The cranberry is where it all started for Berrico around 20 years ago. Berrico began by distributing Canadian cranberry products from Fruit d’Or. “With the partnership a successful European strategy was developed together with Fruit d’Or”, says Sales Director Gregory Ford.
Dried, frozen, juice, juice-concentrate and powder; the cranberries have found their way to Europe in all forms. Success in this area led to rapid diversification. “From cranberries we looked at other berries we wanted to offer, and found complementing products in South America, the EU, China and Africa,” describes Mr. Ford. “We expanded into the berry segment and developed new products that responded to or anticipated the latest trends. Gradually, we increased the range of products, expanding when our clients did and matching to new clients.”
Today, Berrico has 600 products in its portfolio. As well as its traditional core products such as cranberries and blueberries, it now supplies more exotic produce such as goji berries, mango and pineapple. The berries are supplied whole, cut into halves and diced; or in dried or powdered form. It has also added other products such as seeds and more niche vegetables and fruits to the range.
“We are interested in niches where we can add value,” states Mr. Ford. “For example, we don’t have raisins because they are too much of a commodity and there is too much competition. Instead, we try to stand out from the competition with the quality of our niche products.”
Berrico is known as a specialist in organic produce – something that is increasingly in demand. “We don’t make too much of the distinction between organically or conventionally cultivated produce,” says Mr. Ford. “Our primary consideration is quality. A lot of the berries we supply are cultivated in climates that are ideal for their growth. This already reduces the need for extensive use of pesticides. Our concern is supplying berries that meet the quality requirements of our customers and offer constantly the right price.”
We supply berries, fruit and seeds and are developing similar concepts for nuts that will add value for our clients by allowing them to obtain all their healthy snacking ingredients from a single source. Gregory FordSales Director
“Berries grow naturally all over the world and were certainly a key part of the diets of our hunter/gatherer forbears. They provide many useful nutrients and are part of any healthy diet and fun and balanced lifestyle. What they do for our B2B customers is add a touch of colour, flavour and nutritional value to their products. Particularly in the organic food market, our products serve to add value.”
Nevertheless, where the choice is between a chocolate bar and a handful of dried berries, most people would agree that the berries are more healthy. “We help our clients with new product and packaging ideas to make the most of the positive associations people make with our products,” says Mr. Ford. “For example, there are good opportunities to be had in the snacking sector. We have developed several tailored product concepts in this area using amusing packaging to inspire our customers and placing our products in unexpected places such as dried fruit alongside chocolates and sweets or fruit and nut mixes in the crisp aisle so that consumers are presented with a healthy choice.”
Thanks to its innovative approach and focus on quality, Berrico now occupies a leading position in its niche. It ranks as the leading supplier in Europe of cranberries and hemp seeds: goji, physalis, hemp and other natural and infused fruit. Other markets are harder to pin down.
“Oftentimes you are not comparing like with like,” comments Mr. Ford. “For example there are goji berries on the market with and without sulfites, or with as many as 80 pesticides on them – while we draw the line at a maximum of six.” Berrico is happy to remain in its niche. “We don’t need to be the biggest player,” insists Mr. Ford. “We have a niche assortment that continues to grow, but whatever we choose to do, we do it well.