The potential of South African plants in the development of new food and beverage products

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112 Citations (Scopus)


A review is presented of the history and recent trends in the exploration and development of food plants in southern Africa. The opportunities for developing new crops and new products for local and international markets are discussed. More than 120 species with potential as new food and beverage products (including functional foods, herbal teas and new flavours) are listed and a subjective rating of the commercial potential is provided for each of them. Some noteworthy examples are discussed and illustrated, including several indigenous fruits and vegetables that are as yet poorly known. There is a growing awareness of the importance of indigenous plants in new product development and numerous new products are already being developed. Basic research in botany (to guide genotype selection), horticulture (to develop new crops), food science (to focus on nutritional analyses) and marketing (to understand and develop new marketing approaches) is mentioned as important priorities.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)857-868
Number of pages12
JournalSouth African Journal of Botany
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - Oct 2011


  • Beverages
  • Botanical diversity
  • Commercial potential
  • Food plants
  • Fruit flavours
  • Health foods
  • New products
  • Research and development

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Plant Science


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