The Spanish carrot season kicked off a couple of weeks ago in Cadiz with good yields; however, everything points to a difficult campaign, as "even though the quality of the Spanish production is very good, the European market has greater stocks than last year, so there is strong competition and prices will be constantly under pressure," states Daniel Castellar, head of sales of the company Arcoval.Increasingly smaller export window
"Our campaign starts now, during the Northern European off-season, and we cover a window that remains open until mid-June," explains Castellar. Arcoval exports carrots to practically all countries of the European Union and also to some non-EU destinations, like the United Arab Emirates; however, it competes mainly with the Netherlands, Belgium and Germany, "and these countries keep increasingly more carrots in cold storage, so that window is smaller each season.""Spanish carrots are in need of differentiation in Europe
The producer claims that his carrots are as fresh as possible, as they reach supermarkets just 48 hours after they are harvested. "That is our great advantage, but our great inconvenience is the distance that separates us from European markets." However, unless they are experts, most consumers don't know how to recognise these qualities just by looking at the external appearance of the carrots, even though they are perceived in the taste.
"The taste of our carrots is different, with a much greater sweetness," he affirms. In any case, consumers look mainly at the price, and Spanish carrots do not differ much from the European ones in this regard. "As a sector, we should learn to promote the differentiation of fresh carrots from stored carrots, so that the consumer is aware."
In addition to the international market, Arcoval also supplies the domestic market until mid-June, so it competes with producers in northern Spain, whose natural campaign also comes to an end at this time. "We export 80% of our production and we sell 20% in the domestic market."
The largest exporter of carrots
Arcoval cultivates approximately 270 hectares in Cadiz, and its production amounts to around 15,000 tonnes. "We are one of the Spanish companies exporting the most carrots," concludes Castellar.
The company has customers of all sorts, from distribution chains and supermarkets to wholesale markets. This is why it guarantees great flexibility when it comes to the packaging, offering different formats, like 1 kilo trays, 10 kilo bags or big bags of up to 1,000 kilos.