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25/08/2017 - 07:00hs

Brazilian papaya hits Dubai supermarkets

Company Interfruit Alimentos ships three pallets’ worth of papaya and Formosa papaya a week to the United Arab Emirates’ Spinneys chain. Asian competition weighs down on sales.

São Paulo – Every week, a container packed with Brazilian fruit gets loaded onto a plane headed for Dubai, the United Arab Emirates. Inside, in addition to lemons, mangoes and other fruit purchased by the importing company that handles the shipping, are three pallets’ worth of papaya and formosa papaya shipped by Interfruit Alimentos of Brazil.

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The fruit gets shipped on a weekly basis

This has been going on for three years, according to commercial manager Fábio de Oliveira Gomes. “We supply the Spinneys supermarket chain, but the sales are handled by an export-import company because they ship other product along, and this enables the supermarket to import,” he explains.

Although the quantity is not big, the executive claims the weekly sales are important, since he plans to increase his foothold in that market. It’s not an easy task, since fruit imported from Southeast Asia is more competitive, since the distance’s shorter and therefore prices are lower.

According to Gomes, Spinneys provides a broader product mix to the more elite demographic in Dubai, hence its carrying Brazilian papaya, whose color, shape and taste are superior to the ones from Asia. “Our intention is to deliver more, but for now the supermarket has shown no interest in buying more,” he says.

But Gomes also claims demand is on the way up for Brazilian-grown fruit such as lemon, mango and fig. However, air freight is a limiting factor – according to Gomes, Brazil is the only country from where papaya gets shipped out in planes. It’s unlike exporting green papaya by ship, in which case once the product arrives it has lost some of the flavor,” he says.

Interfruit Alimentos exports mostly to Europe and to countries in America. Established in 1996 in Linhares, Espírito Santo, it sells 300-plus tons of premium-quality each month, half of which gets sold in other countries.

Breaking into new markets across the Middle East is part of the company’s plans. Last year, it sold product to Kuwait for a while via an importing company in Spain. But then sales fizzled out: “It’s a tough market. You need a partner who bets on your product if you want it to work,” he explains, adding that the company can meet the demand even if it grows.

Quick facts
Interfruit Alimentos
Fábio de Oliveira Gomes
+ 55 (11) 2366-7406
*Translated by Gabriel Pomerancblum

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