Dehydrated fruit in Cuba?

The answer is yes, and it’s not down to the climate. A group of five enterprising friends in the Cuban capital have become pioneers in the production of dehydrated products based on tropical fruits.

Patricia Ramos, Oscar Fernández, Maylex Darias, Ingrid López and Ricardo Fernández are the kind of entrepreneurs who never give up. Even during the worst moments with the suspension of economic activities in the country due to the COVID-19 pandemic, they managed to come up with good ideas and start up a bio-health enterprise.

Because of the coronavirus, tourism came to a stop, and with zero arrivals of visitors to the island, Patricia and Oscar saw their normal means of personal income practically disappear. Thus, they came up with the idea of trying new things and investing in a unique business in Cuba. Deshidratados Habana was born in the initial months of the pandemic, by the hand of these four friends.

Concerned about the anxiety generated by the quarantine, they decided to launch a line of healthy products that were pleasant to the palate, easy to preserve and that would awaken the healthy eating bug in their customers.

Although they recognize that the market segment interested in these products in Cuba is currently very small, they are committed to the challenge of promoting a culture of healthy eating. This at a time when many basic needs must be met at very high prices, and maintaining a healthy and varied diet is almost a luxury.

Deshidratados Habana’s catalog includes more than ten natural products, with no added sugar or preservatives, based on four fruits: lemon, pineapple, coconut and banana, and they recently announced a new line using tomato. Experimenting, they have tested almost 80 products and have achieved some 50 successful processes. So far, the small production capacity, which is entirely handmade, and the instability of the fruit market means they can only maintain this limited offer.

“We started out based on the concept that our catalog has to be available all the time. We don’t want, for example, to put out an offer today of papaya or mamey, and have to tell a customer that we don’t have it because we couldn’t get the fruit,” they explain.

They’ve established alliances with delivery enterprises such as Bicineo and Mandao, to take their products to their customers’ homes, although some prefer to pick them up personally at the store.

About to celebrate their first year in business, these entrepreneurs are demonstrating that despite the lack of culture on this subject in the country, it is possible to awaken people’s interest in healthy food. Rescuing that will continue to be their challenge.

“We will get closer to a more effective model as we manage to promote, together with the efforts made by other enterprises and the media, more and more people opting for healthy food, as long as there is a choice,” they assure.

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