This checklist will help you find the best cranberry powder out there very quickly. When buying something, especially of premium quality, you want to feel that you made the right choice. Because we understand the importance of such a decision, we did the hard work for you. Below we provide a list of the ten most important things to pay attention to when evaluating cranberry powders.
1. Wild vs. cultivated
The quality of ingredients predominantly defines the quality of an edible food product. Cranberry powder is not any different. First, it is essential to understand that not all cranberries are the same, as not all people are the same. There are two main native species (i.e., wild species). The first is the Vaccinium macrocarpon that grows in North America. The second is the Vaccinium oxycoccus that grows in Europe. More than 100 varieties are mainly a product of genetic editing (GMO) 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, 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 product.
2. Powder from whole berries vs. parts of berries
Cranberry powder comprises 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 essential to know that only premium quality whole cranberries guarantee premium quality cranberry powders. The reason is that most of the antioxidants (i.e., proanthocyanins) in cranberries come from the skin. Also, the fiber comes from the seeds, and other nutrients such as essential vitamins and minerals come 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 product that comes from whole berries.
3. Country of origin
If you ask anyone whether they would prefer eating cranberries that grow in pure and unpolluted nature or regions known for their heavy industry and polluted nature, the answer is obvious.
Most of the products do not specify their country of origin. Let alone products that contain more than one ingredient. Therefore, we recommend that you only buy products that define their country of origin. This way, you support the companies that are transparent and proud of the quality of their products. Examples of countries with clean nature are Finland, Sweden, Canada, etc. On the contrary, we recommend avoiding products coming from countries like China, India, Poland. The main reason is the presence of 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 cold temperatures and the long summer days under the Arctic sun provide the ideal conditions for cranberries to produce much higher antioxidants and other nutrients. As a result, these berries are darker in color, have a much more intense taste, and are usually smaller.
Recommendation: Choose a product with a country of origin you trust for their clean environment and for one that has a cold climate, such as Finland, Sweden, and Canada.
4. Organic vs. Conventional
Organic products are on the rise recently, mainly because of the issues that modern large-scale agriculture created. However, it is crucial to understand what an organic label means and when it makes a difference. Briefly, an organic product grows without pesticides, antibiotics, and is not a GMO plant. Therefore, you can immediately understand that any of the 100 or more GMO cranberry varieties 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 apply, or it is not necessary for the following reasons. Firstly, the wild berries only grow in their natural environment – the forest. Secondly, they do not need pesticides or fertilizers as the forest provides the best environment for them. Thus, having organic certification adds no value in this case. In Finland, for example, the authorities could classify all forests as organic; however, because they are wild, they cannot get official certification, as they are wild natural forests.
When buying a cranberry powder from conventional (not wild) cranberries, choosing organic is a safer and cleaner option. On the other hand, when purchasing a wild product, choosing a country of origin known for the pristine environment is your best choice.
Recommendation: If you buy wild berry powder, the country of origin is more important than organic certification. If your berry powder comes from farmed berries, go for organic.
5. Ingredients – 100% whole berries vs. additives and preservatives
The ingredient list of a cranberry powder reveals a lot about its quality. Many companies use preservatives, sugars, sweeteners, or colorants, which is a sign of a lower quality cranberry powder. The main reason for using additives is to improve the taste, color, smell and extend the shelf life of a lower quality product.
The best quality cranberry powders come from 100% berries and nothing else. If you spot other ingredients on the package, please pay attention to it. The order of each ingredient 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 the biggest by volume ingredient in this product is sugar cane juice followed by cranberries followed by citric acid. What you would like to buy instead is a product with only one ingredient on the list, whole cranberries.
Another thing to look for is whether the processing method of the powder was freeze-drying. This method preserves the powder in the best way and provides at least two years of shelve life, making the use of additional preservatives unnecessary.
Recommendation: Choose a product that has one ingredient only: whole cranberries.
6. Color, aroma & taste
The best cranberry powder will have a vivid pinkish color by nature without 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 indicate low-quality cranberries, an old product, or a low-quality processing method.
Recommendation: Choose a product with a naturally bright pink color, intense smell, and a bold taste such as this of fresh cranberries.
7. Drying method
How cranberries are processed into becoming a powder plays a critical role in its quality. Put merely; cranberry powder is made by drying the fresh berries and then grinding them into powder. However, different drying methods make a big difference in the quality, taste, fragrance, and nutritional value of the cranberry powder.
Many companies use a drying method based on heat, which reduces the berries’ quality and nutritional value. Also, the color, taste, and aroma of the berries change when using the heat-drying method. The main reason is that most of the nutrients’ chemical structure breaks. On the other hand, the freeze-drying process 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 powder.
The best way to package cranberry powder is in an air-sealed package that 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 friendly and inviting. However, this will have an immediate impact on the cranberry powder’s quality 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. Suppose you find a cranberry powder that is much cheaper than any other comparable product out there. In that case, 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 cranberry price, and you get a product that is not 100% from whole berries. As we explained above, it is essential 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. A cranberry powder can be more costly than others because they come from countries with unpolluted environments, have an organic certification, or come from wild berries. All these factors are important to ensure the best quality of your product, but they come at a higher cost for obvious reasons. 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 with these tips, we hope you will now be able to distinguish the good from the bad deals for you quickly.
If you wonder why we put this list together, the reason is simple. We at Arctic Flavors are incredibly passionate about cranberry powder, and we are proud of offering the highest possible quality in the market! That is a bold statement, but we believe it. Before launching Arctic Flavors, we spent a full year researching and tasting different berry powders to understand what differentiates the best quality powders from the rest. You would be surprised about how much difference there is in quality between other products.
We did all the hard work for you and selected the highest quality 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 processed with freeze-drying. We hope you will love it as much as we do! If you are interested in adding this powder to your nutrition, please visit our Arctic Flavors Online Shop.