Acai Berry Foods brings super fruit to Europe


Bars and cafes which focus on a single product can generate a loyal clientele, when executed correctly. RetailWatch talks to Renato Damiano about a key clean-eating trend based around a humble berry.


Evolving preferences for simpler, cleaner diets have led to a boom in the popularity of juice bars and vegetarian cafes, as well as restaurants that serve one food, done well, according to recent research from JLL.

Acai Berry Foods – The Amazon Boost, a superfood bar created by Renato Damiano and Marcus Carmo, is the latest example of this, established not only to take advantage of the trend for clean eating but also to focus on creating a single, superior product.

A juicy story

‘Acai berry, which originates in the Brazilian rainforests, has lots of impressive health benefits and is a completely natural product, rich in antioxidants,’ says Damiano, CEO and founder of this new concept. ‘It also fits with veganism and many diets with intolerance issues. In my stores, we sell Acai berry in juice form and also an Acai berry fruit bowl, which contains up to 70% of the original fruit.

‘This is a huge departure for the Acai berry market in Europe, where until now, most of the fruit sold has been frozen pulp – which is only 4% - 11% max of Acai. The rest is water – or powder. To get the powder you need to essentially burn the berry, which robs it of nutrients.’

Brazilian-born Damiano moved to London 11 years ago, looking for a new start in life. ‘We built this business from scratch,’ he says. ‘We have studied the market for the past five years to launch Acai Berry Foods, with the successful pop-up in Brick Lane. We are now focusing on growing organically.

‘At the moment, we have two permanent stores in the heart of London, in Argyll Street and Carnaby Street, and we’re planning to open our third store in south-west London before summer. We’re launching our flagship store in Ibiza on May 1st.

Organic growth

‘The popularity of the fruit bowls is down to our secret recipe and our ability to source the best quality berries,’ adds Damiano. ‘You will never see the raw berry available in stores – it has to be frozen at source in Brazil, within hours of being picked from the palm tree to have it at its finest.

‘While the trend for the fruit is huge in the US, Brazil and Australia, it’s taken a while to grow in popularity here. Our strategy is to open across Europe, in the Middle East and in Asia.

‘A franchise model recently sold to the USA, with further franchises opening in Middle East and India.

We’re also receiving lots of interest in Europe, with potential franchisees in Greece, Italy and Germany. We are the first company to bring the real Acai berry to Europe and I know we have uncovered a winning formula. We just want to grow with care, so I can make a success of it.’