Gold Coast goes crazy for Acai

24 Mar
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FORTY TWO 20 cafe in Burleigh, barista and waiter Bennett Epiha shows off his 23rd bowl of the day. Picture: Robyn Fairbairn

By Robyn Fairbairn, Bond University Journalism student

People on the Gold Coast are going crazy for Acai bowls, with 72,100 followers of the acaibowlss Instagram page and its colourful pictures of the trending breakfast food.

The acai (ah-sigh-ee) berry is a grape-like fruit harvested from the rainforests of South America.

Acai bowls are frozen acai pulp mixed with fruits and berries and topped usually with granola, banana and coconut.

Barista at Burleigh Heads Mowbray kiosk, Millie Clout said the normal price for a decent sized bowl is $12 and she makes on average 200 Acai bowls a weekend and about 50 on a weekday.

Ms Clout said the trend began about two years ago and she thought people were obsessed with Acai bowls because of the health epidemic.

“Everyday countless people come in their active wear and order Acai bowls,” Ms Clout said. “I usually serve the same people on a weekly basis, who always come in for their standard Acai bowl brekky.”

She said the Acai bowl was probably the healthiest thing on their menu and fuelling their increasing popularity because of their exotic aesthetic.

“If Acai bowls weren’t so visually attractive they wouldn’t be so popular, so in this case I almost believe the aesthetics of the bowls trumps the actual taste,” she said.

New Zealand tourist and customer at Burleigh Heads Mowbray kiosk, Mark Trimble said he was obsessed with Acai bowls and gets ‘Acai cravings’ at least three times a week.

“I had never heard of them until I came to Australia and now every single café I see sells them and every second street has a purple Acai flag on the side of the road,” Mr Trimble said.

“I can’t escape them.”

Mr Trimble said he liked them because they were refreshing and filling.

“Kind of like a thick fruity smoothie but far better,” he said.

He said he hadn’t posted a picture of an Acai bowl on social media yet but plenty of his friends have started to.

FORTY TWO 20 kitchen staff member and waitress, Ruby Crawshaw said she believes the Acai bowl trend is linked to social media.

“I always see customers taking pictures of their Acai bowls, and I assume they would share this on some sort of social network platform as it has become trendy to eat Acai bowls,” Ms Crawshaw said.

She said café FORTY TWO 20 had been selling them for two years now and she made between 20 and 40 each day.

She said she believed the trend would last for a while because it had only just started gaining momentum and more and more people were hash-tagging acaibowlss on Instagram.

“It’s mainly the youth that order them, so people ages 15 onwards that are really invested in social media,” she said.

Full time journalist at the Gold Coast Bulletin, Emily Selleck, who writes for the paper’s lifestyle and trending section, said the Acai bowl craze aligned with increased usage of Instagram and was born out of the stereotyped ‘healthy Gold Coast lifestyle’.

“This trend is a perfect combination of both being a super food and creating Insta worthy pics, which is why they are so popular,” she said.

“People associate the Gold Coast with things such as being fit, healthy or relaxed and the Acai bowl fits that image.”

She said just like the chia seed, kale and veganism trends the Acai bowl movement would continue to develop but there would always be something new on the market.

“People are always looking for something fresh and already on Instagram I have seen people posting pictures of Pitaya bowls which are believed to be a branch off the Acai bowl,” she said.

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