A new superfood – black raspberries that have been grown in Britain – will go on sale today.
The variety, which has been named Mac Black, apparently has a more intense flavour than traditional red varieties.
Perhaps more importantly, it is also said to include relatively high levels of compounds which scientists have identified as helping to prevent cancer.
The Mac Blacks are rich in ellagic acid, anthocyanins and antioxidants, and have been called the ‘king of berries’ for their superior health benefits.
Antioxidants are said to help destroy free radicals, the harmful molecules which gather in the body and can damage cells.
Studies at Ohio State University have found significant decreases in colon tumours in rats and oesophageal tumours in mice fed a diet with black raspberries.
Studies have shown that extracts of raspberries and blackberries may slow the growth of breast, cervical, colon and oesophageal cancers.
Clinical trials have begun to assess the effects of black raspberries on colon and oesophageal cancers in humans. The new fruit is as juicy as a blackberry but has the texture and sweetness of a raspberry.
Mac Black raspberries originate from North America and were brought over to the UK five years ago by the UK’s biggest berry growers Hall Hunter, near Twyford, Berkshire.
It has taken since then to propagate and generate commercial volumes. However, the price of health and novelty is far from cheap, for a small 125g punnet comes in at £2.
The Mac Blacks are being grown exclusively for Tesco. Its soft fruit buyer, James Waddy, said: ‘Berries have had a lot of great publicity over the last few years because of their supposed great health qualities and since then we’ve seen demand rise each year.
‘However, this year we have had perfect growing conditions with the warmest spring start for more than 20 years which has made the fruit especially juicy.
‘We think the Mac Black could become a future star among berries and one day may even be more popular than the traditional red variety.’