After learning that a Vinalopó table grape producer in the municipality of Novelda was forced to uproot 10,000 grapevines in production due to the crop's poor profitability, the sector president for table grapes of Asaja- Alicante, Pedro Rubira, decided to visit a Mercadona store nearby, where he found out that "the Spanish and Valencian supermarket had not been selling domestic grapes for a month and a half, despite it being thrown away a few kilometers off, and that only Peruvian and South African grapes were available."
After the publication on Facebook of the video revealing the situation, Mercadona responded asking for a truce. “They have called to arrange a meeting,” said Rubira. “It will take place on February 19.”
The producers of Vinalopó table grapes denounce that they have been abandoned by most large retail chains, but their reproach to Mercadona is inevitable, given the geographical and emotional proximity.
Asaja Alicante says that the retail giant owned by Juan Roig is partly to blame for the sector's situation, “because it has many reasons to support domestic producers. In our case, the campaign is in full swing and we offer fresh produce and quicker and cleaner transport,” unlike the fruit brought from third countries by sea.
For its part, Mercadona says that “we had Vinalopó table grapes in December. Once the month was over, we saw that the customers demanded another type of grape, seedless ones, which we brought on the shelves.” This explanation does not match that of the producers, who say that the mentioned sales period was limited to the days “from December 26 until the end of the year.”
In any case, "we are not asking them not to import grapes, but to give the consumer the option to buy the Spanish product." Rubira insisted on the need to facilitate access to local products, because most of the time "the consumer does not look at the price, or origin; they just buy the products on their shopping list."
Regarding the meeting scheduled for February 19, the Valencian retailer recalled that “Mercadona meets periodically with the producers to talk about what we perceive that the customers demand from us and to work together to find ways to meet that demand.”