Acai berries and acai bowls seem to have shot up in popularity out of nowhere in recent times. Of course, that's not exactly the case.
If you want to skip pass the history lesson and get straight into the acai, we recommend The Summer Acai for all your acai wants and needs as well as Cold Flings for your late-night acai cravings!
Now, let's take a deep dive into acai berries and how they have come to be such a popular fruit.
A Brief History
Acai as we know it first starts off as acai berries. Acai berries come from the Amazon forest and are mainly seen in its frozen pulp form because the berries start to ferment as soon as they are harvested. Some of the minerals the berries carry are unique to the Amazonian soil and cannot be found elsewhere. If you want to find out more about the history of acai, check out our blog post that covers not only the origins of acai but also the different kinds that are found on the market.
increasing global interest
Acai was introduced in western countries around the 1990's but they only truly started to grow in popularity with the rise of social media in the 2000's and 2010's. Acai bowls became popular with influencers mainly because of their aesthetic designs and their status as a superfood. It was during this time that health and wellness was taking the world, and social media, by storm. Many health centered influencers started to promote it as a healthy alternative to desserts. Some celebrities like Gwyneth Paltrow and Meghan Markle have even shared their own recipes for acai bowls on social media, which prompted people all over the internet to test them out.
As of writing, #acai on Instagram alone has over 3 million posts and #acaibowl has over 2 million(that's a lot of acai bowls). Although acai is not a new craze by any means, it definitely is not a dying one either. You can see the proof when you look around you, it sometimes feels like every mall in Singapore has at least one acai store. Hmm, how did that happen I wonder?
acai in Singapore
Acai-focused cafes started popping up in Singapore around 2015 to 2016. Thanks to acai's strong social media presence, teenagers and young adults were drawn to these cafes to see what all the hype was about. You see, before these cafes popped up, the only way to try these acai bowls that were plastered all over the internet was to either go to another country or to import them from those countries (so you can see why people were glad to have stores right here in Singapore). This popularity then allowed these businesses to open up new outlets all over the country. It also encouraged even more people to start their own acai businesses and overseas acai businesses to open outlets in Singapore.
What started as an interest in a trend became something more long-lasting over time. People tried them, liked them, and continued enjoying them. Acai bowls have become so wide-spread in Singapore that they are no longer just a trendy dessert, they are something that many Singaporeans have taken to eating on a regular basis just like they would with any other dessert or snack.
From the remote Amazon forests to loud bustling cities, these acai berries have traveled far, not only physically but also in their outreach to people around the world. While the rise of acai can be attributed to social media, the fact that it still remains popular worldwide comes from its own qualities as a delicious yet nutritious addition to anyone's diet. The next time you have an acai bowl, why not take a minute to reflect on its history and its journey to get to where it is today.
If you want to try out acai on your own at home, we recommend buying Gratefood Co's organic acai pulp to blend it with your favourite fruit. We have some recipes and videos on our Instagram page @gratefoodco for your reference or you may follow @the_scientific_chef for some interesting blends!