The Berry That Cares comes of age

As the new brand reaches its first anniversary, Camposol CEO Jorge Ramírez reflects on a year of growth
The Berry That Cares comes of age

The Berry That Cares, Camposol’s ethical blueberry brand, is one year old, and to mark the occasion the company has announced plans for a series of online and offline consumer promotions across key markets.

Since it’s launch, consumer response to the new label has been overwhelmingly positive, says Camposol’s CEO Jorge Ramírez. “We are very excited about the first anniversary of the brand and are planning activities and joint promotions with supermarkets in the US, Europe and China, in addition to promoting our digital tools such as the Berry Blog, Facebook and Instagram,” he tells Fruitnet.

Camposol Jorge Ramirez“We want more and more people to know the differentiating aspects of our brand, in terms of the quality of our products, which are non-GMO, and that the company cares about the consumer as well as about our people, our communities and our planet.”

At the end of 2017, Camposol had 1,850 of blueberry production, harvesting a total of 14,800 tonnes. So far this year planted area has increased to 2,000ha, including 86ha of USDA-certified organic production, with more currently undergoing certification.

“Reaching 2,000ha was a goal that we set ourselves back in 2013. Now are looking at the growth potential of the market evaluating what our new goal will be,” says Ramírez.

Going forward, the focus will be on introducing new varieties, increasing organic production and improving internal logistics and packaging to reduce the time between harvesting and packing and further improve product quality and shelf-life.

It’s hard to believe that it is only seven years since Camposol planted its first 50ha of blueberries, and Ramírez acknowledges that such rapid growth has brought its own challenges.

The workforce, for example, has grown from 5,400 workers in 2009 to more than 15,000 at the height of the production season. Women, which made up 20 per cent of the workforce a decade ago, now account for almost half of all employees.

“We are sure that very soon we will be able to say that we are a company that provides formal employment to more than 17,000 men and women, with all the management challenges that this implies,” he says. “People are the key to our business, which is why we continually invest in the attraction, development and retention of our talent.”

As Camposol’s business has evolved, it has grown from a window player to a year-round supplier. “This aligns with the needs of our customers, who demand fresh, traceable and high quality products grown under a sustainable social and environmental model, throughout the year,” says Ramírez.

This is not just the case in blueberries, but also avocados, with investments in Colombia are extending the company’s supply window, and in seedless tangerines where Camposol’s production base now extends into Uruguay, where it recently bought 1,000ha of land in El Salto, including 500ha of citrus farms belonging to Citrícola Salteña.

Ramírez does not rule out pursuing a similar strategy to boost its blueberry business. “We are open to evaluate all options, as we have done in the case of Uruguay,” he says.

“However, we believe that there is room to keep growing in blueberries in Peru, where we can continue to expand the window with control of the fields and complete traceability as one of the key of our value proposition.”