R&D+i to obtain the same flavour in avocados

Alcoaxarquía is developing research to homogenise the fruit quality through the use of different patterns and input consumptions depending on the region

Working with fresh produce is not an easy task. When dealing with a production of over 20,000 tonnes of avocados from such different sources as Spain and Peru, managing to get two fruits that have the same flavour and nutritional properties might seem an impossible task. But Alcoaxarquía has set out the challenge of obtaining this, and it is moving in the right direction. Alongside the Instituto de Hortofruticultura Subtropical y Mediterránea La Mayora (IHSM) belonging to the Higher Council for Scientific Research (CSIC in its Spanish acronym) it is carrying out research to homogenise the quality and the organoleptic properties of the fruit using different patterns in terms of the region and the climate, as well as nutritional control of both the plant and the fruit. Currently, they have trials in Peru and several regions of Spain, to extend the crop areas and to achieve their challenge of providing quality fruit 12 months of the year with the same flavour, controlling all the processes, from sowing to marketing.

The company is immersed in a growth strategy both in Spain and in Peru, where they expect to increase production by 40%, equivalent to 6,200 tonnes, and an increase in overall invoicing of 30%, reaching 45 million € at the close of this year. In 2021, they invested 1 million euros in technology, such as on a packaging robot. And in the Latin American country they have built their own handling plant with a capacity for 500 containers.

In total, they are adding 1,200 ha for growing avocados, mangos and citrus fruits between Spain and Peru. And they recall: “we are in another league altogether, Alcoaxarquía is organic (the remaining conventional farms are in the middle of a conversion process). In addition to their regular range, this year they are also selling custard apples from farmers they are working with.

Another new development by the company is the attainment of the fourth renewal of the Global G.A.P. Sprint that guarantees their good water management. A certificate that is “very difficult to obtain and to keep,” which is added to others they hold on a social level such as Grasp, Smeta, etc.

“China could flip the coin over”

José Antonio Alconchel, CEO of the company, assures that “there is a growth margin for avocado sales amongst ‘mileuristas’ (thousand-euro-earners). You only have to look at the up to 50% increase when supermarkets start up promotions.” On the other part of the chain, production, the ups and downs that are being seen regarding prices in recent years will become less and less frequent due to the continuous incorporation of new agents in the sector. Traditional sources such as Mexico and Peru have been joined by others such as Colombia and Morocco, but things could soon become more complicated with the commitment by China, which shows a growing demand for avocados by its consumers. “They have a 5,000 km long coastline suitable for the crop and they have nurseries in Mexico and the USA working at full capacity. If they decide to commit to this product, it could flip the coin over,” Juan Becerra, Manager of Alcoaxarquia indicates.

The company from Malaga, through its subsidiary, Alcoaxarquía Peru, already has its spotlight trained on the Asian market, where they operate in countries like Korea and Japan. They are also opening up the door to the North American market next year using operators in the region.

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