In the Amazon, natives know what to look at to determine the grade of açai (the food): Its viscosity. The thicker, the better. Why? Because the thicker the açai is, the more açai fruit solids - and correspondingly less water - it contains. And, as all the nutrients of açai come from its solids (and not the added water, of course) the thicker the açai is, the more nutrition it offers.

The Brazilian Ministry of Agriculture has formalized this age-old Amazon wisdom by defining the grade of açai according to the amount of açai fruit solids it contains: Açai "fino" or "popular" (lower grade) must contain a minimum of 8% solids. Açai "médio" (middle grade) must contain a minimum of 11% solids and açai "grosso" or "especial" (thick, special grade) at least 14% solids - the rest, of course, being water.

In the US, the FDA does not yet oblige manufacturers to disclose how much açai fruit solids there is in their beverages. Also, it has not established precise quantitative guidelines for labeling a beverage "açai" in the way it does for "orange juice", for example. We believe that the three-tier system of the Brazilian government, which resumes the age-old standards of Amazon natives, provides a proven, simple and effective framework to do so. After all, if they don't know what açai is, who does?

Açai shops in the Amazon