Tropicool is the brainchild of Arab and Brazilian partners who wished for the world to taste authentic acai and superfruits. They started their venture in Dubai last year. Despite the pandemic, today there are over 50 carts spread across five countries, which maintain the essence of the natural product of the Amazon region.
Tropicool Açaí and superfruits, owned by partners Sheikh Mohamed Al Thani, Sheikh Ahmed Al Thani, Maurício Esteves and Caio Nabuco, replanted 1,500 native Amazonian seedlings and fruit trees, in the municipality of Mâncio Lima, state of Acre, Brazil.
The initiative was in partnership with SOS Amazonia, which aims to mitigate climate change through the reforestation of deforested areas in the region. These areas are the primary source of raw materials for Tropicool’s products. The replanting represents the restoration of a hectare and a half of land (about 15 thousand m2).
Tropicool will plant a tree for every 10 litres of açaí sold worldwide as a part of this initiative. “We promise to return to the Amazon what it offers us as raw material, and which we work to take to the whole world“, explains Sheikh Mohammed Al Thani, member of the royal family of Sharjah in the United Arab Emirates, who was present at the planting.
Built on the concept ‘Born to be Global’, Tropicool was the innovative idea of the partners to transport açaí and to make it a global product, aiming at authenticity, healthiness and sustainability while they were studying together in Harvard. In February 2020, at ‘Gulfood’, the world’s largest food fair, the products were presented for the first time in partnership with Apex-Brasil and the Arab Brazilian Chamber. The entire concept was built to take Amazon superfruits to the world, keeping their original flavour and not frozen, with food safety measures. Which also includes packaging and formulation specifically designed for this.
“Our product is liquid and can be kept at room temperature, with no need for logistics and refrigerated stocks, nor for thawing for handling. With this technology, we guarantee the nutritional properties of the fruits, quality, food safety and optimization of the operation, in addition to more flavour and better texture”, explains Maurício Esteves. The partners chose prime tourist spots in Dubai to launch the brand in February 2020. They further expanded to Mexico, Brazil, Australia and more than 50 other spots around the world. “The strategy was to diversify the business models, always reinforcing the natural characteristics of the fruits, the concern for the environment and the Brazilian origin”, he says.
“We are passionate about sharing the rich, refreshing flavours of Amazonian fruits with the world, particularly at a time when everyone is more aware of what they eat. Being able to achieve this goal, directly impacting communities in the Amazon region, and contributing to the environment of our planet is something that makes us very happy”, recalls partner Caio Nabuco.
“In this way, we understand that it is mandatory to repay the Amazon for its natural wealth and importance to humanity. This is just the first replanting. Tree credit is already in place for us to replant even more this year”, says Sheik Mohamed Al Thani, signalling that sales growth is continuous.
Rafael do Prado Ribeiro, former head of trade promotion at Apex-Brasil and today Global Head at Tropicool, was brought to the project to lead this process. “In addition to open markets in a year of pandemic, we are already in advanced negotiations with three more destinations.
Tropicool was born internationalized with its first operation in Dubai. It has a vision of ESG and strong pillars in innovation, sustainability, Brazilianness and healthiness, making it a dynamic brand. Later this year, they will be present at Dubai Expo 2020.
The raw materials that are tropical fruits, the “superfruits”, açaí, mangoes and others to be launched, comes from certified producers, who guarantee the export of sustainable, organic products. All materials used at the points of sale also follow the core concept of the brand and refrain from using plastics or any other type of material that could interrupt the natural reuse cycle. Tropicool is certified by Kosher, Halal, USDA, among other seals that certify quality for the most demanding markets.
In Dubai, you can find açaí carts or kiosks in Dubai Mall, Cove Beach, Ceasar Palace, Sofitel Obelisk, La Mer, at the Dubai Fountain in front of the Burj Khalifa, the tallest building in the world, among others.
The story began with university friends who shared açaí bowls before classes at Harvard Business School. They formed a partnership and set out to search for an innovative form of production with aseptic technology, which makes it possible to preserve the flavor and natural characteristics without the need to freeze the fruit for up to 15 months. With the proper packaging, the product was ideal to be transported over long distances, seeking to take Brazil to the world.
Based on this, different sales models were structured, making it possible to take bowls with Brazilian fruits to different places: own store, kiosk, store in store, cart and others.
Tropicool currently has more than 50 locations in Dubai (UAE), Brazil (São Paulo and Rio de Janeiro), Qatar, and Mexico (Tulum).