“In addition to selling fruit, a company that values itself must offer good service, and this includes variety, continuity, good customer service, freshness and constancy.” This is the opinion of Vicente Candil, Executive of Frutas Candil.
The company has broad-reaching experience in the fruit business, now with the second generation of a family that started off in a greengrocer’s in the Madrid district of Vallecas. “I think that our background gives us a unique vision as a company, because we know the retailer’s point of view, as we used to be in their shoes.”
Following the shop in Vallecas, Frutas Candil started off its journey in the wholesale business in the old market in Legazpi, until moving to its current location in Mercamadrid. Today it has six stands in hall C and two warehouses with cold storage rooms in hall J2, as well as offices in the bank commercial area and also in J2.
The company has an extensive range of produce, both in fruit and vegetables, but its important specialisation concentrates on its own production of watermelons and iceberg lettuces and, to a lesser extent, broccoli; crops that come from their SAT Agro Almanzora. In the micro-climate of this valley in Almeria, around 16,000 tonnes of watermelons are produced, which include the entire range, from striped to seeded and seedless, mini and Fashion watermelons, as well as thousands of units of iceberg lettuces.
With the incorporation of the different production areas around the Spanish mainland, along with watermelons from Senegal and Brazil, the company has managed to extend the calendar of this fruit to a ten-month period during the year.
Iceberg lettuces are another of the company’s trade pillars. “We have had a campaign with ups and downs, which have ranged from abundance at the start of the campaign, to a shortage due to the cold with the subsequent lack of produce on some export markets, the Executive emphasises.
Three years ago, Frutas Candil opted for starting to produce broccoli and every season the volumes, while not comparable with the rest of their own products, continue to grow.
Vicente Candil affirms that a change of course of the market would be desirable on many aspects, amongst them the working hours, which continue to be at night and do not allow the transition from one generation to the next. “I also think that Mercamadrid as an institution does not support the wholesalers as it should. We have many aspects to improve, but there is no connection between us all; in fact, there are two associations of wholesalers.”
The lack of unity for facing up to the ups and downs together means that the market is becoming less attractive and, consequently, it is losing its commercial value. “It is a Catch-22 situation: the stands lose value as without this unity, along with the strength to resolve the internal problems, everything deteriorates and every day, fewer people pass through some areas,” the Executive concludes.