Manter Iberica S.L. celebrated their fifth anniversary at Fruit Attraction. This event, held in Madrid, is the most important trade show on Spain's fresh fruit and vegetable sector's calendar. This company's first five years have been a success. What began as a one-man show, has now grown into a Spanish firm that already employs nine people.
The Spanish market is developing rapidly, say Willem de Jong, José Manuel Elíces, Albert Llaguerri, and Michiel Eilander
“In the five years that we have been active in the Spanish market, our company has grown rapidly. In 2013, when we began, the Spanish economy was still in a crisis. During that time we invested a lot of time in building a network. Today, we can reap the rewards of this”, says Albert Llaguerri, Manter Iberica's Commercial Director.
“We now have three people doing sales, four in our service department and two in the office. This is also necessary. The market is developing at breakneck speed on multiple fronts. For example, this year we saw rapid expansion in the onion market. A lot of companies want to invest in accurate, fast weighing and packing machines. Onion exports, in particular, are booming this year," says this Spanish expert.
When Manter Iberica started, Llaguerri sold only Manter machines. “Clients who were satisfied with our weighers and packers kept asking for machines. They also wanted our other apparatus, such as washers, polishers, and palletizers. This means we deliver more and more turnkey projects for the packaging sector. We also take care of the engineering”, explains Llaguerri.
In the sales of table potatoes, he sees a trend toward supplying supermarkets with washed, polished potatoes in smaller packs. “Consumers increasingly buy their fresh fruit and vegetables from the supermarket. The importance of local markets is decreasing. This offers opportunities for our machines that pack fast and accurately."
"It is striking that Spanish companies also want to mechanize further. They want to have fewer people on the work floor. It is becoming increasingly difficult to find laborers for the packing industry. It is also becoming more expensive. When packaging businesses invest their money, they do so in a very professional manner from the start. This is necessary to strengthen their competitive position in the market", he continues.
"This trend is strengthened not only by the continuous expansion of supermarkets but also by the arrival of new chains stores like Lidl. Besides supplying quality, the price is becoming an increasingly important factor in negotiations. Reducing fixed costs helps the large packing houses to compete better. The increasingly broader range of machines from various manufacturers such as Tummers and Verbruggen helps us open doors. We can provide our clients with the best possible service”, says Llaguerri.
The local market remains an important sales channel in Spain. This, despite the expansion of the supermarkets, as mentioned. These channels want completely different packaging solutions. "The packaging companies supply large 25kg net bags for sales in the local market and for the exporting of potatoes and onions. You mainly see packaged potatoes in the supermarkets. These are mostly in one, three, five, and sometimes ten kg bags", he says.
"There is a trend toward providing convenience food. The supplier packs the potatoes in 500g packs that can be put directly into the microwave. Six minutes later, these potatoes are cooked and on your plate. Currently, consumers buy 60% of their potatoes from the supermarket and 40% at the local markets", Llaguerri explains the developments in the market.
Demand for weighing and packaging frozen products
Manter recently sold an M16i Fr machine in Spain. This is used to process frozen, diced chorizo. This is an entirely different market to the fresh fruit and vegetable sector. Another M16i Fr is already in use in Spain. It is being used to weigh frozen prawns. These prawns are then packed into small cardboard boxes.
An M12i Fr was also installed that weighs frozen fish fillets and paella mix. “Playing in on these unique, fast-growing markets for frozen products is an example of identifying trends in the market. Machines are then developed for this”, emphasizes Manters' Sales Director, Michiel Eilander.