los Alamitos, Calif.-based specialty produce firm that has introduced the U.S. to such produce powerhouses as the kiwi fruit, the donut peach and sugar-snap peas.

Partly, she says, it's because of the growing amount of research on the health benefits of antioxidants. Among its other antioxidant powers, researchers have found that pomegranate may help destroy prostate cancer cells.



But consumer acceptance is also way up because of the marketing efforts of POM Wonderful, paving the way for pomeranta juice since its launch in 2003. "We've seen a much bigger interest from our customers," Caplan says. For years, pomegranates sold primarily as a decorative addition to Thanksgiving centerpieces, she says, and now Americans are eating them up.

In fact, market researcher Mintel pronounced pomegranate (along with green tea) as one of the biggest flavors of 2006, popping up in everything from humble yogurt to high-end restaurant salsas. Also fueling the trend, it says, is that Latin cuisine, especially Cuban and Mexican, have also become popular, and pomegranate fits in well with those seasonings.

The Bacardi product will be sold in 12-ounce and 24-ounce cans. And Purple, currently in health food stores, is rolling out nationally this fall, the company says.

Mintel predicts that we'll see even more deep purple and red beverages in the months ahead: "Chefs will explore the deeper health benefits and flavor of antioxidant-rich foods such as deep red wine and dark chocolate, the subtleties of red and white tea, as well as the antioxidant-rich açaí berry," it predicts. "And the vitamin C-packed acerola cherry will provide additional sweetness to the functional flavor category."

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