"Spain consumes more organic products, especially fruit and veg"
The consumption of organic products is growing considerably in Spain. This is why in mid-2015, Sonia López and David Porras decided to found Sonbio, a fruit and vegetable marketing company based in Alicante and specialised in fruit, especially bananas, mangoes and papayas, grown in the Canary Islands.
"We have reached agreements with some organic producers that produce exclusively for us. We stand out in tropical fruits grown in the Canary area, because by growing there, we have the advantage of not having to harvest the fruit still green, so that it arrives to mainland Spain in perfect condition. In the Canary Islands, it can be harvested when it is at its prime in terms of ripeness, which gives it a totally different flavour," says David Porras.
The company was founded in mid-2015 with the goal of supplying the full range of organic fruits and vegetables, importing whatever was needed to meet the market's needs from other countries. "There are not many companies in the market supplying their full range of products as organic, so we decided to specialise in that and offer our customers combinations of products both in supermarket chain packaging and in bulk for specialty stores, so they are not forced to buy large volumes of either fruit or vegetables to have everything they need," points out David Porras.
Sonbio has obtained the GlobalGAP certification, a label that guarantees good practices in terms of environmental protection, and which is also a quality mark for both supermarkets and the end customer. "While it is true that GlobalGAP is not mandatory, it is more demanded every day and may even become exclusive; that is, if you don't have it, nobody will work with you," explains David.
Currently, Spanish producers are gradually introducing organic crops on their farms or in agricultural cooperatives. "Many growers call us to ask for advice on the organic market. We are seeing an important growth in the sector due to the growth of demand, and although it is true that this will happen more slowly here than in the rest of Europe, we are also convinced that in a few years it will be a very important segment, even though it entails harder work, with lower yields and more exhaustive care."
Every product sold by Sonbio is organic and is packed in their own facilities. Half of the company's sales volume corresponds to domestic supermarkets; in fact, the person in charge of the company states that "we are already working with retailers like Lidl or Carrefour, and in the future we are convinced that many more will be added to the list, because they are all introducing organic sections little by little."
When importing, Sonbio only works with countries in the Euro zone, even though some products may be imported from Latin American or Asian countries. "We do not buy those directly, but do so through European companies. In this way, we make sure that the products we offer are always duly certified," says David Porras.
One of the products in which Sonbio is most strongly committed is the papaya. This fruit has been booming in recent times and is increasingly demanded by consumers due to its unique flavour and beneficial properties. "The best papaya campaign in the Canary Islands is the one in the colder months, since the flowering has taken place in the summer months, which gives it its flavour and quality."
In Spain, the most consumed fruit is the banana, especially that from the Canaries, which is the one the company is working with. David explains that "bananas are a safe bet in this country, something that we always need to have because of its great demand. In fact, we see it more as a service product than as a business, because although profit margins are not very high, it is a product that we must always be able to supply to our customers."
Apples are also highly demanded, especially the Royal Gala and Golden varieties. Sonbio works with the fruit all year round, supplying the varieties that are available at each time.
For more information:
Sonbio Export & Import S.L.
Calle Caucho nº7
03690 San Vicente del Raspeig
Alicante - Spain
T: +34 965158127
Publication date: 11/17/2017
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