“Spain has the largest agricultural area dedicated to organic farming, covering approximately 2 million hectares,” explains Iris Gil Mena, of Frutas Goostar. “With a continental climate in the center and a mediterranean climate in the South, the Spanish production can complement national supplies when necessary in many countries.”
Frutas Goostar is located in Almeria, in the South of Spain. The company employs a commercial team specialized in conventional and organic fruits and vegetables. It offers Spanish products, 90% of which are sold on the French market. The entire team is bilingual Franco-Spanish. Frutas Goostar has exported the conventional brands “Goosta” and “Armada” on the European markets since its foundation in 2012.
“We work in close collaboration with our local producers, which forces us to maintain solid relationships with them,” says Iris. “Our concept and philosophy are simple: to find the best products from the best terroir at the best time, and to differentiate ourselves by proposing quality products with an exclusive display.”
The making of an organic brand
“With the strongly rising consumption of organic products in Europe, serious thinking has been put into agriculture and methods of production over the past few years,” explains Iris. “We decided to contribute to this by proposing an organic brand more in tune with our environment.”
In January 2018, Iris joined the company as a commercial specialist to create the “Labella Bio” brand specialized in products from the Spanish organic agriculture. “Since March 2018, the brand has been commercialized all over France through wholesale markets (in Rungis, Lomme, Lyon Corbas, Nantes, Montpellier, Bordeaux, etc.).” Frutas Goostar chooses to distribute the brand through wholesale markets in order to guarantee exclusivity. “Today, we are still developing, searching for new clients in France, but also in other countries.”
For three months, Frutas Goostar approached Spanish producers of organic products. “We traveled through a great deal of the Spanish territory: Almeria, Murcia, Valencia, Malaga, Granada, Badajoz. We are very specific as to the requirements that need to be met for our brand. We selected a producer in Almeria who packs all the products of the organic ratatouille line (zucchinis, tomatoes, eggplants, cucumbers, bell peppers), another producer in Murcia who grows organic broccoli and cabbage, and a producer in Malaga who works on a whole range of organic citrus fruits: lemons, tangerines, oranges and grapefruits.” The products are all Ecocert certified.
Frutas Goostar is at the heart of the Spanish production. “This allows us to control the merchandise from our suppliers daily and to maintain with them a healthy relationship, based on trust. We attach great importance to the human and relational aspect of our work. We also try to accommodate the needs of our clients by offering a whole range of seasonal products through a safe brand in terms of quality and traceability.” On the French market, the consumers of organic products have an affinity for seasonal products. “The current favorites are the citrus fruits (oranges, tangerines, lemons), tropical fruits (kakis and avocados) and winter vegetables of course: broccoli, zucchini and tomato on the vine. Mid-December will mark the beginning of the green vegetable season (organic cabbage). In the summer, we focus primarily on stone fruits and on the small organic watermelons.”
The French consumers of organic food have a preference for local products but “it is difficult in France to offer all products all year round. Take the eggplants, bell peppers or citrus fruits for instance.” This year, the weather conditions in France were very favorable and many of the French products are still present on the market. However, the local products from France are quite pricey: “we propose Spanish products of equal quality at a cheaper price, which gives us a real advantage on this competitive market and the opportunity to offer a range of organic products more accessible for the consumers.”
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