Gabriel Burunat, Commercial Fruits:

"This summer we’ll see the capacity of the European avocado market"

Twenty years ago, the French company Commercial Fruits was the first to import the Peruvian avocado into Europe. Today there are 100 European importers. Gabriel Burunat, President of Commercial Fruits: "We are glad that we have been pioneers in importing avocados, pomegranates, figs and other products from this origin."

Commercial Fruits markets ten thousand tons of avocados of different origins annually. Gabriel: "When consumers discovered the Hass variety, consumption went straight up. In all markets on which avocados develop, consumption continues to grow. The past two years consumption in Europe has increased by 20% a year, and prices have risen by 20% a year as well. We keep selling more, and the avocados keep becoming more expensive. The growth is only limited by supply. "

According to Gabriel, the ability to improve is still huge. "Europeans consume about one kilo per inhabitant a year. In Scandinavia, consumption is two kilos per inhabitant per year, while Italians consume almost nothing, so there are huge potential markets. The Chinese are also beginning to discover the avocado. If they like it, there simply won’t be enough surface to supply them."

"This summer season provides great volumes. Peruvian production will increase by at least 25%, South African production by 50%, and Californian production by 65%. We’ll see the capacity of the European market. If volumes are well managed, the market has the capacity to absorb at least 20% more. But I wonder at what price level."

Commercial Fruits has a fairly unlimited range. "We like to develop products. We want to be specialists in the products with which we work. We offer all our products year round, and sometimes we offer the same products of different origins at the same time. During the Christmas period, for example, we offer fresh figs from Israel, Argentina, Brazil, and Peru. We’ve always sought to be the forerunner in several products. A long time ago, we were among the first to have fresh figs and asparagus from Peru."

A good example is the counter season pomegranate; the second product of Commercial Fruits. "We had the product integrated, and now supermarkets offer pomegranates year round. Originally, consumers of pomegranates in France were not French, but rather a clientele of connoisseurs, namely Muslims, Jews and Mediterraneans. Through great marketing efforts, the French pomegranate has gained a reputation, and now we see that consumption is growing. We are the biggest importer of Peruvian pomegranates in Europe: last year we imported 125 containers and this year we left to make 150 containers."

"For two, maybe even three years now, we’ve been developing the sale of blueberries. Compared to other European countries, they aren’t consumed as much, but the market is in full development. We import quantities from Peru, and are the forerunners in this product as well."

At the end of August, Commercial Fruits will celebrate its 25th anniversary. "We are a family business," says Gabriel. For seven years, Gabriel's son William has been working at the company as a sales manager. Commercial Fruits has €30 million of revenues, despite a fairly small workforce, comprised of only ten people. Eight years ago, the company bought a warehouse in Rungis. Commercial Fruits's clientele consists of one third out of all French supermarket chains, for one third out of of wholesale markets, and for the remaining one third of the export throughout the European community.

For more information:
Commercial Fruits
Gabriel Burunat

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