Demand for value-added produce has risen this year as more consumers have been cooking at home due to the ongoing complications. Huercasa offers Ready to Eat produce range, with a wide variety of products that have been treated and packed to extend their shelf-lives. Huercasa’s introduction to the American market has been met with good demand and enthusiasm from the North American consumers and retailers.
Alex Guzman, CEO of Huercasa USA, shares: “America is a great market, and customers are embracing our products very well. We offer them savings on the preparation time of their food while reducing waste, as well as offering European flavors at a very affordable price. So far, retail buyers have been amazed with the quality and shelf-life we offer.” The company currently has distribution centers in Utah and cover the Intermountain market, as well as the East, Central and West Coasts.
Huercasa bases their operations out of Spain, and their production all takes place there, with the U.S. office importing the products into North America. “Our plant is located in Segovia, Spain, and we have a presence in all of Europe and beyond, in more than 40 countries including Israel and Russia. Our biggest markets are in Germany and the Nordic regions, but ever since we opened our American office, we’ve been seeing good demand here in the U.S.,” Guzman shares.
Corn, beets and potatoes
The company works with independent growers who supply the produce that Huercasa processes. “We have contracts and formal agreements with growers who are following all the rules and regulations from our company and the international good practice guidelines in terms of food safety and the protection of the environment,” Guzman explains.
In North America, the Huercasa portfolio consists of three products: Corn on the Cob, Beets, and Peeled & Cooked potatoes. “We treat and pack them in a way to extend the shelf-life, while keeping the products’ nutrients, taste and texture intact. The corn on the cob has a shelf-life of seven months, and is steamed, ready-to-eat, presented in a vacuum sealed package. It is available in a 2, 3, 4 and 14-piece pack. We also have beets, which are chopped with a special recipe using wine vinegar and apple juice and have a five-month shelf-life. Finally, our peeled and cooked potatoes are stored at room temperature and also have a five-month shelf-life,” Guzman explains. Huercasa’s European operation has a more extensive product portfolio, but the American operation is exploring the possibility of introducing new products into their line-up.
Expanding operations to meet demand
In order to meet the increasing demand of the US market, Huercasa has had to expand their production. “The American extension of the company and the additional population we are now serving demand that we be ready to supply the retailers when they need it. Fortunately, we’ve been able to do this without problems,” says Guzman.
“Huercasa’s products make sense for the retailers. They are able to offer great quality, fresh-type Ready-to-Eat products at very affordable prices to their customers, while bringing in solid margins as well. Our affiliation to PMA, United Fresh, and other great organizations in America, Canada, and Mexico are giving us the opportunity to learn and share our expertise and experience that we have gained in the international markets in the past 40 years,” Guzman concludes.