Innovation is the driver behind the Group’s growth and, over the last year, the new developments contributed 15% to its overall invoicing
Amongst other launches, the ready-to-eat sliced fruit and other trending products such as the ‘ultra-fresh’, ready-to-eat on the same day salads, prepared using premium ingredients in a cardboard package or the 100% vegetable spreadable snacks all stand out.
Likewise, 2019 was a year full of momentum and consolidation of the Sun&Vegs and Byba brands. Sun&Vegs is present in the main distribution chains in Portugal and Spain, and distribution has started in Italy and Switzerland.
Furthermore, the company is making a significant effort to improve the sustainability of the packaging and therefore looking after the environment. For this reasons, since 2019, all the ready-to-eat salad trays are 100% recyclable and contain 70% of r-PET from recycled material, which means an important saving in the use of virgin raw material.
In 2019, the Grupo Alimentario Citrus obtained an overall invoicing of 324 million euros, 5% more than in the previous year. The consolidation of the Growing project, focused on sustainable growth, international expansion and diversification of markets has allowed this growth to continue.
“2019 has been a relevant year for the group’s international expansion. It has been a year of integrating new business, of consolidating our position in Europe and strengthening our aim of becoming the fresh and healthy produce company that is preferred by clients and consumers,” Rafael Boix, CEO of the Group states.
Present on 30 markets
GAC’s international invoicing meant 40% of its total sales, reaching over 30 different markets on 4 continents.
The incorporation of the European companies Novanatura (Italy) and Josef Müller (Switzerland), along with the German Thurländer, which joined in 2018, has allowed a key area of business to be strengthened: the ready-to-eat or ready-to-cook segment.
Sweet corn, a booming category
The company from Murcia Agromediterránea, another of the firms in GAC, marketed around 2,300 tonnes of sweet corn, grown on 132 hectares, in open fields and in greenhouses in the areas of Campo de Cartagena, Yecla, Calasparra (Murcia) and Albacete. The crop grown in greenhouses, implanted 2 years ago, means that they can get ahead of the campaign with this produce and it can be available for longer on the market.
This fresh sweet corn reaches the main distribution chains in Spain and Europe, arriving at a total of 10,000 points of sale.
Sweet corn is presented on two-unit trays, with the leaves removed. Therefore, the corn on the cob preselected for consumers is ready for preparing on barbecues or as a garnish. In this way, the produce is not only offered fresh, but also 100% useable.
The company also offers specific formats and products for channels such as Foodservice, as well as crops for the pre-prepared industry (processing), with varieties such as tender shoots of baby red Batavia, baby lollorosso, rocket, baby spinach or lambs’ lettuce, amongst others.
Sun&Vegs continues extending its range with healthy products. Therefore, at the end of 2019 it launched ‘es coco’ (it is coconut) in Spain, the latest development in the vegetable dessert category.
The launch of ‘es coco’ extends the family of vegetable desserts started with ‘es avena’ (it is oats), the oat dessert that now has several flavours on its catalogue, amongst them, natural, red berries or fig and the new version with 0% added sugar.
Both ‘es avena’ and ‘es coco’ are presented in a practical 125 gram format, in two-packs and they are available in the main supermarket chains throughout Spain.
The microwaveable ready-to-cook fresh vegetable dishes, developed alongside Sonae, have new more complete versions with chicken or falafel, with extra protein. The recipe of vegetables with quinoa and falafel has been awarded flavour of the year 2020 in Portugal.