Volume 5 | Issue 1 | Year 2009

Heavy green fruits tinged with pink as they ripen dangle from massive mango trees, papayas clustered atop a skinny trunk, bright pink jambo fruit like oblong Christmas balls: these are just a few examples of the panoply of tropical fruit that graces gardens and streets throughout Brazil. Suco Jandaia takes advantage of the bounty of the cashew tree, native to the northern Brazilian state of Ceará, where the company is based. While the nut is the cashew tree’s claim to fame outside Brazil, the juice of the fleshy fruit is also the object of enthusiasm in the South American country. This juice, suco in Portuguese, is the heart of Jandaia’s business.
The company, founded in 1941, now makes over 30 products besides cashew juice and pulp. Jandaia’s juices come in a number of flavors including pineapple, acerola, hog plum (or yellow mombin), guava, mango, grape, orange, and passion fruit. The company caters not only to a variety of palates with a range of flavors, but also meets a gamut of customer needs with a product list of 85 items including juice concentrate and ready to drink juices available in different packaging styles and sizes. Eduardo Figueiredo, Jandaia’s commercial director, recalls that when his great grandfather started the company he made cashew juice with simple, wooden presses. Now, 68 years later, he says, “We now have one of the most modern plants in Brazil.” In Figueiredo’s great granddad’s day, cashew juice was a rarity on the Brazilian market. Nowadays it is the bestselling flavor of fruit juice concentrate.

In its early days, Jandaia sold juices only to supermarkets and in the 1980s the company broadened its reach and made its ready-to-drink juices available in luncheonettes and bars. Jandaia’s bold move of pioneering the entry of tetra-pak containers for juice in Brazil at that time facilitated the expansion of packaged juice. Indeed, within a decade, the consumption of packaged juice in the country had risen considerably and has been growing since. Figueiredo reports that, with an annual growth of 20 percent over the last five years, juice is one of the most solid growth areas in Brazil. And with rising interest in this area throughout South America, he predicts continued expansion over the next decade. Jandaia’s institutional clients, which include major supermarket chains such as Walmart and Carrefour, account for 20 percent of sales. Approximately 40 percent of income is from sales to distributors that purchase Jandaia’s products for resale to smaller points of sale like gyms, restaurants and schools and nearly half of Jandaia’s business comes from bulk buyers.

Currently, Brazilians consume an average of only 2.5 liters of industrialized juice per year while other South Americans consume over six liters annually. Brazil is in third place, worldwide, in consumption of soft drinks, following the United States and Mexico. But the tropical heat, along with a move toward healthy living and eating in Brazil, point toward increased consumption of packaged juice. Even the Coca-Cola Company, aware of the rising demand in this market, has recently acquired tea and juice companies in Brazil. Figueiredo is confident that the increase in information on obesity and other health issues in Brazil is leading consumers to opt for juices as they seek a balance between pleasure and health. In fact, the state of São Paulo has prohibited the consumption of soda in public school.

Jandaia takes care of health of the environment as well as the residents of its community. Figueiredo declares it to be “an ecologically correct company,” adding, “We depend on the fruits of nature so we work within the ecological cycle.” The company plants trees, juices the fruit and turns the leftover fiber into animal feed, which in turn goes back to the ground (as manure) to nourish the trees. The recently opened Jandaia Education Institute shows the company’s concern for its often underserved community. Two hundred young people, ages 14 to 21, are enrolled in full-time studies that will give them the knowledge and skills needed to join Jandaia’s workforce. Electronics, maintenance, shipping logistics and quality control are among the subjects offered. Figueiredo says that “Jandaia is proud to help qualify these young people who may otherwise have trouble entering the workforce, become qualified for employment.” Jandaia also reaches out to younger folks, welcoming 2,000 local school children a month on visits to the factory. The students spend the day learning about the production process and its connection to the environment. They also have hands-on experience and learn about recycling through papermaking in Jandaia’s mini-recycling lab. Figueiredo boasts, “We show the kids how a local crop – cashews – is a source of income and we promote the healthy habit of drinking juice.” These actions are meaningful in the economically disadvantaged area of the Brazilian Northeast.

Figueiredo is proud of Jandaia’s status as both a pioneer and a truly Brazilian company. “We are the biggest name on the market in Brazil,” he says, “and we compete with multinationals like Coca-Cola, Kraft Foods and Del Valle.” Now owned and run by third and fourth generation members of the founding family, Jandaia is a real family business. Three members of the founding family are involved at the management level while the rest of the administration is from the professional sector. Figueiredo boasts that “the structure is extremely professional and yet we are still guided by the values – ethics and hard work – passed down from generation to generation.” He notes that Jandaia stands out because “all our competitors are just bottlers who acquire the pulp and concentrate and mix it with water, sugar and flavor. We produce or acquire the fresh fruit and transform it ourselves into pulp. This extra step is an important differential in Brazil.”

In 2005, in order to gain visibility and increased positioning on the market, Jandaia came out with Sucos Flamingo. Named for the flamingo’s association with things tropical, it is aimed at consumers seeking a more economical product. The Flamingo juices cost approximately 5 percent less. Sucos Flamingo is under the same management as Suco Jandaia but has its own sales and marketing departments. The two brands are made with slightly different formulas, even for the same flavors. Jandaia’s products are sold in all Brazilian states and the company has local offices throughout the county. While it outsources shipping in other states for cost effectiveness, Jandaia has its own fleet that transports its products in its home state of Ceará.

In addition to its own cashew tree plantations, Jandaia has two factories, the original in Ceará built in 1941 and the second built in 2005. The company’s modern business park uses environmentally friendly architecture including solar energy for lighting and water re-use mechanisms in addition to wireless Internet. Figueiredo notes that Jandaia has the “most modern plant in Brazil for production of tropical juices and is the most productive company per square meter.” He adds, “We are not the biggest producer but we are extremely efficient.”

Juices and beverages made by Jandaia are available in 18 countries besides Brazil. Among the places where Jandaia and Flamingo brand beverages can be found on the shelves are the United States, Canada, Belgium, France, Portugal, Holland, Angola, Mozambique, Senegal, Togo, Cape Verde, French Guyana, Spain, China and Macau. Despite the drop, due to the recent international economic crisis, from 10 percent to 6 percent of total sales, Figueiredo assures that exports are going well. He claims, “Our differential is that we take tropical fruit to the rest of the world. Everyone is used to their own fruit and we introduce a new universe of fruits.” He cites the rising star status in Europe and the United States of the Amazon berry, açaí, which seems to appear in a new form every day, as an example. Jandaia also reaches the foreign market by making products under private labels for clients abroad. Since 1968, one of five such personalized brands, Triunfo, has been marketed and sold to Portuguese immigrants in New Jersey.

Jandaia, Figueiredo points out, is an extremely innovative company with the most extensive line of drinks, including soy-based drinks and greet tea that are growing in popularity in Brazil, ready-to-drink juices, and juice concentrate. This attitude has led to 25 percent growth over the past three years, which Figueiredo reports is greater than the average for the sector. He is optimistic about the success of the company’s new lines, which include chocolate milk and teas. In keeping with the mounting emphasis on health, this year Jandaia plans on launching value added products such as green tea with collagen and a vegetable and fruit juice, both new products on the Brazilian market. The company will be creating a niche in the market with a German partner that will supply the vegetable juice concentrate that will be combined with Jandaia’s tropical fruits to create the final product right at the company’s plant in Brazil.

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