Innovation and consumer demand: the strategic priority of Patatas Meléndez

MELENDEZ

Patatas Meléndez has been developing intense field work and innovation, aimed at responding to the market requirements and continuing to be the leading Spanish company in the sector

Fruit of this work, and after some market research, Meléndez, as it will present at Fruit Attraction, has reached the neighbouring country, Portugal, with the creation of a company which is about to come into operation. The CEO of the company, Javier Meléndez, has assured that the aim of this new venture is, “with roots in Portugal, to market potatoes from this country during the production months and to encourage European exports.”

Meléndez will present more innovations during the trade fair, such as the new design of ‘La Reina de las Patatas’ (The Queen of Potatoes), a brand with which it offers potatoes grown by Spanish farmers who use sustainable and environmentally-friendly criteria.

According to Javier Meléndez, “our priority is to offer a product with maximum quality and freshness; to do this, we adapt the production to the current demand by consumers and we opt for innovation throughout the process.” In order to offer this fresh product, the company is using its Agronomic and R&D+i departments to develop an Agricultural Plan. This initiative consists of planning different harvests all over Spanish territory and, in this way, be able to offer consumers fresh, quality potatoes throughout the year from May onwards. The Plan contemplates trade agreements and assessment to bring added value to the productions of the over 500 farmers who work for the company.

In this innovation process within the sector and for fresh produce, Patatas Meléndez will also publicise a line of prepared products based on yams at Fruit Attraction. This is a product with an important amount of natural fibre, Vitamin C and a high Inulin content, which acts as a probiotic, helping with digestion; therefore, it has been qualified by nutritional experts as the “Super Food 2020.” Meléndez is presenting it in several cut formats, from Spanish omelettes, crisps, noodles, tacos, ears, mini ears and healthy snacks.

Another of the new developments by the company, which handles 20% of the Spanish production of this tuber, is the new line of ready-to-eat dishes with all their guarantees of freshness, healthy eating and being quick to prepare. Under their brand ‘The Melfarm’ they are offering dishes prepared with potatoes, enriched with other vegetables such as broccoli, green beans or carrots. A proposal that is added to the Microwavable line, a fresh potato with a fast preparation method and which, at the same time, maintains the product’s organoleptic characteristics.

There will be no lack of innovations in packaging at this fair, such as the new 100% recyclable paper bag, made using wood from sustainable forests. Patatas Meléndez is continuously innovating to adapt the packaging to the demands of ‘woke consumers’. A result of this is the commitment to smaller-sized formats that are easier to handle – 3 and 5 kilos – and that are more sustainable, biodegradable or reusable. The strategic goal of the leading company in the potato sector over the next three years is the reduction of plastic by at least 20%. An example of this commitment is the bio-compostable bag, unique in the potato sector, which is gradually being incorporated.

Patatas Meléndez is immersed in the digitalisation of the entire production process. An initiative with which they intend, according to Javier Meléndez, “to reach a greater professionalisation in potato growing.”

The digitalisation of Patatas Meléndez will culminate with the start up of a new factory, of over 21,000 m², alongside its current installations in Medina del Campo (Valladolid) and that will include the most innovative, most efficient technology. The future new installations will incorporate the digital transformation available on the market, and the company intends to build a potato blockchain that will guarantee the complete traceability of each product. “It will be possible to identify the exact source of the potato that is going to be eaten and all the selection processes carried out until it reaches the table in Spanish households,” Meléndez indicated.

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