With the choice of Capexo as its exclusive representative in France, the group of Panamanian producers, La Dona Fruit, is deploying a new marketing strategy in Europe. Its goal is to become established in retail and win over the hearts and minds of final consumers.
This is an interview with Jonathan Dax Cooke, founder of Farmfolio and director of global sales and marketing for the brand La Dona Fruit.
What is this new marketing strategy in Europe based on?
Having an exclusive representative is a first for us. It is linked to the fact that, as producers, we currently have the ability to increase our production volume considerably and diversify our product range. Although in terms of infrastructure and logistics we are perfectly equipped in Latin America, and we have recently opened a new packing center in Colombia, we are not at the same level of development in Europe. This limits our ability to respond when selling directly to wholesalers and doesn't allow us to have a strong presence in the retail. Our objective in the medium-term is to make large retailers our main customer (80% large retailers; 20% wholesalers). The current situation is the opposite. By choosing to partner with an importer-distributor, we are becoming more efficient and improving the reputation of our brand in the eyes of the end consumer.
Why start with France?
What matters is not the choice of the country, but that of the right partner with the necessary qualities. Capexo is our only partner at a national level that already works with 80% of our current wholesale clients, and has a strong infrastructure and distribution network that guarantees a considerable volume. In addition to the best exposure for the brand, Capexo also brings value to the end consumer. We already run marketing campaigns and engage in press relations in the wholesale markets, but with limited impact, as this is of little interest to wholesalers. With Capexo and large retailers, we want to achieve greater recognition for the products we want to develop in the first place: the Extra Sweet pineapples, exported by plane and ship, which come from Panama, and the Tahiti limes, grown in Colombia. Similar partnerships to that with Capexo will be repeated in other European countries, as long as we find partners with a similar quality.
"For Capexo, working with La Dona Fruit entails becoming the representative of a reliable brand with excellent products that strives for quality. Besides, La Dona Fruit provides a regular supply of Extra Sweet pineapples and limes all year round, sending them by plane and ship," says Vincent Soler, director of Capexo.
The renewal of the La Dona Fruit brand
La Dona Fruit is a tropical fruit distribution brand created in 1977 and managed by Farmfolio, an investment and management company devoted to the development of a sustainable and socially responsible agribusiness in Latin America. Two years ago, La Dona Fruit was almost unknown in France, and in 2018 Farmfolio closed its association with La Dona Fruit in Panama, aiming to revitalize the brand and open it to other products besides the Extra Sweet pineapples.
The two main products of the La Dona Fruit brand
The Extra Sweet pineapples, grown in Panama, in the La Chorrera region, are cultivated in more than 140 hectares. Every year, 200 containers are shipped, mainly to Europe (Italy, Spain, France, the Netherlands, Switzerland and Scandinavia), Canada and the United Arab Emirates.
The Tahiti lime, grown in the north of Colombia, in the province of Antioquia, is cultivated in 1,200 hectares spread over twenty farms, which guarantees a continuous supply throughout the year. 300 tons are shipped every month.
The newest addition in 2020
The Hass avocado, which is grown in Peru and Colombia, is the latest addition to the range. The first containers were shipped from Peru in the spring of 2020. This fall, they are also being shipped from Colombia for the first time.
Director of customer experience
La Dona Fruit Co.
Tel: +1 (786) 220-4766
Brand and sales representative in Europe
La Dona Fruit Co.
Mob: +33 (0)7 60 19 92 82