There are companies that sell cranberry juice extract products, and those that sell cranberry fruit extract products. Then there are products that contain just whole-fruit cranberry powder. Confused? Cranberry juice extract is not the same as cranberry fruit extract or whole-fruit cranberry. And whole-fruit cranberry powder is not a cranberry extract or cranberry juice extract.
Every part of the cranberry – from its skins to its juice and seed – plays an important role in the body to achieve optimum health and wellness. When you remove one of these components, the result is no longer a whole-fruit cranberry product. It’s like a car engine. If you remove a component, the engine can no longer operate efficiently. Each component contributes to the engine performing at maximum capacity.
When you remove anything from the cranberry, such as its juice, skin or seeds, it is no longer a whole fruit. It is an extract. As important: when you extract a component from the cranberry then put it back in, it is no longer whole fruit.
Example: Some companies spray cranberry juice back onto cranberry powder made from the skins and seeds. Even when this happens, the cranberry is no longer considered a whole fruit.
Similarly, when you press the cranberry and all that is left over is its skin and seeds, this is called pulp. Many nutraceutical companies are trying to sell this pulp as whole-fruit cranberry powder. This is wrong. There are very few phytonutrients remaining in this pulp. At Fruit d’Or, we usually sell this pulp as animal feed. This type of mislabeling is misleading, wrong and dangerous to the credibility of our cranberry industry and consumers’ health and safety.
Cranberry seed oil and cranberry seed powder
The oil within the cranberry seed contains more than 90 percent fatty acids. Cranberry seed oil contains omega 3, 6 and 9, as well as tocopherols and tocotrienols which are part of the vitamin E family, plus sterols such as beta sitosterol. Fatty acids such as Omega 3 are considered essential fatty acids. They are necessary for human health but the body can’t make them. So you have to get them through food such as salmon, tuna and halibut. Now consumers can get a source of Omega 3 from cranberry seed oil, which is considered a safe food ingredient by both FDA and Health Canada.
Cranberry seed oil health applications may include skin care, cardio and prostate. Currently its most popular use is in the cosmetic industry as a fatty acid to fight against aging. It also has many healing benefits for skin and scar tissues. Much like rosemary, cranberry seed oil can also be used as a carrier and as a preservative to help improve the stability of other oils such as fish oil.
The cranberry seed oil produced by Fruit d’Or, both Cran d’Or and Cran Naturelle, are cold pressed. It can be used by the dietary supplement industry as carrier or preservative in soft gel manufacturing. It can also be used by the food industry as an artisan gourmet oil delivering Omega 3, 6 and 9 onto pastas and salads or bread dippings.
Cran d’Or and Cran Naturelle cranberry seed powders are the remaining seed meal that has been polyphenol fingerprinted by Fruit d’Or to contain 20 to 25 percent protein, up to 50 after the oil has been cold pressed. The cranberry seed powder is known as a superfood. It has 50 percent fiber, 16 essential amino acids, as well as potassium and other nutrients. The cranberry seed from Fruit d’Or is standardized to contain a minimum range of 2% to 5% PACs. Some companies are using Fruit d’Or cranberry seed powder as prebiotic, as it has been tested as a food source to feed certain probiotic strains such as bacillus coagulans. Fruit d’Or Cranberry seed powder has been tested against inulin and FOS, and results show that it has been as much as 200% more effective which is most likely attributed to its high levels of carbon and nitrogen.
When processing and milling the seed into powder, it is important that manufacturers don’t overheat the ingredients or this will cause the nutrients to degrade. Unlike other cranberry suppliers, Fruit d’Or has its own cold pressing equipment, milling and drying equipment. This enables Fruit d’Or to control the manufacturing process from start to finish and prevent degradation.
Many beverage and food companies are now including cranberry seed powder in formulations that contain other whole-food plant ingredients such as pea protein and hemp. Some in the cosmetic industry are using the powder as an exfoliating agent for skin care.
Cranberry juice extract powder
This powder is made from cranberry juice concentrate that is turned into powder, usually through a process called spray drying. The high-heat process can cause nutrient degradation, and it involves the use of carriers such as maltodextrin or MGOH. Some manufacturers will use up to 80 percent maltodextrin to process cranberry juice concentrate into a juice powder These carriers are needed to prevent stickiness and clumping, improve dispersion and to help make the cranberry water soluble.
The cranberry juice concentrate which is produced by Fruit d’Or is made from the fresh cranberries that are also grown by Fruit d’Or. It is important for consumers to know that juice concentrate does not contain all the cranberry’s nutrients such as fiber, protein, potassium, or omega 3, 6 and 9, as it does not contain any skin, oil or seeds.
The result of all these variables is inconsistent product quality. Plus, most cranberry juice extract products at the retail level are not standardized to measure and test for certain biomarkers such as PACs. That standardization is necessary to achieve efficacy and deliver on promises.
How to ensure you’re getting whole-fruit cranberry ingredients
To choose cranberry products that deliver on their promises, consumers should stay away from those cranberry products that do not promote direct from the grower. Knowing that the cranberry is grown and harvested by growers in North America should bring peace of mind to consumers that quality can now be traced back to the field where the cranberry was grown.
In addition, consumers should read the label to learn how to walk away from cranberry products that are not tested for PACs or that don’t identify PACs on the label. When it comes to premium quality, all Fruit d’Or cranberry ingredient are tested to ensure PACs’ potency and standardization.
Consumers should also look for misleading label claims on the cranberry product. For example, when the label states seven glasses of cranberry juice in a capsule, keep your money in your wallet and don’t be fooled.
If the company is promoting to take a capsule of either whole-fruit cranberry or cranberry fruit extract powder, the advice is to stay away. Studies show that you need at least 36 mg of PACs for support of a healthy urinary tract and you cannot get this in one capsule unless it is a purified juice extract or standardized whole fruit powder such as Fruit d’Or Cran Naturelle or Cran d’Or.
Since not all cranberry products are the same, Fruit d’Or’s responsibility as a leading supplier and manufacturer of cranberry ingredients is to educate industry stakeholders, retailers and consumers on what to look for in terms of cranberry standardization, quality and efficacy.