EARTH University took part in the FRUIT LOGISTICA expo in Berlin. On February 6-8, EARTH’s commercial unit Variedades del Trópico Húmedo (VTH) presented our popular dried fruits – along with alumni-grown organic pineapple – to more than 76,000 attendees.
We recently sat down with Erick Aguilar, commercial manager of VTH, who answered a few questions about the event and its global reach. A lightly edited transcript of the interview follows.
How’d EARTH end up at the expo?
We had been before as attendees in 2015 with PROCOMER (Costa Rican exportation promoter). At that time, Roger Ruíz (commercial director of VTH) and Jose Joaquin Chaverri (Costa Rican ambassador to Germany) met Juan Llombart, the owner of a citrus business in Spain and marketer of other fresh produce in European supermarkets.
During Juan’s visit to EARTH last year, he was struck by the University’s mission and products. As a result, we were able to exhibit in his stand this year.
Which EARTH products did you exhibit?
We showed off our dried fruits, along with organic pineapple from a cooperative led by EARTH graduates Nestor Ramírez (’95, Costa Rica) and Christian Herrera (’96, Costa Rica).
What was your main objective for participating in the expo?
We wanted to make our products and the mission behind them known to many more potential clients. We wanted people to understand that when they buy our products, they are supporting the University’s scholarship fund and thus impacting the education of hundreds of young people.
Moreover, participating in events like this is an enormous showcase, allowing more and more people to be introduced to EARTH, our mission, our reach, our ideals. While there, we can run into potential future amigos of the University, as well as identify strong strategic business partners.
What reactions did you get at the event?
The people who tried our products enjoyed them in great measure. We were able to call a lot of attention to our mission, especially the fact that we have widened our reach to the African continent. All commented that our mission is hugely noble and that the values and principles with which we operate day to day should help us grow our impact.
This expo also enabled us to meet representatives from REWE, the premier German supermarket chain. They expressed a lot of interest in EARTH, so much that they visited our campus in Costa Rica two weeks after the expo. They have their sights set on establishing a line of EARTH dried fruits – bananas from our Guácimo campus, mango from our La Flor campus, and pineapple from Nestor and Christian – for their stores.
Without a doubt, would be a unique opportunity to develop a product line bearing the EARTH seal and linked to our graduates, as well as social and environmental responsibility.
About FRUIT LOGISTICA
FRUIT LOGISTICA is an expo that seeks to elevate the profiles of produce businesses in the international arena and promote networking between producers and distributors. At the event, you can find fresh and dried produce suppliers, packaging and labeling services, transport and logistics services, stock management services, press and communication firms, information services, crop technicians, and greenhouse constructors.