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François Moran, Tropibana:
"On the Parisian market, origin is of fundamental importance"
François Moran is the manager of Tropibana, an exotic fruits and vegetable company that is located at the Rungis International Market in Paris. François: “We're at the biggest market in the world, and when it comes down to diversity of products, this is a great advantage.” The main product of Tropibana is the Martinique banana.
"The Parisian market has always preferred bananas from Martinique, despite the fact that bananas produced in Africa or South America are cheaper. As a result of the damage done by Hurricane Maria, we didn’t even have as much as a kilo of bananas from Martinique for more than nine months; I had to work with bananas from Colombia and Panama. I didn’t find bananas in Martinique again until a month ago, and as soon as those arrived, our customers won’t ask for any other. On the Parisian market, origin is of fundamental importance.” According to François, the banana market will be great until the end of April.
Besides bananas, Tropibana offers a wide range of exotic fruits and vegetables. "Our customers are wholesalers, semi-wholesalers and retailers. We do not work with discounts anymore; they’re often rather price aggressive people, which simply deem not worth it. "
The exotic fruit and vegetable market is booming, and there are more and more operators. François: "People go on trips overseas. Back in France, they want to recognise the taste and flavour of the products they have eaten in Mexico, Santo Domingo, or the Caribbean. People are starting to ask for more mangoes, pineapples, sweet potatoes and coconuts. Currently, many people travel to Thailand, where they eat fresh coconut; compared to 3 years ago, demand has increased by about 400%, which is incredible."
"When it comes to sweet potatoes, there are more and more people who distinguish between pink, white or orange fleshy potatoes. Asians ask for pink and white, Muslims prefer pink, and French people prefer white and orange."
"The demand for exotics is at its highest during the Christmas and Easter periods. Thanks to Asians, demand explodes in February, during the moon festival and the Chinese New Year. There is a strong demand for mini bananas, papayas and all the slightly exotic products. Unfortunately, this year was rather bad, due to three months of snow and very low temperatures."
Tropibana is part of the M-group, which also includes the exporting company Atom export. François: "We supply almost all European countries; not only in fruits and vegetables, but also in other French luxury products, such as champagne, and foie gras.”
Tropibana was founded by Grégoire Moran, the father of François.
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