Ingredient Insight: Cactus

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Indian fig opuntia is more commonly referred to as prickly pear. It can be easily identified by its broad flat green pads with barbed hairs (glochids). Grown in United States, Mexico, South America, Africa, Australia, and the Mediterranean, this trendy new ingredient can now be found in many beverages. The cactus beverage market could be set for an increase with plant-based water sales predicted to double by 2020, due to the amount of high nutrition they can provide, as well as remaining sustainable and lower in sugar than other soft drink alternatives. The key markets for cactus water are North America, Europe, China, Japan, Southeast Asia and India.

From water to wine

Cactus might not have overtaken coconut water yet, but it can also be found in a variety of products other than water, from energy drinks to tea. Flavour pairs include: kiwi and guava, lime and ginger, peach, green tea and cucumber, green tea and starfruit. Cactus is also making its appearance in beer, cider, gin and even in wine.


Cactus contains five naturally-occurring electrolytes, vitamins, minerals and rare antioxidants. It has also been proven to relieve the symptoms of a hangover (Tulane Health Sciences Center, Dr. Jeff Wiese, 2004) as it can diminish your body’s inflammatory response. It can also lower blood sugar, as well as fight free radical damage, damage from UV/UB rays and pollution due to taurine which is naturally found in the plant.

How we can help?

We have developed a Cactus Treattarome® from our prickly pear variety grown in Peru. It is harvested late December to January, once the redish, purple fruit is bursting with ripeness. To find out how we can support your formulation development with our ingredients or any other flavour, please email for more information.