The start of the Spanish watermelon campaign, which kicked off in April with the first fruits grown in greenhouses, coincided with the period when the pandemic's expansion was at its peak in Europe; a time when the closure of the hospitality industry, low temperatures throughout the continent and the oversupply of fruit from third countries made the sector's forecasts very gloomy.
"Given all this, at Coexphal we decided to launch a promotional campaign to reduce the impact of this crisis and encourage the consumption of melons and watermelons," said Luis Miguel Fernández, manager of the Association of Fruit and Vegetable Producer Organizations from Almería.
Thus, in mid-April, Hortiespaña and Coexphal launched a joint campaign to promote the watermelons of southern Spain under the slogan 'The number one European watermelon, the sweet taste of Andalusia', which sought to boost the consumption of Spanish watermelons at a very difficult time, when they also had to compete against Senegalese watermelons," and which has been a great success," says Fernández.
“The campaign has been carried out mainly through social media and has counted with the collaboration of fifty influencers and public figures. Its success is confirmed by the fact that, since its launch, it has reached nearly 200,000 users," he says.
Andalusia is the Spanish region that exports the most watermelons, followed by the Region of Valencia and the Region of Murcia. “Watermelons are a booming product; the acreage has expanded very strongly, even exceeding 10% annually. We have grown very quickly, so it is normal for things to slow down. Thus, this season we expect much more moderate increases in terms of acreage and sales," says the manager of Coexphal." In contrast, the performance of melons is very irregular, and this is becoming a cause for concern."
The economic importance of this fruit in the Spanish fruit and vegetable sector is undeniable: last year, sales abroad were worth 410 million Euro. Out of that, Almería accounted for more than 50%. Furthermore, the domestic market consumes 25% of the Spanish production.
“It is clear that it is becoming a seasonal, but basic product for local marketers. These have managed to organize their sales and dramatically increase the fruit's quality and flavor, which has been appreciated by consumers. Watermelon is becoming the spearhead of Spanish fruit and vegetable exports,” says Fernández.