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Further north of Belem do Para, a palm bears a curious fruit that has become very popular: the açaí berry. The fruit, which looks like a purple-ish blueberry, is practically 100% Brazilian. 90% of the fruit sold around the world is harvested in the capital of Para, where its terroir provides the berry’s delicious flavor. Despite its Brazilian roots, the United States is one of the biggest consumers of acai in the world.

Estados Unidos, a Fancy Food Show, na Califórnia, foi um sucesso. A estratégia de marketing se concentra no visual merchandising e na degustação dos produtos dentro dos supermercados. “Hoje, redes como Whole Foods, Milano, Fresh Market e Publish já estão no nosso cenário. Estamos nos preparando para enviar dez cointainers por mês aos Estados Unidos”, destaca Vaz. O Native Berries é um produto 100% orgânico, livre de agrotóxicos e fertilizantes. O congelamento da fruta acontece por meio de uma tecnologia update no ramo alimentício: o Flash Freezing. “Fazemos um congelamento em 15 minutos e só depois a gente embala num saquinho que lembra o de picolé. Fácil de abrir e na medida certa”, detalha o empresário. A frio, em que as propriedades da fruta não são perdidas no processo. Após o produto finalizado, a mercadoria segue para o container que sai de Belém e demora em torno de 18 dias para chegar em Miami. Até Los Angeles são quase 25 dias. Mas porque uma empresa brasileira investe nos Estados Unidos e não no país de origem? “Os Estados Unidos estão muito à frente na questão dos orgânicos e dos alimentos saudáveis, incluindo os selos de qualidade que envolvem diversas exigências”, conclui Vaz.

DÁ-LHE AÇAÍ • • • •

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Ação antioxidante Rico em um tipo de gordura essencial, o ácido oleico, que protege contra o câncer Contém Ômega-6, Ômega-9 e outros ingredientes que diminuem o colesterol ruim e ajudam a regular o bom Seus componentes agem contra o envelhecimento das células, previnem rugas precoces e ajudam no tônus da pele Devido a alta concentração de fibras, melhora as funções intestinais Grande capacidade antioxidante e possui alto valor energético Contém ferro e atua no fortalecimento muscular e na prevenção de anemias

Native Berries « 777 Brickel Avenue, suite 500, Miami, FL 33131 –

About 18 years ago, three gringos brought the productto America. Since then, all things açaí-based became a huge hit. Today, you can buy açaí powder, açaí shampoo and açaí-based medicine. Heir of one of Brazil’s biggest labs, Sabin, Rafael Vaz, 28, was living in Miami when he got offered a partnership from Native Berries, a product that had just hit the shelves of supermarkets in California and Florida. “My cousin introduced me to the project, created by a Spanish who, with the help of a consultant, wanted to introduce açaí to the world. I was immediately attracted to the idea”, says Vaz, who has a partnership with people like Javier Salvador, Marcelo Vaz and Isaac Benchimol. Before starting production, they went to Para to meet the 50 families that harvest and sell the fruit to a local organization. The partners hired six of them. To avoid any quality loss, they bought a medium-sized processing plant in Belem, where the fruit is mixed and the seed’s coats are discarded. Afterwards, the fruit is pasteurized, thus eliminating any risk of contamination. “From 18 kilos of fruit, we can yield about 12 kilos of pulp”, he says. The group hired a branding agency, the Sao Paulo-based Ponto Criativo, to create the brand’s identity, with an special focus on making an emotional conection to the Amazonian roots of the fruit. The brand’s mascot is the Ararajuba, a type od yellow-colored macaw who feeds on the fruit and is currently endangered. Today, there are about 2000 birds in the wild. The plan is giving part of the profits to research institutes, thus helping preserve the species. The debut of Native Berries in the biggest organic fair of the United States, the Fancy Food Show, held in California, was a big success. The marketing strategy consists on visual merchandising and free samples of the products inside supermarkets. “Today, chains like Whole Foods, Milano, Fresh Market and Publish are already in our scenario. We plan to ship ten containers per month to the USA”, says Vaz. Besides being 100% organic, Native Berries is also pesticide and fertilezer-free. Moreover, all fruit is frozen using a new technology: flash freezing. “We freeze all pulp in just 15 minutes and then we pack it in a plastic bag that looks like a popsicle package: easy to open and with just the right amount”, he says. The technique resembles the proccess known as cold-pressing. When the product is ready, the finished goods are transported to a container that is then shipped from Belem, taking about 18 days to arrive in Miami and 25 days to arrive in Los Angeles. But why is this company investing in the USA, and not in its country of origin? “The United States are way ahead of us on the matter of organic and healthy food. This includes a series of quality seals and different requirements”, he says. GOT AÇAÍ? »» Full of antioxidants »» Rich in oleic acid, which prevents cancer »» Rich in Omega-6, Omega-9 and other ingredients that lower bad cholesterol and regulate the good cholesterol »» Prevents cell-aging and premature wrinkles, making the skin firmer »» Due to its high fiber content, acai helps regulate your bowels movement »» Great number of antioxidants and highly caloric »» An iron-rich fruit, it increases muscle-building and prevents anemia

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