Fruit Today magazine talked to Alberto Prieto, the company’s Sales Manager, who gave us the keys to the campaign that is just starting.
After a season in which a shortage of produce was the main point of the campaign, what does Frutaria expect of this season? Could you specify by production areas for me?
We think that this year, given the current date (mid-April), there should not be any bad weather conditions on the same scale as last season. In fact, in the north, the trees are well-rested and strong, and it seems that the production will be within the normal parameters. In the Extremadura region, everything is proceeding with normality. In both areas we have had the correct amount of cold hours. However, in the south, although everything is perfect now, the drought could mean a problem in the future.
Flat nectarines are becoming ‘the apple of the company’s eye’. What can you tell me about this?
Yes, this is correct. We have made an important commitment to the flat nectarine, Ondine from ASF. I think that it is the most differentiated product on the stone fruit market. We have been surprised by the incredible expectations that it has raised on the European markets. We have obtained a crunchy product, reaching 15 degrees brix, which is easy to eat with your hands (finger food), but above all, it is a fruit that is bringing in many young consumers and children, who find it very tasty.
It is a nectarine with a perfect pistil closure, 90-100% red in colour, with a very good post-harvest and that has varieties that cover a complete production range, from June to September.
In the other categories, does anything else stand out?
We have an important production of cherries in Aragon and, at present, we are focusing on obtaining good varieties that lengthen the campaign at its latest part, that is to say, from mid-July onwards.
Have exports to distant destinations recovered after the slight drop experienced in shipping? How is the marketing on the Old Continent?
Our natural market is, and must always be, Europe. We continue to maintain our overseas destinations (South America, the Middle East, Singapore, etc), but our backbone is Europe.
Do you think that early crops and the race to reach the markets have gone out of fashion?
I think that what consumers expect is a good fruit to eat; it is not worth being the earliest if the fruit does not have any taste at all. At Frutaria, we seek to guarantee quality fruit with a good flavour, regardless of the week we reach the market.
Our goal always involves obtaining fruit at their perfect point of ripeness, with a long post-harvest in which the organoleptic properties are not conditioned.
What are Frutaria’s main challenges from the commercial and productive points of view?
The main challenge involves discovering the clients’ needs, anticipating their tastes and producing the fruit that they really are expecting. You cannot produce and sell any which way; rather we must produce what the clients demand.
And in this respect, Frutaria is achieving it, with its flat peaches and flat nectarines Ondine and round nectarines Regal´in, a family that is completely different to anything on the market and that, without any doubt, is experiencing a strong demand.