Spanish organic products taking over the US market
Based in Barranquete de Níjar, Almería, Bioterráneo is devoted to the production and marketing of organic processed products, including gazpacho, cherry tomato juice and two unique products launched exclusively by this company: gluten-free salmorejo soup and organic watermelon juice.
This firm was created by the parent company Biosol Portocarrero, which has around 200 hectares of organic fruit and vegetables in production, making it one of the 5 largest companies devoted to organic production. "We were the first company from the Levante region of Almeria that decided to start working 100% with organic products, back in 1999. We undertook something that seemed a risk at the time, but it turned out well," recalls Josep Prats, marketing manager at Bioterra. "Now there are many more people who offer organic products; the supply has grown a lot and there is competition, although it is also true that the demand is much greater than twenty years ago and continues to rise, which motivated us to go further and offer products with added value made without any additives, using only organic raw materials."
Although the main markets for Biosol Portocarrero's fresh products are in Europe, those of the specialist Bioterráneo are exported to farther destinations, such as the Arab Emirates, Canada or the United States, where cherry tomato juice and organic gazpacho are gaining ground.
"The processed products allow us to reach markets that are inaccessible for the fresh range, like the United States, where it is difficult to access with these products if they do not have a shelf life of at least 10 months. In the US, you need to arrive with a good product or you'll be left out, this is how it works with imported products. It is very difficult to enter this market, but when you are inside, the opportunities are very great thanks to its consumption capacity. They are very open to trying new things, especially when it comes to convenience products. Since we first arrived in this country only a year ago, we have gained presence in the markets of New York, Miami and California through two distributors," says Josep Prats.
Depending on the market, they are more or less knowledgeable about these products. Gazpacho, for example, is a very Spanish product. According to Josep Prats, "in the United States, we are aware of at least 9 gazpacho brands, 5 of them American and 4 Spanish, although that is not stopping us from carrying out promotional actions, such as tastings at points of sale, advertising, etc. Both in North America and in other non-European destinations, we strive to inform consumers, who think of gazpacho as a vegetable soup. However, the fact that it is still unknown also helps us face the competition, which fortunately isn't very strong."
"Our sales channels are gourmet stores; we do not work with large distribution chains, so we deal with more specialised customers who know how to appreciate the difference between these products and conventional ones," he adds.
Organic watermelon juice; it seemed impossible
"There are very few companies manufacturing watermelon juice, and ours is the only organic one. It is the most difficult product to elaborate, the one to which we have devoted the most resources. Watermelon is a very seasonal fruit, which gives us just three months to manufacture this juice. The complexity lies in the fruit's taste and smell, which changes easily when transformed into juice, in addition to the risk of bacteria thriving, etc. But eventually we have managed to develop this healthy, safe and unique product without any type of additives, not even water. We only use watermelon.
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Publication date: 2/15/2018
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