Hortifrut's Brazilian arm enjoying 30% berry sales growth
The Brazilian sales arm of Chile-headquartered Hortifrut is experiencing tremendous annual sales growth with berries, as new distribution channels are opened up and consumers become more familiar with the fruit.
Speaking to www.freshfruitportal.com at last week's PMA Fresh Connections: Brazil held in Sao Paulo, Berry Good category coordinator Arlete Bombassei said consumers' knowledge of berries was extremely limited when sales first began around 2007.
The event was attended by a large number of Brazilian produce industry actors, and featured educational talks on topics like market dynamics and how companies can boost sales.
"When Berry Good started sales of blueberries back then, nobody was familiar with them at all," Bombassei said, adding strawberries were the only berry crop that had a 'culture of consumption.'
"We really had to push to raise awareness about them and develop the berry industry here in Brazil. With time our clients and distributors started to learn more about the fruit and the value that could be added on, so volumes really started to pick up."
Around three years ago Berry Good began its own production of blackberries, raspberries and strawberries in the southeastern state of Minas Gerais - just to the north of Sao Paulo. The fruit is then distributed throughout the Portuguese-speaking country.
Blueberries continue to be imported from other countries, Bombassei said.
Despite consumers' lack of knowledge of berries in general just a few years ago, Bombassei said sales were growing at a rapid pace.
"This year in general we are seeing sales growth in excess of 30%," she said.
"This is because nowadays Brazilians are getting much more accustomed to the idea of consuming berries, largely due to the health benefits they provide.
"In addition, we are continuing to open up new distribution channels, like foodservice, hotels, and ice cream shops."
Berry Good is also planning to open up two more commercial sales offices in Brazil, which will be based in the northeast and central east of the country.
"This year the aim is to expand out distribution channels throughout the country," Bombassei said.
"Today we manage everything from Sao Paulo, but these new offices will have our own commercial sales teams, and we will be doing all our own logistics as well.
"We have big plans for the future. There is huge room for growth with berries in Brazil, and a large population to supply."