The new general secretary of the Spanish Association of Juice Manufacturers (ASOZUMOS), Javier Valle, has decided on a strategy. To this end, he has spent a few months with Alfonso Mena, recently retired after 40 years at the head of Asozumos. “The role of Alfonso Mena has been key in the development of the sector,” says Javier Valle. “My first goal is to get to know the associates well. I think it is essential to listen to their demands, priorities and challenges, and then do our best to offer them services adapted to their needs. The ultimate goal is to give the sector a boost at both national and European level.”
Javier Valle Pello, general secretary of Asozumos
Javier Valle's professional experience is extensive, but his most noteworthy work was carried out at FIAB Brussels, as a European affairs technician, and during his collaboration with the Association of European Farmers and its Cooperatives (COPA-COCEGA). Moreover, his role in international forums and as an expert on European platforms makes him ideal to promote Asozumos at national and especially European level. “We cannot forget what happens in Brussels; European legislation has a direct and unavoidable impact on the Spanish agro-food sector. Therefore, being present there is vital. The fruit and agro-food sector is a great engine for Spain's economy,” he says.
“The juice sector is closely linked to the fresh sector, and in particular to stone fruit, citrus fruits and pome fruit,” says Javier Valle. For Spain, it is a key and strategic sector. The role of Asozumos is to help defend the interests of our partners, building bridges with sister associations, such as AIJN (European Juice Association).
“We work hand in hand with the primary fruit sector, so it is important to promote and appreciate the value of Spanish fruit. Any debate in the primary sector has some direct impact on juices, to a greater or lesser extent. An example of this is the selection of new varieties and the trend favoring organic consumption, as in the case of juice, progress happens much slower. It also applies to the transfer of fresh fruit to the processing industry in campaigns when the quality is not suitable for fresh marketing,” says the general secretary.
According to Javier Valle, all links form a solid chain with extremely demanding quality minimums when it comes to regulation and sanitary standards. “This is the case of our regulation for fruit juices and other similar products. For example, it is often said that fruit juices contain added sugars, when the reality is that our current legislation does not allow it. This legislation has not helped in that sense, because it does not allow the use of the phrase 'without added sugars', making it harder for our products to stand out from similar ones and to promote their nutritional properties.”
He said that the same thing happens with nectars that have been reformulated. “The fact that our regulations do not allow us the use of the phrase is putting us in a situation of competitive disadvantage against similar products that can use it without there being any scientific or nutritional reason for it.”
“The solution appears to be very simple: allowing us to compete on equal terms. Paradoxically, legislative changes in European directives or regulations are slow and complex,” says Javier.
“In short, Asozumos plays an essential role in the promotion of the sector and the nutritional value of our products. It is necessary to strengthen the role of companies and their commitments as employment generators, their environmental responsibility and their innovative work,” said the General Secretary.
The Spanish Association of Juice Manufacturers, established in 1978, is currently made up of 20 companies (17 associates and 3 affiliated members) that account for approximately 85% of the national juice production.