From: Beverage Industry Magazine, April 2011 (Page 52)
INNOVATOR IN TROPICAL FRUITS
iTi Tropicals, Inc. has led the way in tropical fruit juices, concentrates and purees since the
company's inception in 1988, and has been enhancing the value it brings to customers ever
since. The visionary behind the company, Gert van Manen, founded iTi because he believed that
U.S. beverage consumers could be enticed to move from mostly soda, orange and apple juice
to tropical fruit beverages. He also believes that focus is critical, and the company continues to
import solely tropical fruit products for its customers.
Driving product innovation was important from the beginning. For example, in 1988 banana
puree was primarily used for baby food and bakery products. Today, banana is in demand for
beverages due to its flavor and texture. Van Manen continues to encourage his customers to
innovate, seeing similar opportunities for food and beverage companies to bring other tropical
fruits to the consumer.
iTi directly supports customer innovation through its industry leading technical depth. The
R&D staff includes a Ph.D. food scientist and a highly experienced food technologist. Both
prospective and existing customers are encouraged to take advantage of the company's R&D
kitchen, located in iTi's Amsterdam canal house inspired buildings in Lawrenceville, N.J. The team
and the workspace are catalysts for the creative process, encouraging customers to discover new
applications and formulations.
Once a product is preparing for launch, iTi's worldwide network of processors is tapped for the
tropical ingredients needed to supply production. Twenty-two years ago the challenge was to find
a factory in Asia or Sough America that could produce product of a quality that was acceptable
to the U.S. market. Today, the company has many excellent processors and the iTi team
continuously travels to India, Indonesia, Thailand, Ecuador, Peru and other countries. By visiting
the plantations and processing plants, iTi gains an understanding of local, regional and global
trends in every aspect of production from weather and crop forecasts to competition and cultural
issues. For example, in the current economic climate, oil prices impact biodiesel production,
which flows to food commodity prices, requiring constant attention and business adjustments.
iTi works to educate its customers regarding the impacts of these variables on their products, as
well as the specific sourcing and application characteristics of the individual fruit products.
iTi Tropicals sees a bright future for the company and for the demand of tropical fruit
products in the United States. Changing demographics and trends toward healthier eating
will likely increase demand, and iTi has even shed some less promising products to
focus on its core products: banana, coconut cream, coconut water, passion fruit,
guava, mango, mangosteen, acai, papaya, pineapple, acerola, camu camu, tamarind and soursop.
While the company embraces change and creativity, it also is committed to consistency in
relationships. That is the philosophy that sustainability starts with loyalty; loyalty to its valued
processors, customers and employees. iTi Tropicals is always eager to be the supplier of choice
for tropical fruit juices, concentrates and purees and welcomes inquiries regarding the benefits
customers can realize throuhg its products and services.