Six years after introducing its high-quality, Greek-style yogurt to the Puerto Rican market, Orgánica Yogurt announced its decision to close down the business effective Tuesday.
Local entrepreneur and company founder Antonio Luis Castro-Barreto took to Orgánica Yogurt’s Facebook page to make the announcement Tuesday morning, in which he cited the “rapid growth of its product coverage without outside capital, increased operating expenses, a decrease in sales due to the economic crisis, the proliferation of foreign yogurt franchises and the inability of the spheres of government to lend us a hand” as the main reasons for the decision.
“We thank you infinitely for having chosen us and join us in this journey that encouraged the creation of jobs, local manufacturing and movement of our economy, which we all need. We are at your service,” he told the page’s more than 6,500 fans.
In 2006, at 23, Castro-Barreto began developing his idea of creating a healthy, different and natural yogurt made entirely in Puerto Rico. With no culinary experience, he began to burn milk and read about fermentation and bacterial cultures.
Initially, he produced 20 units per week, but as he steadily continued to polish his recipe, demand increased and it he began diversifying its flavors. As of 2011, Orgánica Yogurts was producing 100,000 yogurt units annually in 12 flavors, including coffee, chocolate, mango and passion fruit, all 100 percent natural fruit with no preservatives or additives.
His client roster included coffee shops and bakeries islandwide, including Los Cidrines, Café Cuatro Sombras and Starbucks. Most recently, Orgánica Yogurt began selling on supermarket shelves, including SuperMax and Wal-Mart.
The company also had its own store located at its manufacturing facilities in Trujillo Alto.
Attempts to reach Castro-Barreto have been unsuccessful this morning.