The Catalan company’s sales grew by 12% in the critical year of 2020 and the trend in 2021 is following the same route.
Fruit Today euromagazine talked to the businessman, Diego Martínez about the current season and its development.
How is the shortage of stone fruit affecting a company like yours with such a long-standing tradition in this category?
It is an unusual situation, but I must say that it is bringing much more flexibility to the market because everything that reaches us is sold quickly and with good prices. Therefore, the volumes are lower, but the invoicing is higher.
You are highly specialised in exports, not only to nearby countries, such as France or Italy, but also to some more distant destinations, such as the former Soviet Republics. Are these trade lines continuing?
The truth is that due to the shortage of produce, the nearer the export country, the better.
At the beginning of the campaign, we experienced an important demand from Greece and now we are seeing how sales to Italy are quite strong because there is a shortage of large-sized fruit there. The same is happening with the French demand.
Are the new outbreaks causing any changes commercially?
At present, we haven’t noticed any changes, since the activity is continuing at the same rate, but we have retraced our steps and as a company we are once again putting stricter safety measures back on the table – the ones we had in place at the worst point of the lockdown. Personally, I still have a great deal of respect for this situation. I am completely convinced that we cannot let our guard down.
How have the two most important categories, tomatoes and citrus fruits, behaved?
At the moment, we are working with very significant volumes of Dutch tomatoes, mainly vine tomatoes, with not excessively high prices.
In citrus fruits, we are reaching the end of the Spanish campaign and the Egyptian juice orange season and we will soon start marketing the first Navel oranges from South Africa. We hope that the social disturbances in the country will not cause a break in the stock or problems leaving the ports, although at the moment, things don’t look too good.
How do you see Mercabarna’s future?
I think that we are very lucky to be working in one of the markets with greatest presence in Europe. A refurbishment has been carried out which, although it has taken a long time, has not caused any incidents in the trading area. Today, virtually all the stands are panelled and refrigerated. We know that Mercabarna is a market that is looking to the future and which also is ahead of many food trends that society is going to demand.