Brazil's exotic Amazonian fruit winning over Russia

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Brazil's exotic Amazonian fruit winning over Russia

Brazil's exotic Amazon açaí berries are proving a hit among health-conscious Russians, newspaper Russian Gazette reported.

The fruit has high levels of antioxidant anthocyanins as well as vitamins, minerals, essential fatty acids and phytosterols.

It is already popular as a dried health product in the U.S. and Europe.

Açaí is now on the verge of breaking into the Russian market having sold two metric tons (MT) of the dried fruit within the first six months of export, the story reported.

Russian businesswoman Maria Lôbova was keen to import the fruit after hearing about its benefits.

Lôbova teamed up with food exporter Liotécnica which operates in the U.S., Cuba, Cape Verde,  Europe and Japan.

Liotécnica export manager Zuleica Costa, told the newspaper the company was prepared to take on any potential administrative headaches.

"An export to the U.S., for example, involves just three or four documents. But not so in Russia," Costa was quoted as saying.

It took almost four months to get all the documents required by Russian agencies.

"In addition, I consulted a leading expert in Russia, who evaluated the product and endorsed it," Costa added.

Another challenge was that the açaí berry resembled a Russian cranberry, known as a tchernika.

Lôbova, however, was able to prove that the açaí had twelve times the level of health benefits distinguishing it from the tchernika, the story reported.

She said health food chains and internet collective buying sites have been key channels for selling the dried fruit.

"We sent 5000 packages in our first three days of sales on the internet. It was crazy."

Lôbova's next challenge is to make the fruit more widely available in other cities apart from Moscow.


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