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METRO Food Sourcing on their 10th anniversary and their future

“We are always seeking for more sustainable packaging”

For Valencia Trading Office (VTO), which is part of METRO Food Sourcing, it has been an exciting year, as the company recently celebrated their 10th anniversary. They deal with any kind of fruit and vegetable, from the basic onion to the caviar of citrus, and supply it to all countries in Europe that we have a presence in, as well as India, China and Myanmar in Asia. Anna Pilecka is the communication manager for VTO and says they get their produce from Spain for the most part: “As we have to serve over 760 stores all over the world (23 countries) for all twelve months of the year, our sourcing is worldwide too, to get the best product according to season, quality and customer demand. It is known that Spain is the biggest fruit and vegetable exporter of Europe. Therefore it makes up for 50% of our sourcing. But we buy also in all other Mediterranean countries, as well as in South America and South Africa.”

After ten years of hard work, the VTO can state it’s been a success, but starting out was rather challenging: “It was a new business for METRO and it took time to define the business model and to convince our colleagues that we could add value, delivering directly from the source. Achieving almost 250.000 tons of fruits and veg this year shows that we definitely succeeded,” Pilecka explains. “We are much better structured now compared to when we started. Back then the company consisted of only two people and now we are more than sixty. So, in the first stage we had to explain to the suppliers who we were, what we were about to do, and to convince them to be part of the project. We were unknown. Now, many suppliers contact us to be part of our project. Also, after the Russian ban we had to develop the sourcing in countries like Israel, Turkey, Morocco or Egypt a lot. The wideness of our sourcing brings obviously complexity but also opportunities.”

Working with the large quantities that the VTO deals with, packaging is a major part of the business, especially in the day and age where plastic packaging is losing ground: “In most of the countries the business model is to sell fruits and vegetables by box or net, as our customers are mainly HoReCa or traders. Only in few cases we sell the produce without packaging. That’s why the packaging is key and also plays a marketing role on top of its primary function to protect the goods,” Pilecka says. “For our own brand (METRO/Makro Chef) we have shifted most of our products to be packed in a carton box, as it is fully recyclable and made with recyclable raw material. It makes our customers lives easier when they dispose of it. We are always seeking for more sustainable packaging. We are facing a very slow trend to biodegradable or recyclable material for plastic packaging. So far, only few materials can easily replace plastic keeping the same transparency, elasticity, resistance or lightweight. We are constantly testing new innovative materials with our suppliers.”

“METRO keeps focus on specialists in wholesale and food service distribution (FSD) by offering them enlarge sustainable services and solutions allowing customers develop their independent business and cover their day-to-day problems.”

For more information:
Anna Leliwa Pilecka
METRO Food Sourcing
Valencia Trading Office
Tel: +34 636 012 216

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