We rank vendors based on rigorous testing and research, but also take into account your feedback and our commercial agreements with providers. This page contains affiliate links.Advertising DisclosureThis is a user-oriented comparison website, and we need to cover hosting and content costs, as well as make a profit. The costs are covered from referral fees from the vendors we feature. Affiliate link compensation does not affect reviews but might affect listicle pages. On these pages, vendors are ranked based on the reviewer’s examination of the service but also taking into account feedback from users and our commercial agreements with service providers. This website tries to cover important meal, coffee and pet food delivery services but we can’t cover all of the solutions that are out there. Information is believed to be accurate as of the date of each article.
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Author Sarah Kirton
Sarah Kirton Writer
Updated on Apr 16th, 2024
Fact checked by Emma Vince

C Fruit 2024: Fruit Farming For a Better Life

DeliveryRank chats with Chirene Jelbert, the Founder and CEO of C Fruit, a company dedicated to adding value through fresh, frozen, and dried fruit products. With a mission focused on creating value through unique produce strategies, Chirene's vision is to enhance farming for a better life for all communities in the value chain.

What unique strategies does your company use to analyze market opportunities and plan supply chain and pack material?

For us, the key lies in truly understanding our clients' needs. When approaching a market analysis, it's important to recognize that not every potential opportunity is immediately apparent. Many of the products we work with today didn't exist a few years ago, so we often find ourselves pioneering new ideas. For me, personally, it's a passion to find ways to reduce waste and create new markets and opportunities. We work closely with our growers, who are also our clients, which is a unique aspect of our business. In many cases, we act as a bridge between the growers and the market, handling the marketing and distribution of their products. This often involves solving logistical challenges, such as improving frozen distribution in South Africa. Sometimes, this requires us to vertically integrate into specific areas to improve the overall logistics and access deeper markets.

Can you provide examples of how your team executes go-to-market strategies, establishes programs, and negotiates sales prices?

Our go-to-market strategy, particularly for our B2B approach, revolves around understanding how to effectively penetrate the market. This often involves practical operational strategies for distributing challenging products, such as berries. Unlike high-volume products like citrus or apples, berries are high-value but low-volume, which poses unique challenges in the fresh produce industry. Logistics partners are typically geared towards moving larger volumes for profitability, making it difficult for us, as a lower-volume client, to receive the necessary attention. 

To address this, we had to think creatively and outside the box. For instance, we designed specialized packaging to keep the product cool and utilized Uber to transport products to areas where traditional logistics were not feasible. This approach allowed us to access demand that was already present but previously untapped, demonstrating a shift from a traditional marketing strategy to one focused on solving logistical challenges to unlock market potential.

How does your horticultural expertise help growers find the right solutions and navigate technical challenges?

My horticultural expertise was crucial in solving the entire process because I understood what the fruit needed for its journey. This knowledge allowed me to guide growers on the specifications needed for picking and the horticultural maturity required for optimal shelf life. It was essential to push the product through the supply chain within a certain number of days while ensuring it arrived at retailers sustainably and on time. I also advised growers on how to mitigate risks and expand shelf life. 

Once we had the product from the growers, I knew how to handle it logistically. For example, despite sounding unconventional, using Uber for the last mile delivery was a practical solution for shortening the time from farm to retailer. This minimized temperature fluctuations, which could affect the fruit's quality. Understanding where we could make alterations based on the fruit's horticultural abilities and knowing that some temperature fluctuations are less severe than others really made a big difference.

What can you tell us about your fruit and their growers?

Specializing mainly in the last few years, we have focused specifically on berries. The berry industry has grown exponentially during this time, providing valuable lessons for products that can follow a similar trajectory. Initially, our primary focus was on exports. However, it became increasingly important to consider what to do with the waste and unsuitable products. Building relationships with domestic retailers and exploring added value options such as freezing, drying, or powdering became crucial. As we expanded our focus to include the Kiwi industry, which is experiencing growth, we are already developing dried fruit and frozen fruit programs. 

These programs aim to cater to clients looking for ingredients for jams, juices, yogurts, and other products, requiring extensive research and development projects that can take 18 to 36 months to complete. Therefore, it is essential to start this process as soon as possible. As we expand into other products like figs and pomegranates, we have learned that while exports are vital, investing in added value options early on is crucial, considering that a significant portion of the product may not find a home immediately.

In what ways does your company foster connections and networking within the fruit industry to benefit growers and partners?

It may sound odd, but forming relationships with potential competitors can be crucial. This is not about breaking pricing regulations or antitrust laws but rather about collaborating to address common challenges. For example, there have been instances where changes in legislation affecting growers were published but not widely known. By maintaining good relationships with various industry partners, we can share such information and work together to find solutions. 

This proactive approach can involve simple actions, such as ensuring that testing laboratories are updated to include new requirements. While some may argue that growers should handle such issues themselves, we believe in lightening their load. With pressures like new legislation and rising costs, our aim is to support growers so they can focus on what they do best: producing high-quality products.

If you would like to find out more about C Fruit, please visit https://cfruit.co.za/

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We rank vendors based on rigorous testing and research, but also take into account your feedback and our commercial agreements with providers. This page contains affiliate links.Advertising DisclosureThis is a user-oriented comparison website, and we need to cover hosting and content costs, as well as make a profit. The costs are covered from referral fees from the vendors we feature. Affiliate link compensation does not affect reviews but might affect listicle pages. On these pages, vendors are ranked based on the reviewer’s examination of the service but also taking into account feedback from users and our commercial agreements with service providers. This website tries to cover important meal, coffee and pet food delivery services but we can’t cover all of the solutions that are out there. Information is believed to be accurate as of the date of each article.
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