Aronia berries, from Bosnia to Berlin
With support from the Swiss Import Promotion Programme (SIPPO), Bosnian company Tatarevich & Sons will be at Fruit Logistica this week looking for partners to buy its antioxidant-rich superfruit, the Aronia berry.
The group will join blueberry grower Šumski Plod as part of the Bosnian delegation supported by SIPPO, which is also supporting growers from Macedonia, South Africa, Peru and Colombia.
Click here for SIPPO's 2016 brochure with full descriptions of participating companies.
Tatarevich & Sons is still a fairly young company - it only started growing the fruit in 2012 - but has found positive demand in the domestic market.
"With the products we’ve produced people have been really satisfied with the health benefits, and that’s mainly the reason we’re going with this fruit since it’s fairly new, especially to the market here in Bosnia," said Meša Tatarević, son of owner Emin Tatarevich who moved back to his homeland with his family after 19 years living in the U.S.
"We were thinking for quite a long time about what to do, what to invest a bit of money in so we can have a nice life and provide for ourselves, and somehow give back to the community by employing people.
"We looked online and found out about Aronia berries, studied on that for quite a while and decided to go ahead with the project."
It was at a local trade fair in the town of Bihać that Tatarevich met SIPPO representative Boris Tadic in 2014, who introduced the family to the program.
"They said potentially we might be able to meet their qualifications – we sent a few emails back and forth, and the next summer they contacted us saying they’d be willing to come and visit the plantations, take a look at our operations.
"They came and took a look at everything and I think they were pretty satisfied for us being a small, family-run business.
"We were asked if we’d like to go to Fruit Logistica and we agreed because we’re looking for a marketplace, somewhere we can have guaranteed sales for our products so we don’t have to worry about putting it in coolers."
He said until now, the company was selling fresh fruit while it could, but as Bosnia is a smaller market the team has been freezing some of the fruit and processing the rest into juices, jams and teas.
"It’d be a lot easier to sell the fruit right away so we wouldn’t have to worry about that part so we could focus more on the growth of the berries.
"What people say is they’re kind of like where cranberries were 30 years ago with the marketplace. There’s high potential but the market isn’t fully ready for it yet, it’s still getting established, it’s building and growing. It’s quite useful – it has a lot of antioxidants and really good health benefits."
Tatarevich said if the company were to gain an import partner, the aim would be to expand the business.
"There’s a certain amount of people who are also growing Aronia berries here in Bosnia & Herzegovina , and we’d be possibly able to partner up with them."