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Use of strawberries as decoy denounced

Spain: Measures announced against low strawberry prices

Since the beginning of the campaign, the Interprofessional Association of Andalusian Strawberry Producers (Interfresa) has been monitoring the prices of strawberries in stores in order to report any attempt of selling them at a loss.

This is something that the association already did in the previous campaign. In fact, in January 2017, it sent a letter, via burofax, to the director of the purchasing department of a supermarket chain, in which he was informed of the start of legal actions after the sale at a loss of Huelva-grown strawberries, advertised in promotional brochures, as these were "discrediting the image of our products and of the whole sector."

Immediately, via email, the aforementioned department told Interfresa that it "was looking into the request and considering what measures to adopt to regularise this situation." In a matter of 24 hours, and via social media, the chain announced that it had suspended the sale of strawberries at a loss.

Any attempt to sell at a loss, according to Interfresa, is very damaging to the economy of the province of Huelva, where the strawberry sector is very strong, since "such practices put a lot of pressure on the producers, who are the first link in the chain."

Moreover, it considers these practices "a direct attack against the sector's reputation, by destroying the value of the product and trivialising it before the consumers at the beginning of the campaign."

The Union of Small Farmers (UPA), which also expressed its intention to report such practices, filed a complaint and was the one sounding the alarm about what was happening at ALDI supermarkets.

Despite the shortage of strawberries at that time, the chain launched a promotional campaign with the sale of the precious red fruit at 2 Euro per kilo; a price well below the current production costs.

After Intefresa and UPA's reports, the supermarket apologised, and the producers urged the chain not to repeat those practices.

UPA has now denounced via Facebook that Carrefour is offering "two free 500 gram containers of strawberries from Huelva for purchases worth over 40 Euro." The supermarket explains that "two coupons cannot be exchanged on the same day, nor can the same coupon be exchanged more than once. The value of the gift will be deducted proportionally in all cases."

UPA-Huelva expressed its disapproval about large retailers such as Carrefour using strawberries as a decoy. "These promotions do a disservice to the work and effort of our producers, who put their assets at risk to grow a high quality product and are forced to see their products devalued before the consumer," says the organization.


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