Help with Social Enterprise Helping Coffee Farmers with Value-Added Fruit Products

eric.zentmyer

New member
Nov 10, 2015
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Hello Everyone!

Sorry if this is the wrong place, I am new to the forum, my name is Eric Zentmyer (that's me with the donkey),
I am working on a coffee-related social enterprise that has grown out of seven years of NGO work with coffee producers in Mexico and I am hoping to get feedback from retailers through the forum.


Previously I coordinated a community forestry program in Veracruz and Oaxaca, helping farmers to diversify their coffee plantations with shade trees that provided fruit, timber, medicine or had local ecological or cultural value. Now my partners and I are researching how we can process available fruit from their coffee farms into syrups, concentrates and jams to sell in coffee houses.


The idea is to provide additional income for producers who maintain traditional shade-grown coffee agro-ecosystems with high levels of biodiversity and to use the profits to educate next generation producers in their conservation and sustainable management. This is a nascent project but we believe that the enterprise can be viable with the support of the coffee community.


I am hoping to get information from retailers about how they source fruit products for their smoothies, fruit drinks and jams. Do you source locally? Online? Do you work with a single supplier or have multiple suppliers for different products? We are unsure as to whether we should try to set up a website or work directly through wholesale suppliers.


Any information would be greatly appreciated and of course I would love to answer any questions or discuss the topic with anyone interested.

Many thanks and looking forward to foruming with you all!


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Eric Zentmyer
 

PinkRose

Super Moderator
Staff member
Feb 28, 2008
5,222
6
Near Philadelphia, PA
Hello Eric Zentmyer

Welcome to the Coffee Forums website.

When I read the part of your post that said: "Now my partners and I are researching how we can process available fruit from their coffee farms into syrups, concentrates and jams to sell in coffee houses", I wondered if you've already ventured into processing the fruit items into syrups, etc. or if you're just starting to consider doing it.

I remember a discussion on this Forum regarding where people get their fruits and syrups for smoothies, etc. for their cafes and coffee houses.

Hopefully, a few of our members will respond to your post and give you an idea where they obtain those items for their cafes.

Many of the cafes, where I've worked in the past, obtained the fruit syrups from the places where they bought their roasted coffee beans. When a certain flavor wasn't available, the syrups were ordered from the webrestaurant store's online selection. (Consumables | Restaurant Consumables)

Rose
 
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eric.zentmyer

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Nov 10, 2015
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Hi Rose,
Thank you for your reply. I have already processed fruit into syrups and jams in a product development phase but have not yet tried to import them and sell them.
Your answer was helpful and I've received similar feedback from local coffee houses in my area.
Unfortunately their hasn't been much response here, do you think I would have better luck in a topic like B2B?
Thanks again for your help.
Eric
 

ensoluna

Banned
Apr 29, 2014
2,823
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Quetzaltenango, Guatemala
hello Eric,
how are you?
before I give my comment, I would like to ask you some questions.
1. are you located in USA?
2. are you planning to bring fruit related products (jams/syrup..etc) into USA and sell to coffee houses?
if so, are you planning to bring them in by yourself? or are you going to sell these products directly from Mexico farms to overseas customers?
3. you need to realize that your coffee farmers sell their coffee, either directly to overseas customers or to local coffee exporters, these customers probably will not buy fruit related products. They will only buy coffee from them.
then, will you be looking for new this type of food customers?

4. in order to export Jams / Syrup..etc to USA or to Europe, the regulation is very strict and you need to get a lot of permits and licenses. have you looked into these matters?

thanks
alex from Ensoluna.
 
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eric.zentmyer

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Nov 10, 2015
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Hi Alex,
Thank you for your reply. I will respond to your questions below in blue:

hello Eric,
how are you?
Good, thank you :)
before I give my comment, I would like to ask you some questions.
1. are you located in USA?
I am located in California and have a second home in Veracruz, Mexico.
2. are you planning to bring fruit related products (jams/syrup..etc) into USA and sell to coffee houses?
Yes.
if so, are you planning to bring them in by yourself? or are you going to sell these products directly from Mexico farms to overseas customers?
I am planning to import products myself with the help of an importing agency in San Diego. I am looking into transportation logistics for moving larger volumes.
3. you need to realize that your coffee farmers sell their coffee, either directly to overseas customers or to local coffee exporters, these customers probably will not buy fruit related products. They will only buy coffee from them.
then, will you be looking for new this type of food customers?
I am not looking to sell to coffee exporters, I agree with you that there are few of them interested in buying fruit products. I am interested in selling directly to coffee houses, to coffee house suppliers or to roasters who sell multiple products to coffee houses. This is the dynamic I am trying to learn more about.
4. in order to export Jams / Syrup..etc to USA or to Europe, the regulation is very strict and you need to get a lot of permits and licenses. have you looked into these matters?
I am not very knowledgable so far about the specific permits and licenses required but I am working with a mentor who specializes in international imports. Will have more information soon.

Thank you for your interest. I would be happy to answer any other questions and would be grateful for any information you might be able to provide. I look forward to hearing more from you.
Regards,

Eric
 

ensoluna

Banned
Apr 29, 2014
2,823
0
Quetzaltenango, Guatemala
thanks for reply.
I asked you these questions because I know few coffee farms in Guatemala who are exporting "other coffee farm related products" to USA and European Countries.

I do not know about Mexico coffee farms, but in Guatemala, mostly they also plant Banana trees and raise bees (coffee flowers).
they do not export raw bananas because of cost is too high for small farms to compete with "banana plantations". so that is impossible.
so, they sell "semi-dry banana" and vacuum pack them and sells them along with Honey from own farms.

Of course, they need to get some license selling, producing these food items which you also need to check with your Mexico coffee farms and other organization for exporting license and permits and regulations.
I am not so certain about making Jams and syrups because they might require more machines and other related processing plants.
I know a jam factory in Antigua, Guatemala (my Guatemala lawyer family owns and runs it. and locally sells and export to Europe (but not to USA) their own locally made jams), and i have visited them. A lot of machines and health regulations (I had to wear special sanitary hat and shoes to go into factory)

I am not so certain that your coffee farms can make them on their own, unless they source out other factories who can do this. (but for semi-dry banana and honey, it is very easy to do it in coffee farm, no special machines necessary, except vacuum pack machine which is about $500 in Guatemala)

for importing into USA, if you are using other food import companies, it might be feasible. But since you are going to store them and distribute them, you must check on, again, regulations and permits.

After above matter is all clear and exactly you know how to do it, then, next step will be looking for customers.

again, good luck to you.
 
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AdventureCopan

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May 24, 2015
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Copán Ruinas, HND. / DFW, TX.
This is a cool idea and one I've always thought was the natural progression as I've gotten into coffee farming. However I'm the first farmer in my family and I'm American so I'm learning as we go.
Our farm is in Copán Ruinas, Honduras and is a well diversified shade grown farm. Over the last 4 years from planting our first plants we since have planted over 1000 various trees from avocado, lime, lemon, orange, mango, cocoa, etc. My family here in the states raises bees and I plan on doing that as well in about a year when we move from the US to HND to run things ourselves.

I'm not sure how much help I can be now, but I would love to hear how you progress with this venture as time goes on.
-Daniel Kent
 

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