Why is Acai so expensive?

Here is our perspective on why Acai prices are one of the expensive food items in the world and named as the 'Purple Gold'.

Where is Acai from

Acai pretty much thrives in one region, the South America Amazon rainforest. Açai palms are tall, slender trees growing to more than 25m tall, with leaves up to 3m long. The fruit is small, round, and black-purple in color.

Why is Acai so expensive?

1. Harvesting
After learning about where Acai is from, you will realise that there isn't much Acai around the world and the size/height of the Acai palms does not help.

To harvest açaí, harvesters need to climb up to 20 meters, scaling 10 to 15 trees daily to gather bundles of fruit weighing 10-15 kilograms. Carefully balancing the heavy fruit laden branches while safely lowering themselves to the ground, makes this a difficult and dangerous job.

On top of this, many natural weather conditions may also affect the harvest. For example drought or floods. When the supply is low, the prices will also be adjusted accordingly to the supplier terms.

2. Processing
All the harvested Acai have to be quickly brought back to manufacturing due to its perishable nature. Acai have about 72 hours to be picked and flash freezed to not lose its nutritional value such as omega fats and to ensure it will not turn rancid.

There are 2 types of typical processing method for Acai, flash freezing them into Pulps or drying them into Powder. Both of which methods can be costly for the manufacturing plant.

Both of the frozen pulps and dried powder are able to then continue to produce into the sorbets that you usually see in the market today and in our case in pint form.

3. Shipping
As South America is almost literally a full globe away from Singapore and in this case about 12000 nautical miles, the shipping fee will definitely cost quite a bit.

With the ongoing war on different regions, oil prices have been rising ever since 2022. Demand for shipping have also increased significantly during the pandemic which drives up the prices. Not to mention, as the frozen pulps and sorbets required special container that provides freezing capability, it is more expensive than a normal shipping container.

4. Warehousing & Delivery
Warehouses with cold rooms for storage have also faced high demands ever since the pandemic and have
faced shortage of space during the peak of the Russo-Ukraine war due to hoarding of food products. Electrical prices have also surged during this few years. This of course translates to higher cost for users like us renting spaces to store our Acai.

As the delivery requires frozen trucks or at least some cold equipment to deliver to houses and retail outlets such as supermarket, it can be rather costly to deliver them.

There are many other fees that are unavoidable such as platform fees but in this article, we shall keep it in terms of operations and logistics cost that drives up Acai prices.

Here at Smoof, we try to keep our prices as affordable and competitive so that everyone may enjoy this Amazonian superfood.

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