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Agro Innova introduces all-natural Suavva Blissful Berry cacao smoothie

Agro Innova Co., based in Weston, FL, is “a leading company in the functional beverage industry,” founded by Joseph Montgomery III, whose family has been involved in cacao production for seven generations, according to a company press release.01-ImmportedBerries-AgroInn

The company’s flagship product line is a family of all-natural, nutrient-rich smoothies made principally from the pulp of the cacao fruit, marketed under the brand name “Suavva.” Newly introduced is the Suavva Blissful Berry cacao smoothie, which incorporates raspberries and blueberries with the cacao pulp.

“We source the raspberries and the blueberries domestically,” Montgomery told The Produce News. But the main ingredient, which is a puree made from the pulp of the cacao fruit, is imported from Ecuador. “That is the new and really interesting ingredient,” he said, because heretofore, “no one has really been importing the cacao puree to use as a fruit.”

Agro Innova markets its Suavva smoothies through supermarket produce departments and will be presenting them to the trade at the Produce Marketing Association’s Fresh Summit Convention & Expo in Anaheim, CA, in October.

Suavva Blissful Berry is highly nutritious not only because of the high antioxidant content of the berries in the product but because cacao pulp is also rich in antioxidants and other nutrients. The cacao pulp has similar nutritive value to cocoa or dark chocolate, but because it is made a very different part of the fruit — the pulp, not the seed — it has a very different and totally unique flavor, a delightful flavor that Montgomery says always puts a smile on the faces of the people who try it.

The cacao is “a fruit which is a lot different from other fruits,” Montgomery said. It has “a very thick skin, a very large seed and very little pulp.” A cacao fruit is about the size of a pineapple and the shape of a football, and it has only about two ounces of pulp in it, but the pulp has “a fantastic taste,” he said.

Historically, “for the most part the pulp has not been used.” It is generally left on the seeds of the fruit, called beans, to assist in fermentation. “It is the fermented beans that chocolate is extracted from.”

But Agro Innova has “figured out a way to use the pulp to produce, initially, a juice,” which is then used in the smoothies.

The incredible health benefits of the cacao fruit “really have not been available until now because no one had really figured out a way to use the pulp on a commercial basis.” Only after seven generations in the cacao business “have we figured out a way to extract enough of the fruit pulp to make it available in the market.” The company has applied for a patent for the process, he said.

The smoothies are cold press pasteurized rather than heat pasteurized. “By cold pressing, we are able to retain the nutrients and the antioxidants almost entirely” and also preserve “a much nicer flavor,” Montgomery said. “We have had our antioxidant count certified” by Brunswick Laboratories, “one of the biggest labs that does this type of thing in the country.”

Montgomery thinks that people “are really going to enjoy the combined flavor” of the cacao fruit and the berries in the Blissful Berry blend. “It makes all the flavors pop really beautifully,” he said.