The summer broccoli campaign is gradually coming to an end in the southeast of Spain, whose production is mainly intended for the domestic market. The winter productions, the most important in terms of volume, will start at the end of October. These will be exported to various European markets in a period when those countries do not have local productions.
Thanks to the diversification of the cultivation areas, Campo de Lorca, Murcia's leading company in the European broccoli market, is able to supply this product, as well as cauliflower, kale and flat cabbage, all year round. Its cultivation areas are distributed between Granada, Murcia and Albacete, each at different altitudes and with different edaphoclimatic characteristics.
"Traditionally, broccoli has been perceived as a winter vegetable," says Toñi Piernas, head of marketing and communication for this company based in Lorca and president of the +Brócoli Association. “We are trying to change that image by promoting the crop's consumption throughout the year with summer promotional campaigns aimed at our customers, and which have also been launched on social media this year. We share this task with the +Brócoli Association, to which we belong, and which promotes its consumption throughout the year while advertising the benefits of consuming this vegetable,” says Toñi.
The company is specialized in the production of brassicas, including cauliflower broccoli, flat cabbage, kale, romanesco and Bimi, and artichokes, supplying retailers with closed programs.
Of the 120,000 tons of vegetables produced by the company, around 50,000 tons correspond to this superfood, the demand for which increased by more than 10% during the COVID-19 lockdown.
“We are initially not concerned about the start of the export campaign. Increased consumer awareness about healthy eating gave a boost to broccoli consumption during the harshest months of the pandemic. Broccoli is known to be a powerful antioxidant with a high content of vitamin C, which helps strengthen the immune system. It also contains vitamin E and is rich in fiber, phosphorus and calcium. All vegetables are healthy, but broccoli is one of the best, given its many beneficial properties," says Toñi Piernas.
"We are already an international leader in the broccoli sector and we hope to maintain our production volume stable in the next season. However, two years ago, we undertook a strategic growth plan in the cauliflower segment, introducing new varieties with a better shelf life, color and size. This has allowed us to grow at a rate of 15% in both the domestic and export markets, and we hope that this growth will continue this season,” she says.
“Last year, we introduced flat cabbage for the first time. We are going to be investing in this product in future campaigns, given its initial success. As for artichokes, we will keep the volumes stable, but this year we will give a boost to the hybrid varieties, which have a longer shelf life and are more resistant than the traditional white artichoke from Tudela,” says the marketing manager of this company.
A range of organic cream soups to be launched soon under the Cricket Bio brand
In addition to conducting research on new compostable and more sustainable packaging solutions, the company is making use of renewable energies with the installation of solar panels in its facilities, with which it expects to cover 25% of its electricity consumption.
Furthermore, Campo de Lorca is working on a new line of products that will be launched soon. "In November, we plan to introduce a range of organic cream soups under the Cricket Bio brand which are in the final phase of development," said Toñi Piernas. "With these products, we seek to gain more presence with our brand in the Spanish and European shelves."