How does one become a berry specialist? We posed this questions to Serge Kisin, the founder of A Kissing Tree, a Hong Kong company established in 2017 with a mission to bring the world’s best berries to Hong Kong and Asia Pacific.
“Everyone has a story about how they started their small business. For us it was as organic as our berries”
As a little boy growing up in Yugoslavia, now Serbia, Serge played with kids on the street and frequently picked wild berries, which were growing near his grandparents’ house. They were mostly wild blackberries called “kupine” in Serbian.
Moving with his parents to Toronto, Canada due to a civil war that broke out in Yugoslavia, things changed. The fruits in Canada were massive and tasted like water: in short, GMO. Eventually ending up in Hong Kong and going to B-school, his feelings of nostalgia for the taste of wild berries never changed.
He said “unlike Canada & Europe, Asia’s economy and F&B sector were bustling and there was a real demand for high quality fruits from Europe. Even 2 years in, the snacking ‘competition’ is filled with sugary and non-organic fruits. The power of our small business is the ability to change that.”
In Hong Kong, A Kissing Tree is involved in the community and provides its support to a growing vegetarian and vegan community and frequently takes parts in Health & Fitness festivals like Iris to help promote healthier lifestyles via high quality organic fruits.
Apart from that, their business is modern and that means they are eco-conscious: using plastic free packaging and offering a glass recycling discount program for its consumers. Some of the bigger businesses can take a note on that definition of ‘modern.’
We pose another question. How many people in Hong Kong can be honest and say they haven’t thrown out fresh organic berries they paid +70hkd because they got moulded sitting in the fridge?
‘It’s perfectly understandable that we are busy and it’s ok. That is exactly why we believe in freeze-drying our berries as they get to keep their nutritional integrity while having a longer shelf-life. And if you count that 10g of freeze-dried berries are equal in weight to a 100g of fresh berries you can really see the advantage of our pricing model even though our goal is never to compete with fresh fruits. Rather, we want to be in your smoothies bowls, your blenders, and ultimately in your tummies!”