Borogo Beverages

The commercialisation of another little-known superfruit

Is a little-known fruit named borojo, grown in the rainforest jungles of Central and South America, the next big thing “superfruit” juice thing? One American entrepreneur thinks it is…

Gregg Hollander, 44, is an attorney who lives in Delray Beach, Florida. Hollander, 44, a fan of natural energising juices, came across a mention of the sweet-tart borojo fruit on the internet in 2008. That same year, he founded Borojo Beverages.

A year ago the company launched three flavours of Borojo superfruit blends: pink guava passion fruit, blueberry acai pomegranate and strawberry kiwi watermelon. All meet USDA organic standards. Suggested retail is $2.99 for a 16.9-ounce bottle of the beverage sold in more than 1 000 natural foods stores in 11 states.

In 2010, London-based Datamonitor included borojo on its list of the next hot superfruits – the marketing term that’s used to include everything from blueberries to the more exotic fruits such as acai and mangosteen. They’re called “super” because they contain high amounts of antioxidants, vitamins, minerals and fibre.

“I stumbled upon it,” said Hollander, 44, who operates the company at the same location as his law firm in Boca Raton. He developed the drink, with his wife, Laura, in mind, for active people who want a great-tasting, healthful boost of nutrition and energy

“For many, many years, we were making our own functional beverages in the kitchen, taking a bottle of spring water and taking a bottle of juice concentrate. I was really into the superfruit. I came across a blurb on the internet and it was not like the others. It is not a berry. It is the size of a grapefruit. I was really intrigued. Not only did it have the polyphenols touted by those other fruits, it had a huge concentration of vitamins, amino acids and minerals,” Hollander said.

After sourcing the pulp concentrate from Panama in 2008, the Hollanders began making their own borojo juice and taking it to the gym or the office. After a couple of months, Hollander realised he could commercialise the product as a crisp, light refreshing drink.

“I saw there was an opportunity. As you get into it, you have to have a business plan and a goal,” Hollander said. “We are the only company that has a ready-to-drink beverage centered around the borojo.”

He educated himself on the beverage industry by contacting experts and a flavour house to develop the beverage. Once he had a formula, he asked different flavour houses to provide him with samples.

One of Hollander’s first tasks was to import borojo on a large scale. He also began developing packaging and labelling. It all came together, and today the company has produced more than 10 000 12-pack cases. The drink is bottled by such contract beverage manufacturers. All the product is shipped to a warehouse outside Chicago. Distributors pick it up from there to ship to retailers.

The goal is for it to be in about 3 000 stores by the end of the year, Hollander said.

In Florida alone, the beverage is sold at more than 70 stores, such as Whole Foods Market and Nature’s Way Cafe. Marketing has been through trade shows and sampling events.

Hollander declines to reveal how much he has invested in the venture, but said startup costs were substantial. The company has seven employees, not including the national broker network.

He hopes to build the niche brand to the point where a major company might buy it.

Source: The Palm Beach Post

See some of the brand design work here:

Borogo fruit About borojoa

Borojoa patinoi, commonly known as Borojó, is a mid sized (3 to 5m) tropical forest tree that belongs to the Rubiaceae family. It grows in the northwest area of Colombia in the Chocó Department and in the Esmeraldas Province of Ecuador, in areas of high humidity (over 85%) and an average temperature of 28°C, both in the wild and on local farms.

Borojó is an Emberá word meaning: boro = head, ne-jo = fruit. Head-shaped fruit, or round, globulous fruit.

The fruit is large (about 12 cm length) with a round shape and brown color and average weight 740-1000 grs. The pulp represents 88% of the total weight. Each fruit has 90 to 640 seeds. Borojo has high levels of protein, phosphorus, ascorbic acid, calcium and iron.

Borojo is used in the preparation of jam, wine, desserts and traditional medicines with supposed aphrodisiac effects. It is also used by the local communities against hypertension, bronchial diseases and malnutrition.

A study commissioned at Rutgers University by Nutropical, a private company, found that borojo fruit powder had a high and significant content of polyphenols as measured by the Folin-Ciocalteu polyphenol test. Most notably, the researchers believe that the key polyphenol found in borojo may be novel. Work continues to identify the compound and/or elucidate the chemical structure of this novel compound.

An analysis conducted by the same company found that borojo has an ORAC value of over 54 μmolTE/g (5400 µmolTE/100g). The form of the fruit that was tested, however, is not mentioned (fresh, freeze-dried, spray-dried, etc.)

Read more: