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Quinoa seeds are processed after being harvested in Challapata, Bolivia.

(bloomberg)

(Bloomberg) -- Quinoa is so 2017. Nestle SA’s new superfood candidate is the goldenberry.

The world’s largest food company may add the Andean fruit, closely related to the tomato with a sweet and sour taste, to a range of products after acquiring a Latin American snack maker that relies on the ingredient.

“One of our main rationales to partner up with Nestle was that we’ve seen excitement from Nestle to start using goldenberries as part of their ingredients in their products, from baby food to cereal bars to chocolate,” Terrafertil Chief Executive Officer David Bermeo said in an interview.

The yellow, marble-sized berries, relatively unknown outside Latin America, can be added to baked goods, salads and cereals, or eaten as fresh or dried fruit. They’re high in antioxidants, which advocates say may help prevent chronic diseases including cancer.

The maker of Gerber baby food and KitKat chocolate bars has been adding healthier fare as it catches up with consumers who shun sugar and processed food. The company has revamped its frozen-food offerings, acquired vegetarian burrito-maker Sweet Earth and is boosting its plant-based portfolio.

Nestle’s acquisition of a 60 percent stake in Terrafertil, which which owns the Nature’s Heart brand and is the world’s largest buyer of goldenberries, closed Tuesday.

“Consumers these days are increasingly looking for organic and natural food with high nutrient content,” said Laurent Freixe, CEO of Nestle Americas. “We are looking forward to exploring with Terrafertil the potential of their products.”

Latin America is known for having introduced the world to a plethora of superfoods, such as quinoa, chia seeds, amaranth and acai berries.

“It’s together with Nestle that we can start to promote this product, which has tremendous nutritional properties and is practically not known at all,” Bermeo said.

To contact the reporter on this story: Corinne Gretler in Zurich at cgretler1@bloomberg.net

To contact the editors responsible for this story: Eric Pfanner at epfanner1@bloomberg.net, Thomas Mulier

©2018 Bloomberg L.P.

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