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Hailing from Brazil, Gabriel spent his childhood in a countryside city, surrounded by nature and farms.

Now, as he lives in Singapore, surrounded by skyscrapers, he’s bringing a piece of that here through his business, The Berry Spot.

At 17, Gabriel had packed up and left to study business administration, which cultivated his passion for sustainability and fairtrade practices.

He went on to experience different cultures, living in countries like Taiwan and India, and different cities in Brazil, before finally settling in Singapore, where he lives with his wife and son.

Image Credit: The Berry Spot

But why settle here? Gabriel shared that on top of his wife’s work opportunities in Singapore, the choice also matched his dream to spread the benefits of açaí to more people in Asia.

“As a typical Brazilian who grew up practising sports and eating açaí frequently, I want to spread this habit and show that açaí can be much more than a dessert and its power can go far beyond the nutritive aspects,” he said.

Gabriel elaborated, “I have always been passionate about sustainability and fairtrade, and The Berry Spot comes from an old dream to build something that could cause impact and benefit the whole chain, from local communities, to consumers and workers.”

Making his old dreams a present reality, he founded The Berry Spot in August 2022.

Supercharging superfoods

As its name alludes to, The Berry Spot is all about açaí berries as well as other “rainforest superfoods”, which refer to superfoods from the Amazon forest.  

Beyond health benefits, these superfoods are also transforming the economic dynamics in the Amazon forest, where people are shifting from activities that harm the forest to ones that recover it.

But açaí berry isn’t uncommon in Singapore anymore. Gabriel himself recognises this, saying that the superfood market has grown a lot over the years.

Image Credit: The Berry Spot

However, he thinks that just because the market is saturated doesn’t mean that it’s saturated with the right things.

“Every day thousands will try açaí for the first time and some players take advantage of this to offer açaí-based products with low fruit concentration—overly sweetened, and frequently overpriced,” he pointed out.

Thus, Gabriel saw potential to bring in an authentic, higher-quality product that’s still accessible and easy to consume in Southeast Asia.

Not only would this solution contribute towards the Amazon’s economy, it would also allow The Berry Spot to practise sustainable sourcing practices.

Image Credit: The Berry Spot

Aside from that, The Berry Spot also intends to stand out by allowing customers the freedom to choose unlimited toppings without paying extra for them.

They’re also launching other açaí based products such as beverages and ingredients for the retail and food service sector.

“I believe it opens a world of possibilities for new recipes and I am sure our clients will come with great and innovative ways of consuming açaí,” Gabriel determined.

Berry-picking for the right partners

The Berry Spot’s journey has not been easy, the founder admitted. There have been many challenges in terms of logistics, especially as they are sourcing high-quality ingredients that require proper storage and transportation.

“Additionally, being a solo founder in a foreign country meant that I had to wear multiple hats and overcome cultural and language barriers to establish partnerships,” Gabriel opened up.

Image Credit: The Berry Spot

To overcome these challenges, the founder focused on building a robust network of suppliers and logistics partners and started attending events to expand his personal network in Singapore.

Still, the team faces obstacles in expanding the business while maintaining the high standards of quality and customer experience. This is coupled by increasing costs in the economy, which requires Gabriel to carefully manage expenses while continuing to invest in innovation and sustainability.

Moving forward, though, Gabriel anticipates franchising to be a big part of the business model.

“We have been specialising in sourcing and creating healthy products and solutions and the best way to spread it and increase our impact is by partnering with those who know their community, culture, and habits,” he said.

Essentially, The Berry Spot is seeking to work with people who can be ambassadors of the business’s values and vision.

“I believe this synergy will help us to reach more people with more speed and consistency,” Gabriel said.

X marks the spot

Starting The Berry Spot, he had a capital of around S$100K, funding from the team’s own pockets as well as some capital raised from friends and family.

“This was the only money we had access to, so we had no choice other than being profitable fast,” he said.

With this mentality, The Berry Spot’s model is based on reducing the space needed and automating processes to reduce manpower—two substantial costs in Singapore.

Gabriel said that their outlet reached operational breakeven in the third month. From there, they upped their focus on efficiency, and have reached over 23% EBITDA in Q1 of 2024.  

“While we are currently profitable with a solid and sustainable business model for the food service, we are preparing for a seed round to fuel our expansion into new markets, and launch new products to B2C and B2B clients,” he said.

Image Credit: The Berry Spot

Looking ahead, The Berry Spot has goals to expand its presence in Singapore by opening new outlets in strategic locations, which would be supported by its franchise model.

But beyond the island, Gabriel aims to enter new markets within the Southeast Asian region, diversifying their product offerings to cater to different consumer preferences and needs.

“Ultimately, our goal is to establish The Berry Spot as a leading provider of açaí and rainforest superfoods across Asia, becoming a brand synonymous with health and sustainability,” he shared.  

  • Learn more about The Berry Spot here.
  • Read other articles we’ve written about F&B businesses here.

Featured Image Credit: The Berry Spot

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