Name: Sambazon
Location: San Clemente CA, USA
Founded in: 2000

Ryan Black
CEO and co-founder

SAMBAZON EXISTS TO PROVIDE A WIN-WIN SOLUTION that helps protect the Amazon Rainforest by providing the people living in this environment an economically viable reason to protect it by bringing one of the few truly sustainable Amazon Rainforest products, Acai, to a wider international market. This healthy palm fruit is wild harvested and has fantastic health benefits such as being one of the few commercially sold fruits with virtually no naturally occurring sugar, antioxidants similar to red wine, and healthy omega fatty acids similar to olives.

About Agrobiodiversity

With this amazing berry, we care for the people we work with, the planet we live on, and the prosperity of everyone involved

Sambazon is protecting the Amazon Rainforest by giving the natural forest a monetary value. If the people living in this region can make a good sustainable living off of the intact forest, there is less pressure to cut it down for lumber, farm on it for a few years, then run cattle over it and turn it into a desert which will never be as productive and subsequently becomes valueless. 


Sambazon also aims to ensure that its factories in Brazil are following the most modern sustainable processing methods available. As the company owns and operates these factories, the employees can ensure the energy used is from sustainable sources, pollution of any sort is mitigated, and they can also select the most environmentally friendly transport available.


Protecting the rainforest protects the plants and animals found in this rainforest, Sambazon is also supporting independent biodiversity research in Brazil on harvesting land, looking specifically at the threatened and endangered flora and fauna to see if there are any additional specific steps they can take to protect biodiversity.

Business Model

Sambazon is a vertically integrated manufacturer, featuring a supply chain from the forest, where their ingredients grow, to retail cafés and thousands of third party retailers who sell the finished product.


The main character of Sambazon’s supply chain is Açai. Açaí a palm fruit (Euterpe Oleracea). It is a top-ranked wild harvest staple food in urban and rural areas of the Amazon estuary, this tree is of major economic importance on both the private and regional level. Açai represents up to 30% of rural people living in the Amazon’s energy intake. Less then 10% of the Açai growing wild in the Amazon is harvested for human consumption and of the less then 10% is exported. Unfortunately, today technological tools to track the supply chain are limited in the rainforest primarily due to poor internet coverage. 


Currently a team of dedicated Sambazon employees travel into these remote areas by boat and work directly with these harvesters to ensure they are following the Sambazon policies of -no child labor, no damaging activities for the forest (clear cutting for farms, illegal mining, harming endangered or threatened animals/plants), paying their workers a fair wage, and democratic community involvement with cost share programs. Sambazon employees  also teach safe harvesting practices and sustainable management of the rainforest. 


The following are the main practices or steps in Sambazon’s supply chain: 


– The company identifies potential harvesting areas and negotiates directly with the communities that are currently harvesting Acai in this area.


– Sambazon certifies the harvesting area under USDA Organic and Fair-trade regulations. This land in the Amazon rainforest may have many different ownership structures, including government owned/protected to privately held. Sambazon does not own land in the rainforest


– The wild harvested fruit from these growers/harvesters is brought to the company’s ultra-modern factories in Brazil for processing into puree; this must happen within 72 hours of harvest to prevent spoilage


– This acai is processed into frozen puree for export for further processing or turned into ready to eat (RTE) products


– Sambazon then distributes and sells the acai products around the world


A  percentage of the purchase price of the fruit is reinvested in the communities to finance development projects identified by the communities themselves. With this benefit-sharing mechanism, Sambazon has built, schoolrooms, nursing centers, cafeterias and sports centers in the rural communities of their suppliers.