This checklist will help you find the best cranberry powder out there very quickly. When buying something, especially something premium, you want to feel that you made the right choice. Even more so when it comes to something that should nourish your body, such as a cranberry powder. Because we understand the importance of such a decision, we did the hard work for you. Below we provide a list of the 10 most important things you should pay attention to when evaluating cranberry powders that are available in the market.
Wild vs. cultivated
The quality of an edible food product is predominantly defined by the quality of ingredients it consists of. Cranberry powder is not any different. To begin with, it is important to understand that not all cranberries are the same as not all people are the same. In fact, there are two main native species (aka wild species), the Vaccinium macrocarpon that grows in North America, and the Vaccinium oxycoccus that grows in Europe. In addition to that, there are more than 100 varieties that are mainly a product of genetic editing of the two main wild species. These species are usually patented and mostly found in the United States, Canada, and the UK. Although genetic editing aims to create a new variety that is bigger in size, or has better color, or is a bit sweeter, wild-grown cranberries are still the ones with the highest nutritional value.
Recommendation: Choose a wild cranberry powder.
Powder from whole berries vs. parts of berries
Cranberry powder can be made of either the whole berry that includes the skin, flesh, and seeds, or just parts of it such as the skin leftovers or the juice. It is important to know that the best cranberry powders are made of the whole cranberries. The reason is that most of the antioxidants (i.e., proanthocyanins) in cranberries are coming from the skin. In addition, the fiber is coming from the seeds and other nutrients such as essential vitamins and minerals are coming from the flesh. We provide more detailed information about cranberry’s nutritional value (and how it compares to lingonberry) in our blog post here. In conclusion, to get the highest nutritional value for your buck, choose a cranberry powder that comes from whole berries instead of skin or juice only. You can also check what are the best cranberry products in our blog post here.
Recommendation: Choose a cranberry powder that is made of whole berries.
Country of origin
If you ask anyone whether they would prefer eating cranberries that grow in areas known for their clean and unpolluted nature, or from areas known for their heavy industry and polluted air, soil, and waters, the answer would be obvious.
Most of the products, especially the ones that come in the form of pills or mixed with other ingredients, do not specify the country of origin for each of the ingredients. We, therefore, recommend that you buy products that specify their country of origin and support the ones that come from countries you trust that their nature is clean and unpolluted. Examples of such countries are Finland, Sweden, Canada, etc. On the contrary, we recommend that you avoid products coming from countries like China, India, Poland, and other countries with heavy industry and with present issues with water and air pollution.
Berries that grow in the Northern countries (e.g., Finland, Sweden, Canada) have a much higher nutritional value than berries from other countries because of their unique climate. The cool temperatures and the long summer days under the Arctic sun provide the ideal conditions for cranberries to produce much higher concentrations of antioxidants and other nutrients. This is the main reason why these berries are darker in color, have much more intense taste, and are usually smaller in size.
Recommendation: Choose a cranberry powder with a country of origin you trust for their clean environment and for one that has a cool climate such as Finland, Sweden, and Canada.
Organic vs. Conventional
Organic products are on the rise recently mainly because of the issues that modern large-scale agriculture created. However, it is important to understand what organic label means, and when it makes a difference.
Briefly, an organic product is one that was cultivated without pesticides, antibiotics, or came from a genetically modified plant. So, you can immediately understand that any of 100 or more genetically modified cranberry varieties mainly used in the United States and Canada do not qualify as organic products.
On the other hand, when buying a wild product, the organic label does not really apply, or it is not necessary because of the following reasons. Firstly, the berries are not farmed but have been growing wild in their natural environment – the forest. Secondly, pesticides are never used when a product grows wild in nature, nor does a fertilizer is used as the forest provides the best natural fertilizers. Thus, having organic certification adds no value in this case. In Finland for example, all forests could be classified as organic, however, because they are not cultivated, they cannot get official certification, as they are wild natural forests.
When buying cranberry powder made of farmed cranberries, organic is a safer and cleaner option. On the other hand, when buying a wild product, choosing a country of origin known for its clean environment is your best option.
Recommendation: If you buy wild berry powder, the country of origin is more important than organic certification. If your berry powder is made of farmed berries, go for organic.
Ingredients – 100% whole berries vs. additives and preservatives
The ingredient list of a cranberry powder can reveal a lot about its quality. Many products in the market use preservatives, added sugars, sweeteners, or colorants, which is a sign of lower quality cranberry powder. These additives are typically used to improve the taste, color, smell, and extend the shelf life of a lower quality product.
The best quality cranberry powders are made of 100% berries and nothing else. If other ingredients are listed on the package, please pay attention to it and please keep in mind that the order each ingredient is listed on the package, reveals its rank by weight in decreasing order. For example, if the ingredient list shows “sugar cane juice, cranberries, and citric acid”, it means that in the biggest by volume ingredient in this product is sugar cane juice followed by cranberries followed by citric acid. What you would lie to buy instead is a product that has only one ingredient on the list, whole cranberries.
