Berry tasty Scotland

photo of Annie Anderson

Strawberries and raspberries may be a key ingredient in helping to prevent Scotland's disease profile according to Professor Annie Anderson in the department of epidemiology and public health.

Professor Anderson is a member of the Berry Scotland Programme Board which has brought together health experts, plant breeders, food industrialists, marketers and growers to work out how consumption of Scottish soft fruit can be increased in Scotland.

Identifying key bioactive compounds in soft fruits, and estimating their impact on disease risk and finding ways to incorporate fruit within the food chain are the key challenges for the group to address. From yoghurts to puree or even berry lollies - the Berry Scotland Board want to help facilitate an increase in consumption of easily available, affordable softfruit in Scotland.

Soft fruit is known to have considerable health benefits including antioxidant properties from components such as flavinoids. Being a Scottish crop - the health and economy of Scotland could be considerably improved by higher intake of raspberries, strawberries and blackcurrants eaten in many different ways.

The Scottish Executive has granted funding to support a scientific co-ordinator for identifying and coo-co-ordinating research knowledge and gaps in this field and to facilitate developments between growers and consumers. The co-ordinator will work for two years with research scientists liaising with food product developers to identify how berry consumption can be increased.

Professor Annie Anderson said: "Soft fruit is currently marketed at the Marks and Spencers, tennis lovers end of the market, is seen as exclusive and is expensive to buy. Soft fruit is a Scottish crop that is nutritious with great health benefits and can be an everyday item without being an expensive luxury ingredient. As well as exporting our fruit, the Berry Scotland Board wants to encourage people to make it part of their daily diets so it becomes a regular Scottish staple food.

Caption Professor Anderson tucks into a bowl of goodness. Photo courtesy of Fotopress, Dundee.

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