There's a new hero in the pantheon of superfruits: Meet the amazing cherry.
Joining the ranks alongside the likes of pomegranites and blueberries, the red stemmed fruit is a relative latecomer to the antioxidant world. But what it lost in timing is being made up for with a sharp new logo, a national consumer education campaign and a series of studies summarized in The Cherry Nutrition Report.
“People love the taste of cherries, but they tend to think about pie and other desserts,” said Ellie Krieger, the nutritionist host of the Food Network's “Healthy Appetite” show and a cherry advocate.
The campaign for cherry justice is being waged by the Cherry Marketing Institute, which commissioned the research and developed the science-based marketing plan. Studies show that certain varieties have more antioxidant capacity per serving than cranberries, and almost as much as blueberries. The report also backed up what has been known as a home remedy for years: Cherries can help reduce inflammation and the symptoms of arthritis and gout. They're also one of the few sources of melatonin, the antioxidant responsible for regulating circadian rhythms and sleep patterns.
Store-level promotions will include the new logo and highlights of the report; a consumer website, www.choosecherries.com, also features the information as well as recipes. Officials said it's important to point out that the initiative focuses on tart cherries, rather than the sweeter summertime varieties. Sour cherries are grown primarily in Michigan, which produces 75% of the annual crop. It helps that they're available year-round in a number of forms, including dried, juice concentrate and frozen.