Berlin based company “Berlin Organics” will soon launch Germany’s first organic sports drink, made with baobab powder that has been sustainably and ethically sourced through direct trade. Together with dried coconut water, baobab makes for the perfect sports drink, delivering electrolytes and energy. The drink powder can be turned into a refreshing drink by just adding water.
The first organic sports drink
BAOWOW Hydration is Germany’s first organic sports drink. BAOWOW Hydration’s key point of difference is its source of its electrolytes: organic baobab powder and organic coconut water powder. This makes it a natural alternative to common sports drinks.
The baobab (Adansonia digitata) is an iconic tree, which is mainly found in hot and dry regions of Africa. Baobab fruit powder has been consumed by people in Africa for centuries. As a novel food, until recently it could not be imported into the EU. However, now that baobab has passed all European testing, it can finally be incorporated into products and marketed in the EU.
Baobab is an “underutilised species” – a plant that traditionally has not been commercialised or that only has a small or limited market. Commercialisation of underutilised species such as baobab offers particular benefits to poor people, particularly women. As baobab grows in very dry and remote areas of Africa with low agricultural productivity, it sometimes is the only significant source of income. There, baobab complements conventional food crops, gives competitive advantage to local producers, and increases family income. Traditionally, the women are in charge of those additional incomes.
Organic Baobab – sourced from inclusive businesses
Berlin Organics sources its baobab powder for BAOWOW Hydration from Zimbabwe, where it is grown and harvested sustainably and traded ethically. Approximately 3,500 families in the Chimanimani region in South-Eastern Zimbabwe directly benefit from selling baobab. The baobab trees grow wild and are owned by the local population. During the harvesting period, which in Zimbabwe runs from May to September, harvesters roam the surrounding region to collect the baobab fruits. After the harvest, the baobab fruits are sold to a local baobab processor, where the fruits are cracked open and the dry fruit pulp is milled into a fine powder. Farmers are paid cash on the spot. This provides local families with a much needed additional income, which, for example, they can use to pay school fees. Their earnings from 10 kg of baobab powder is enough additional income to cover a child’s school fees for a whole year.
Only the fruits and seeds are commercialized, and not the leaves, bark or wood of the trees. This ensures that the baobab commercialisation is sustainable, and contributes to conserving the trees. Furthermore, BAOWOW’s local baobab producer is a member of PhytoTrade Africa, a natural product trade association in Southern Africa that is specifically dedicated to the sustainable use and ethical trade of natural products.
Organic Superfoods from direct trade
Berlin Organics only processes organically grown raw materials and carefully selects its suppliers. The company pays specific attention to the origin of the raw materials and strives to source as much of those raw materials through direct trade as possible. Direct trade is based on mutual trust and fairness between the producers in the countries of origin and the importers. By cutting out unnecessary stages of the value chain, direct trade benefits the producers – who receive more of the value of their raw materials – and importers – who can ensure that the raw materials they purchase are trustworthy and of top quality.
Berlin Organics is partly funding this project via a startnext.com crowdfunding campaign. The campaign site can be found on: www.startnext.com/berlinorganics