Supplier case studies

Fruto del Espiritu - Exotic fruit from Colombia

Fruto del Espiritu - exotic fruit from Colombia

Name: Rutie Stranack

Tell us a bit about yourself and your business
Having lived in Colombia for 18 months, I loved visiting the juice bars to try out all the incredible exotic fruits, and I realised that many of them - if they were known and available in the UK - could provide a viable and sustainable alternative for Colombian farmers.

Fruto del Espiritu was set up as a non-dividend company, with all profits dedicated to reinvestment in ethical projects within the Colombian exotic fruit industry.

We sell exotic fruit purees - Mango, Guava, Pineapple, Lulo (tastes like gooseberry or kiwi), Mora (Andean Blackberry) and Maracuyá (Passionfruit). These are ideal for fruit punches and cocktails (non-alcoholic as well as alcoholic), desserts and sweet and sour dishes.

All profits are being invested in financing a dried fruit product, processed by women victims of forced displacement (see photo below).

Our Lulo, Mora and Maracuyá are in leading cocktail bars, such as the Dorchester Hotel. We also have many Aficionado Customers, who take a Colombian fruit juice as one of their Five-a-Day, a commitment which finances the school matriculation fees of the young people whose parents work at our supplier's factory.

What or who inspires you?

Staff of Fruandes and their families
The two people I know personally who most inspire me are Nancy Centeno and Aura Amelia Abril.

Nancy is director of IMC, a charity which takes care of children at high risk, many psychologically damaged by violence, abuse, neglect or displacement.

Aura Amelia Abril, a town councillor, was displaced by an illegal armed group and her family had to leave her home for the capital Bogota and start over from scratch.

Turning her pain into courage, as illustrated on this online video, she has set up Fundamujer to help displaced women when they arrive in Bogota empty-handed and traumatised.

I admire every Colombian who has put their life at risk to stand up for justice and peace.

What do you enjoy most about running your business?
I most enjoy being able to do what I most passionately believe in. I love the moments when a teenager comes to grips with the fact that money spent on cocaine is financing kidnappings, massacres and landmines - when they present their very own Colombian cocktail recipes, with a really cool name and announce how much money from each drink is going to feed a child in Colombia; or when the factory employees' children write their messages of hope and inspiration for young people in the UK.

What is the most challenging aspect?
The most challenging aspect is being met with apathy, indifference or cynicism.

What do you feel you bring to an ethical wedding?
While the bride and groom are drinking to the happiest day of their lives and a bright future, the drink they are holding is part of a transformation offering hope to displaced families.

For all those who appreciate creativity, artistry and passion, hand-crafted cocktails offer a unique personal touch - these fruits are perfect for Mojitos!

With a professional Mixologist creating the drinks, you can offer your guests both luxurious drinks and entertainment at the same time. The Mixologist can also offer a service for stag and hen parties with the highest quality drinks, including exquisite non-alcoholic drinks as well as classics with a Latin twist and new contemporary style drinks - or a cocktail created especially to the specific tastes of the bride, groom or couple.

Exotic fruit canapés can also be supplied - even an excellent Colombian trio of musicians. If the budget is not quite as lavish, drinks recipes can also be supplied for mak ing up very simple but delicious cocktails by the jug, from as little as 40p per cocktail for unique non-alcoholic, ethical cocktails.

How do you see the wedding industry changing over the next five years (if at all)?
Couples want to create their special day in a personalised way that reflects their values and priorities and may very gently give food for thought to their guests. The trend is away from consumerism, and more importance on the significance and meaning of each aspect of the event.

With the internet enabling smaller, specialist companies to offer alternatives, every choice can make a difference, not just for the couple and their guests, but for those on the other side of the planet, to whom our solidarity and custom makes such a difference.

One bride, when recently asked about how all the arrangements were going for her wedding, said: "what I am most looking forward to is the marriage."

Our company supplies for weddings, but our dream is that Colombian fruit will be part of the celebrations on other special occasions or part of a healthy lifestyle - while turning around the lives of others.

Find out more about the culinary potential of Colombian fruits at www.cordonverde.com For more about the story behind the company, email for details.

Special Offer

Fruto del Espiritu is delighted to offer couples ordering a Taster Pack - 6-Bottle Mixed Case - by 30 September 2008 and quoting "Ethical Weddings" when asked for delivery instructions, 10% off the cost of fruit ordered for weddings celebrated by 30 September 2009.

Alternatively, if you prefer, we will put the 10% into the School Fees Account for the children of the fruit factory employees. The minimum order for weddings to benefit from this offer is £60.

Find out more about Fruto del Espiritu - exotic fruit from Colombia