It took four years of research on hibiscus flowers, a plant of African and Asian origin well adapted to Brazil, before businessman Fernando Gama established Flor dos Hibiscus (Hibiscus Flower), a brand that produces and sells organic food like jelly, chutneys, spreads, chilli sauces and seasoning based on the plant that is rich in vitamins and minerals.
The products have organic certification and are traded in Minas Gerais and São Paulo. In 2007, some samples were shipped to importers in Germany and Sweden. Now Gama, who hails from the southeastern Brazilian state of Minas Gerais, is seeking an investor for expansion of production and to enter the foreign market.
"Hibiscus tea is greatly appreciated in Europe and Asia. The Arabs, especially, greatly appreciate hibiscus tea, which they have used for millennia. There we have guaranteed demand," stated the businessman.
"I recently also heard that in Saudi Arabia alone there are eight fast-food factories. That is a wonderful market for our chutney, which tastes better than tomato ketchup and is 100% organic," he pointed out.
According to the businessman, the potential clients are supermarkets, delicatessens and natural product shops. "We can also supply raw material for the food industry, like the yoghurt and juice industry, as the plant is rich in calcium, mucilage and antioxidants. Different from green tea, it has no caffeine and may be drunk at night," he points out.
Production is at an organic farm belonging to the company in the city of Mateus Leme, 80 kilometers away from state capital Belo Horizonte. The current area is 40 hectares, but it may be expanded to 300 hectares.
"We have several producers in the region who are interested in making land available at no cost. What we need is a partner to expand production and promote our product abroad. We may develop a line of products from the savannah of Minas. We are even planning the release of a bamboo shoot in hibiscus vinegar by the end of the year," he said.
One of the company strategies to attract attention on the foreign market is participation in fairs like Biofach Latin America. At the end of May, Flor dos Hibiscus should also be among the exhibitors at Rio Orgânica, an organic product fair to take place in Rio de Janeiro.
Hibiscus flowers are rich in vitamins A and C and in minerals calcium, magnesium and iron. They contain photochemical flavonoids, high levels of anthocyanins (hibiscine, cyanidin, delphinin) and significant levels of food fibers and mucilage aiding operation of the lower intestine.
Apart from that, it has enzymes that act favorably in the blood pressure metabolism, in the control of carbohydrates (glucose) and lipids both in the blood flow and in the lower intestine.
Dehydrated hibiscus flowers serve as relaxants, with antioxidant properties, the capacity to eliminate sugars and fats from the organism, as well as being a great source of calcium. Hibiscus tea with mulberry also conserves phytotherapeutic properties like stimulation of the hormone system in women.
According to Gama, jellies and chutneys are produced out of organic and natural sugar, like brown sugar, which was not washed in the centrifuge, conserving the honey coating that covers the crystals.
Flor do Hibisco (Hibiscus Flower)
Telephone: (+55 11) 3285-3077