Currently, Brazil has multiple products in season, including sweet potatoes, ginger and limes. Brazilian company Tropical Fruit Group, who supply each of these products is celebrating their 30-year anniversary this year. Matheus Donófrio, who has been in charge of the group for the past ten years after taking over from his father, says: “Tropical Fruit Group is a family company that was started thirty years ago. We supply a wide variety of fruits and vegetables to public schools and industrial companies.”
School closures cause challenges
In normal times, Tropical Fruit Group supplies fruits and vegetables to two thousand schools in Brazil, making daily deliveries to each of them. “The schools were closed last year because of the pandemic, which has been challenging, but fortunately they are scheduled to open again in the first week of February. Additionally, while the schools were closed, the industrial businesses that we supply continued on with steady demand – we serve companies such as Bosch, General Motors, Toyota, Honda, Mercedez Benz and LATAM,” Donófrio says.
New exporting arm for Tropical Fruit Group
Two years ago, Tropical Fruit Group expanded their operation by adding a new daughter company: UP-Fruit. “UP-Fruit focuses on exports,” Donófrio explains. “We work with a variety of products, specifically avocado, sweet potato, mango, lime, young coconut, ginger, Kabocha pumpkin, starfruit, figs, guava and Annona. We export to Europe, the US and to Dubai but we are working on reaching more markets. There are a lot of markets that look for the products we work with who don’t usually look to Brazil to import them, and we believe that there could be a lot of opportunity in these markets,” Donófrio says.
Currently, UP-Fruit is exporting sweet potatoes, ginger and limes. “We just wrapped up the fig season, which runs from November to December, and in January we have these three products available,” says Donófrio. UP-Fruit distributes their products to retailers and wholesalers. “Currently the demand is quite low, which I think is due to the second wave of the pandemic that everyone is experiencing,” he adds.
Expansion and growth
Since the founding of UP-Fruit as part of the Tropical Fruit Group, there has been rapid growth for the exports. “Our growth was possible thanks to the strength of the Group, which already has a robust physical structure and a team that is very well trained in the handling of fruits, vegetables and other perishables, in addition to having the financial capacity to maintain a large schedule of shipments,” Donófrio explains.
The Group has also started a new program this year. “It’s a financial support program for producers,” says Donófrio. “In addition to training those who need to obtain certifications, we provide additional financial support to the producers. Today, the number of certified producers that supply UP-Fruit is much higher than it was a year ago. UP-Fruit is investing in the expansion of its structure to ensure that we will continue to grow in the future,” Donófrio concludes.
For more information:
Tropical Fruit Group / UP-Fruit
Tel: +55 (19) 3716-8282