Another thing to look for is whether the powder was made using the freeze-drying method. This method preserves the powder in the best way and provides at least two years of shelve life for your powder, which makes the use of additional preservatives unnecessary.
Recommendation: Choose a cranberry powder that has one ingredient only: whole cranberries.
Color, aroma & taste
The best cranberry powder will have a vivid pinkish color by nature and without the need for additional artificial colorants. The aroma of a high-quality cranberry powder is fruity, and it should smell like fresh cranberries! If you know about cranberries, just by smelling the powder you will be able to tell about its quality immediately. If the cranberry powder does not smell like much, chances are high it will not taste like much. Just for the record, good quality cranberry powder should taste a bit tangy and sour and by no means should it taste sweet. If it does, then you can conclude with 100% certainty that it has added sugar. On the other hand, tasteless cranberry powder may be an indication of low-quality cranberries used, an old product, or a low-quality processing method.
Recommendation: Choose a cranberry powder with a naturally bright pink color, intense smell, and a bold taste such as this of fresh cranberries.
How cranberries are processed into becoming a powder plays a critical role in its quality. Simply put, cranberry powder is made by drying the fresh berries and then grinding them into powder. However, there are different drying methods, which makes a big difference in the quality, taste, fragrance, and nutritional value of the cranberry powder.
Many companies use a drying method based on heat, something that reduces the quality and nutritional value of the berries. In addition, the color, taste, and aroma of the berries are also altered when using the heat-drying method mainly because most of the chemical structure of the nutrients is broken. On the other hand, there is the freeze-drying method, which is considered the best and maintains the characteristics (physical and chemical) and unique nutritional value of cranberries to the maximum possible. If you are interested in the processing methods, read our blog on how is what is freeze-dried blueberry powder.
Recommendation: Choose a freeze-dried cranberry powder.
The best way to package cranberry powder is in an air-sealed package that also protects the powder from the light. Light, and especially sunlight, may change the flavor, aroma, and color of cranberry powder. Some companies sell berry powders in transparent bags, which look nice and inviting. However, this will have an immediate impact on the quality of the cranberry powder once exposed to light.
Recommendation: Choose a cranberry powder in airtight packaging that protects the powder from the light.
We all feel good when we get a good deal, but let’s be honest, most of the time price is an indicator of quality. If you find a cranberry powder that is much cheaper than any other comparable product out there, it is most likely of questionable quality or it is mass-produced in an industrial way, which has an immediate impact on its nutritional value. Another reason that can push cranberry powder prices down, is by mixing it with sugars or other filler ingredients. In this case, you end up paying a very cheap ingredient (e.g. sugar) at the price of cranberry and you get a product that is not 100% from whole berries. As we explained above, it is very important to check the ingredients list before buying anything.
Overall, powders made from properly grown or wild cranberries will always be more expensive than mass-produced and farmed berries. Another reason why a cranberry powder can be more expensive than others is that they are coming from countries with unpolluted environments, they have an organic certification, or they are made of wild berries. All these factors are important to ensure the best quality of your product, but for obvious reasons, they come at a higher cost. In conclusion, when it comes to cranberry powders, a lower price means lower quality and therefore lower nutritional value for the product you buy.
Recommendation: Do not let price be the only factor behind your cranberry powder decision – you will regret it. Know what goes into pricing and be aware of the quality of the product before making your purchase. Go for the best overall deal and not for the cheapest deal.
Who should you trust when it comes to finding the best product in the market? People who have already tried it are usually a good starting point! If a previous customer has written a review of the product you are interested in, give it a read. Often by skimming through the review of a product you may be convinced (or not) that this is high quality or a good value for money product.
Recommendation: Choose a cranberry powder with positive customer reviews.
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That concludes our list of 10 important things you need to pay attention to when looking for the best cranberry powder out there. There are endless options in the market, but we hope with these tips you will now be able to quickly distinguish the good from the bad deals for you.
If you wonder why we put this list together, the reason is simple. We at Arctic Flavors are extremely passionate about cranberry powder and we are proud of offering the highest possible quality in the market! That is a bold statement, but we really believe it.
Before launching Arctic Flavors, we spent a full year researching and tasting different berry powders to really understand what differentiates best quality powders from the rest. You would be surprised about how much difference there is in quality between different products.
We did all the hard work for you and selected the highest quality of cranberry powder out there. The only thing we ask in return is your trust in trying our products. We guarantee you will notice the difference in quality immediately. Arctic Flavors’ wild cranberry powder comes from 100% wild berries from the forests of Finland that are made to powder with the method of freeze-drying. We hope you will love it as much as we do! If you are interested in adding this powder in your nutrition, please visit our Arctic Flavors Online Shop.