Colombia: Entrepreneur freezes fruit through lyophilization

What started as Carlos Forero’s graduation project about eight years ago has become this chemical engineer’s bet on creating a company that is 100% Colombian. At first, his goal was to extract nutrients from the Colombian blackberry. However, throughout this process he understood that the properties of these foods are enhanced more in their natural state and that these enzymes are better released through processes such as chewing.

"I entered the world of fruit when doing my graduation project and found that, for example, that the Colombian blackberry was produced in very few countries and I ultimately found that there was more to this fruit than it’s large properties and attractive flavors. So I started to look for ways to make this into something we can all enjoy without losing the fruit’s pure properties," says Forero.

In his pursuit to achieve this, Forero started to explore lyophilization, a freeze-drying technique that is also used by astronauts to conserve their food on their trips to space.

"When you dry fruits through other methods, the water evaporates and the fruits lose many antioxidants. In the lyophilization method, water goes from a frozen state to a steam state without converting into liquid, allowing the product to retain 100% of the fruits’ nutrients, colors, and flavors, among others, "said the engineer who realized that this was the starting point to undertake La Fruit Dice, a 100% Colombian packaged fruit snack.

According to Forero, the product was intended as a whole that would transmit a piece of Colombia. That’s why Forero decided to work the art of each package with Ana Cristina Bojanini, an artist from Barranquilla.

So far, La Fruta Dice has participated in several entrepreneurship events where it has been successful and received great reviews and hundreds of consumers have shown their interest in Colombian blackberries and gooseberries, among others.

More than 200 million pesos has been invested in this company and now the company is waiting to seal alliances to export the product and to circulate it in chain stores throughout the country.

"I just hope that La Fruta Dice becomes an example of how a university idea can turn into a successful product, and that we can export a bit of Colombia, its flavors, and art to the rest of the world," said Forero.


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