Chilean berry grower and marketer Hortifrut has bought a non-controlling stake in Portuguese outfit BFruit.
The agreement is set to allow Hortifrut to continue strengthening its position in the European berry market through a combination of BFruit’s experience in raspberry production in western Europe, Hortifrut’s new varieties and the growing commercialisation of the berry category across the continent.
BFruit is a grower group that uses high-quality technology and environmental standards, making it well aligned with the sustainability strategy promoted by Hortifrut worldwide, the company said. The Portuguese firm has logistics and packing facilities in Odemira and Guimarães.
BFruit’s production will now be marketed by Euroberry, Hortifrut's commercial platform for Europe, which Hortifrut said wouldenhance the existing vertically integrated business and ensure year-round supply to its clients in Europe.
It will also enable Hortifrut to carry out a faster commercial scaling of its pipeline of raspberry, blackberry and blueberry varieties coming out of its proprietary development programmes, it added, which have already seen strong demand in other international markets.
“In the past years Bfruit is committed to develop berry production in Portugal, offering our growers the possibility to grow the finest berries while offering to the market the most flavoured fruit produced with the highest standards of quality and food safety,” said Fernanda Machado, chief executive of Bfruit. “Adding value to production/ growers is Bfruit´s goal since its creation, and this integration will strengthen our position and negotiation in the globalised berries market.”
Juan Ignacio Allende, chief executive of Hortifrut, added: “We are very proud of this agreement, because it enhances our vertically integrated berry platform, benefitting all of our European clients, our diverse production origins and Bfruit’s producers.
“In particular, in the short term this will allow us to increase our service level to our European clients with a high-quality and year-round supply of raspberries, and in the medium term, to delight them with superior varieties of raspberry and blackberry varieties tested in Portugal with the experience and productive know-how of BFruit’s growers. We hope to materialise new plantations as early as this 2020.”