A new fruit brand is gearing up for the start of its inaugural Argentine blueberry season in September, as it also plans to branch out into cherries later this year.
The Thx brand, created by Florida-based companies Breakthrough Solutions and Fudi Food, has been built around having a unique social impact and establishing a connection between the farmworkers and the end consumer.
Pictures of the individual beneficiaries are displayed on the fruit’s packaging so that consumers can see who they are helping with their purchase, and a QR code lets shoppers track progress toward the cause and see how the money is spent.
Raul Fernandez of Breakthrough Solutions says the brand will not involve a price premium, with a portion of the profits going toward helping to fulfil the ‘dreams’ of the farmworkers, such as having indoor plumbing or a roof on their house.
“It’s very different to what anybody else has been doing in this category, and it’s something that is attractive to retailers,” he says.
“When we tell people about the concept, they love it. They see so much value and social impact,” he says, adding that the main challenge for this first year is being able to provide the volumes being requested by retailers.
The goal is to have branded fruit available in three U.S. regions this season, the East, the south-west, and the West Coast this year.
“We’ve got very interested parties in all those three regions – that for us is beyond success for the first year,” he said.
The first blueberry shipments from Argentina are due to start around Sept. 15, provided by Concordia-based partner company Arandeira. Fernandez said everything is shaping up well for this coming season, which is a little bit delayed compared to a normal year.
Fernandez and his partner Martin Casanova, who founded logistics provider and importer Fudi Food, are also due to expand supply through partnerships with more Argentine blueberry farmers.
The aim is to achieve a year-round supply of branded blueberries – moving onto other South American growing countries after Argentina – and later the different growing regions around North America.
The brand will also be extended to cherries later this year.
“Our goal for now is to have the blueberries year-round, and to start with cherries,” Casanova said.
“We have a cherry grower confirmed in Argentina and we are looking for a grower in Chile. Then we will see if we can do the U.S. and Canada season as well.
“Our goal in the short-term is to have these products in a year-round supply or whenever they are available, and maybe next year or the one after that we will start working with blackberries and raspberries and maybe other products.”
Casanova added that it was important to eventually supply large volumes in order to help a greater number of people.
“Our goal is not to help just a few farmworkers – we want to help hundreds,” he said.