Cupuazú, cupuazú or Amazonian white cocoa is a tropical fruit tree that belongs to the Sterculiaceae family, genus Theobroma , species : grandiflorum (CORPOICA-Amazon Fund, 1996) .
✅ Origin of Copoazu (Theobroma grandiflorum)
He is a native of the eastern Amazon; It is currently scattered throughout the Amazon and in many areas of the humid tropics in South America, mainly in Peru , Bolivia , Colombia , northern Brazil and southern Venezuela (FAO, 1987).
However, in many of these countries, outside the Amazon basin , little is known about this fruit, its benefits and potential.
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Theobroma grandiflorum is a small to medium sized evergreen tree (6-10 meters tall on average).
The fruit is thin-skinned, brown to reddish in color, has creamy-yellow-white pulp that covers the seeds, and has a slightly acid taste (FAO, 1987).
✅ Cupuassu uses
The cupuassu has been listed as one of the most promising fruits of the Amazon , being used in the production of juices, nectars, sweets, ice cream, jams, liqueurs, compotes, jellies and cupulate .
The economic value of Theobroma gandiflorum is linked to the fruit that can be marketed fresh or processed, the pulp being very fleshy in a ratio of 2 to 1 with respect to the seed.
The cupulate or chocoazú and other derivatives of the fruit
The fruit is almost never consumed directly, its derivatives being more in demand (FAO, 1987); The seed is also used to obtain intermediate products such as cupuaçu powder and lard , as well as the production of cupulate (which is a chocolate-like product with a hint of citrus) and others; the shell is used as organic fertilizer.
On the other hand, cosmetic products are made from the fruit, including shampoo , creams, lotions and soaps; the pulp is also used to make butter and oil with invaluable benefits for skin and hair.
✅ Nutritional value
The nutritional composition (Alimentos Andinos, 2020) for every 100 grams of cupuassu is:
- 315.0 kcal.;
- 11.4 g of carbohydrates;
- 0.30 g of saturated fats;
- 0.10 g of unsaturated fats; 0.8 g of protein;
- 1.70 grams of fiber; 0.50 g of iron;
- 331.0 mg of potassium; 21 mg of phosphorus;
- 390.0 mg of pectin; 13mg calcium;
- 0.05mg of vitamin B3;
- 26mg of vitamin C;
Thanks to its content of unsaturated fats and fiber, the consumption of cupuassu contributes to the protection of the cardiovascular system, avoiding high blood pressure, heart failure, heart disease and other related problems.
It also acts as an anti-inflammatory by applying a small layer of cupuaçu butter to the affected area. Likewise, its antioxidant power and the presence of vitamin C and contribution of Omega acids, allow to improve the immune system by providing protection against viruses and bacteria.
On the other hand, it is important to mention that the benefit process (fermentation, drying and roasting) of the cupuassu grains develops the so-called cupulate aroma and flavor precursors , increasing their quality.
Fermented grains have a higher content of polyphenols and a higher antioxidant power compared to those dry and roasted grains in which a loss between 39-45% is obtained, with respect to those subjected to the fermentation process (Galeano, Cuellar and Schinella, 2012).
✅ Cupuacu butter / Benefits for skin and hair
Copoazú butter (Copoazú Butter ) is white, soft and is made up of beneficial fatty acids for skin and hair hydration. Every 100 grams of this product contains:
- 1.7 grams of protein;
- 23mg calcium;
- 30 mcg of iron;
- 0.04mg of vitamin B1;
- 0.04 mg of vitamin B2 and
- 33 mg of vitamin C (Inkanat Peru, 2020);
It is an excellent emollient for the care of dry or damaged skin.
This product is 1.5 times more moisturizing than shea butter (Alimentos Andinos, 2020); It also protects against the damaging effects of the sun’s UV rays.
On the other hand, it is ideal for chapped lips, especially in cold weather areas; It also fights cell aging that causes wrinkles and other skin problems.
Likewise, a small dose of cupuaçu butter applied to the hair provides a natural softness to it; It also encourages its growth and favors its hydration thanks to the natural acids it contains.
✅ Cupuaçu harvest as an inclusive business.
From the cupuassu harvest , structural changes can be promoted that improve the quality of life in the territories, through the activation of:
- Territorial resources and their potentialities.
- Based on innovation.
- The productive transformation.
- The strengthening of institutions.
- Product valuation.
- Strategic alliances between the public and private sectors.
In addition to the inclusion of the most vulnerable population, to generate inclusive businesses as a business model capable of creating new jobs and diversifying income, reducing territorial inequalities with sustainability criteria.
Thus, cupuassu and its derivatives constitute elements of innovation, therefore it is pertinent that the actors develop a marketing plan to determine the viability of the projects beyond their economic dimension, responding to objectives such as:
- Identify viable products that are intended to be industrialized and marketed;
- Strengthen the infrastructure to support production;
- Train the beneficiary population, among others, to reduce poverty, especially in rural Amazonia (Chaparro and López, 2017).
- Andean Foods, 2020. Copoazú or Cupuacu, retrieved from http://www.alimentoandinoespaña.es .
- Chaparro, AA and Lopez, CE 2017. Cupuaçu and inclusive businesses, a socioeconomic strategy in Florencia-Caquetá. Cooperativism and Development , (12), September. (PDF)
- CORPOICA-Amazon Fund. 1996. The cultivation of cupuassu ( Theobroma grandiflorum ) in the Colombian Amazon foothills. Florence: regional CORPOICA 10. ( PDF )
- Gaelano, P., Cuella, L. and Schinella, G. 2012 . Influence of cupuassu ( Theobroma grandiflorum ) grain processing on antioxidant activity and phenolic content. Vitae , (19), pp.285-287. ( PDF )
- FAO. 1987. Forest species producing fruits and other foods. Rome: FAO. ( PDF )
- Inkanat Peru. 2020. Copoazú: Amazonian Super Fruit with extraordinary cosmetic and nutritional properties, retrieved from http://www.inkanat.com .
Economist (Central University of Venezuela). Full professor and researcher attached to the “Edgar Abreu Olivo” Agrifood Research Center, Universidad de Los Andes. Doctor from the University of La Laguna (Spain). Award “One of the 10 most consulted authors of the Saber ULA university portal” (2005); prize in the III Essay Contest of the Central Bank of Venezuela BCvoz Economico, 2016, with the work “Theobroma cacao: transformation and consumption of the “food of the gods” in Venezuela and the world” (co-authored).
February 13, 2020
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