Throughout the pandemic, the produce industry has seen ups and downs, has found challenges and solutions, and many companies are now beginning to settle into the new normal. For Camposol, developments for the company’s expansion have continued on steadily, with new and expanding operations in both Colombia and Uruguay with the purpose of expanding the company’s avocado and citrus offerings.
Quick response to outbreak of pandemic
While Camposol is based in Peru, the company has worldwide operations which span from the United States, to Europe and to Asia. Because of their presence in China, the company was able to react quickly to the pandemic as it was beginning to spread. Jorge Ramírez, CEO of Camposol, shares: “Since the end of February, we experienced closures of ports and distribution channels as well as employees working from home within our operations in China. We immediately focused on identifying the main risks in the supply chains for all our markets and decided to concentrate our offer on the channels and clients with the least risk. We established a resilient supply chain, from the field to the end customer, by adding more options for transportation routes, packaging plants, destination ports, distribution centers and dispatch routes.”
With their main products being blueberries, avocados, and citrus, Camposol saw an increase in retail demand for their offerings. “The demand for products considered as ‘superfoods’ increased in supermarkets,” Ramírez says. “Currently, the markets for healthy and convenience products are fairly stable. With Covid-19, many consumers buy more and higher quality food at the supermarket. They spend less in restaurants and indulge more at home.”
Expanding avocado production in Colombia
In the past three years, Camposol has been working on expanding their avocado production by becoming active in Colombia, in addition to their activities in Peru. “Since 2017, we set ourselves the strategic goal of becoming a year-round player. For avocados, this is possible through combining supplies from Colombia and Peru. In Colombia, our avocado activities have grown very fast. We surpassed our initial goal of 2,000 hectares in less than three years, which gives us an important critical mass, together with our 2,600 hectares in Peru,” Ramírez says.
While the overall avocado demand was impacted by the pandemic, this has improved in recent months. “Avocados, which among our products are the most consumed out-of-home, were affected by the closure of restaurants. With the reopenings of the last months, this impact was attenuated,” Ramírez explains.
Activities in Uruguay expands citrus offerings
In addition to the expansions in Colombia, Camposol has also become active in Uruguay. “There were two goals we had going into this,” Ramírez shares. “First, to use the production model that we have optimized for years in Peru to improve the productivity and quality of the fruit from the mature areas that we bought; and second, in addition, to plant new areas with the ‘easy peeler’ and seedless varieties that the market demands.”
“With the combination of Uruguay and Peru, we have covered the Southern Hemisphere window of seedless tangerines. This year, we have had very encouraging results which show us that we are on the right track with our citrus crops, though we need to see how things will develop over time,” Ramírez adds.
Reaching new markets
While business investments in the blueberry sector have slowed down due to the pandemic, the current Peruvian blueberry season has a good outlook. Ramirez says: “Peru has consolidated itself as a main exporter of blueberries in the world with a significant increase in exports, which, according to estimates by ProArándanos, will reach approximately 160,000 tons in 2020."
Currently, Camposol is working on strengthening their commercial and logistics platforms in the United States, Europe and China. “We are focusing on the gradual incorporation of ripening services, special packaging options and new channels such as online sales. We are also evaluating the opportunities of increasing our penetration in markets such as the United Kingdom, Spain and the West Coast of the USA, among others,” Ramírez concludes.