Export-type tapioca

16 de maio de 2016

São Paulo – Typical Brazilian foods are often a good bet when it comes to exporting, and it has been no different for Casa Maní, a small company in the state of São Paulo. In business for only a year, the company exports batter for tapioca, a traditional food from Northeast Brazil, to seven different countries, and it is planning to branch out even further.

“We export to Japan, United States, Canada, United Kingdom, Spain, Australia and New Zealand. We are also in talks with South Korea,” says Casa Maní general manager Antonio Fadel. The company started exporting as soon as it launched its brand domestically, at the 2015 edition of the São Paulo Supermarkets Association Fair (Apas Fair).

“We met the importers at the Apas Fair. The first sale we closed was to Japan,” Fadel explains. Casa Maní’s flagship product is tapioca batter. “We offer a vacuum-packed line with a shelf life of 12 months and no preservatives. We also have a traditional line with preservatives and a six-month shelf life,” he says.

According to Fadel, Casa Maní is also working on developing a natural preservative to replace chemicals. Another of its products is tapioca bars. It is similar to regular cereal bars, only it’s cassava-based (like tapioca). “It’s a one-of-a-kind product on the market,” he stresses. The product was launched at the Apas Fair this year and, according to Fadel, “it’s being a hit.”

He explains that his company exports the vacuum-packed type of tapioca because it lasts longer. “Most of the time, 30% of the product’s shelf life is lost on paperwork and transportation,” he points out.

Casa Maní ships product to distributors and supermarkets abroad. Fadel explains that the batter is usually imported in order to supply Brazilian communities in those countries. However, the executive hopes to make tapioca an internationally known item.

“We need to advertise our product and brand overseas. Exporting affords you visibility,” Fadel says. Besides Apas, he says, the internet was a key international sales outlet. In addition to its website in Brazilian Portuguese, Casa Maní has pages in English and Spanish. The company also offers labels in English that were specially designed for the United States market.

Casa Maní currently produces 18 tons of tapioca batter a day, but has an output capacity for 50 tons a day. “Right now, 12% of production gets shipped abroad, but the goal is to reach 25% to 30%,” says Fadel.

The primary market for the enterprise is the United States, but Casa Maní is working to take its tapioca batter to other parts of the world. It has been to a trade show in Cuba, an agriculture workshop in Costa Rica, a congress on cassava in China, and this week it is going on a business mission to Colombia and Panama.

The Arab market is also in the plans. “We are interested in going to the Gulfood. Going to expos will give your product visibility,” said Fadel, referencing the Middle East’s premier foodstuffs expo, held annually in Dubai, the United Arab Emirates.

“The Arab market is a very interesting one, because there’s a lot of money in it. I envision an opportunity to incorporate our product into Arab cuisine,” Fadel says. The company is also in the process of obtaining halal certification, an attestation that its product is made in accordance with Islamic law.

This year, Fadel is expecting to gross BRL 20 million in revenues. However, he hopes to max out production capacity at his plant soon, which should drive that number up to BRL 70 million.

According to Fadel, his family is Italian, but has Syrian roots. Casa Maní has 40 staff and is located in the city of Tarabai, São Paulo.

Casa Maní
Phone: +55 18 3289-1168

*Translated by Gabriel Pomerancblum