The company started its activity in this segment a year ago at the Cota 120 premises
Currently, Unica’s processing factory has two production lines with a daily capacity of 40,000 kg of raw material. They are working on this project alongside their partners, Vegetales Línea Verde Navarra, participated in by the AN group and La Línea Verde, with wide-spread experience in pre-prepared product. Fruit Today interviewed Juan Marín, managing director of Cota 120.
How has the pandemic influenced this year’s forecasts for the pre-prepared range?
During the early weeks of Covid-19, sales shot up, but after the first moments, they dropped by around 15%. We hope to recover this slight fall once the health situation gets back to normal. The pre-prepared range means 8 million euros in invoicing. The percentage is still only a small part of Unica’s total business (we will end the campaign with an invoicing of over 475 million euros), but it is becoming increasingly more important.
The growth curve of bagged salads is tending to flatten, whilst we are seeing how complete salads and microwavable products are on the rise. What are the growth prospects?
Bagged salads still have a way to go, with better processes in the field, which are going to mean an improvement in the end product. Regarding investments, our plan has not been modified, although during these months we are being cautious and are delaying some decisions until next autumn. In the near future, we will extend the salad range and we are currently in the preparing to open another pre-prepared range factory for materials other than leafed produce.
What is your policy regarding packaging?
We are in the process of implanting a new biodegradable and compostable bag for the bagged salad range. Unica is endlessly seeking the best solutions to combine food safety and sustainability.
What other trends will we see in the sector over the next few years?
Mealkits, DIY or, at least, giving a last preparation touch to dishes, the growing trend in ecological produce, the recent upturn in e-commerce, the ‘cocooking’ phenomenon… the trends can change in terms of the situation we are living in. Local produce, European source and cooperatives may also be trends linked to these values demanded by consumers. In any case, Unica always remains vigilant in order to be able to respond as soon as possible.