Within the past year, a new food trend has flooded Instagram feeds across the United States. From fitness trainers to actresses, photos of beautifully crafted acai (ah-sah-EE) bowls have graced countless Instagram accounts. Starting this year, Ohio University joined the trend as well.
The recently renovated West 82 food court now features an acai cart where students can order their own acai bowls. Each bowl begins with a frozen smoothie-like base, featuring acai berries from the Sambazon company.
Grown in the Amazon Rainforest, these dark purple berries are sweet and full of nutrients. According to the Sambazon website, the berries are packed with antioxidants. Acai berries are known to promote heart health as well as promoting energy levels. Sambazon berries, specifically, are also USDA Organic, non-GMO, vegan and gluten free and are fair trade approved.
Customers have the option to choose up to four toppings to compliment their acai. Fresh fruit is the most commonly picked topping, according to West 82 employees. From tangy blueberries and pineapples, to sweet strawberries and bananas, there’s a flavor for everyone.
The second half of the cart is dedicated solely to granola, nuts and seeds. One of these ingredients is generally added in addition to the fruit to give the sweet bowl a bit of a lightly salted crunch.
“I like acai bowls because they’re fresh and the fresh fruit compliments the taste of the acai. Plus, they’re healthy,” says Devan Murphy, a freshman pharmacy major.
In addition to the health benefits of acai, the Sambazon production and selling of this berry creates a direct positive impact on the culture and society of the Amazon Rainforest. Sambazon began in 1999 and since then has only continued to grow.
Over 20,000 family farmers are employed by Sambazon and an additional 25,000 Amazon locals work with the company to build schools and a stronger community. Acai bowl consumers can enjoy this sweet snack guilt-free, knowing each product purchased from Sambazon is going to a greater cause.
Each bowl at West 82 varies in price, ranging from $3-5 depending on how many toppings are in the bowl itself. Located on the first floor of Baker Center, the acai cart not only gives students a healthier, fresher meal option, but is also a quick alternative to waiting in line at dining halls. From Brazil and now to Athens, acai bowls continue to make a positive impact.