Goji berries (also called wolf berries) are native to the Himalayan Mountains of Tibet and Mongolia. In Asia, especially in China - goji berries have been consumed for generations for their nutritional benefits. The western consumers are also beginning to accept the fruit into their diets. Dried goji berries, looking like raisins, are consumed today as a healthy snack mixed with cereals, oatmeal, yogurts or in combination with raw nuts. They also contain a multitude of vitamins, antioxidants and low caloric levels which have all been shown to benefit health.
For hundreds of years, goji was harvested at high altitudes and the only available and possible preservation method in those conditions was drying. However the advances in freezing technologies have led to a new trend in the goji processing: IQF frozen goji berries.
By IQF freezing goji, the original taste and shape of the berries is preserved allowing consumers to discover a very different berry.
OctoFrost claims that, through IQF freezing, resalers can expect more profit as well, due to the volume increase during freezing. Further, they claim the frozen variety offer 1% to 8% more profitability.
The product can be a bit tricky when it comes to picking it, however increasingly more technologies are available for that part as well. In terms of pre-processing, goji berries are usually washed at the farm and pre-cooled in a cold storage before being frozen. The goal of the pre-cooling is to decrease the product’s temperature down to +5C – the lower the temperature before freezing the better freezing capacity. The frozen goji might obviously be a bit more fragile than dried, however it gives another valuable business benefit: stem preservation. Receiving the product with the stem intact can give the fruit a more natural look to some consumers.