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Roberto Tur, Fresh Fruit Alliance, on direct imports from Spain

"We are the extended branch of our Spanish producers"

In the greenhouse vegetable category, Spanish produce is partly supplemented by Dutch, Belgian and German products for seasonal reasons, but it has been an exceedingly successful season for the Spaniards, say direct importer Roberto Tur (r) of Fresh Fruit Alliance Ltd, based in Friedrichshafen. "The supply from Almería's vegetable garden is now gradually running out and the Murcia region is now taking over the supply of the typical vegetables for it in large parts. Especially as far as organic produce from Spain and Italy is concerned, we can look back on a good season in terms of quantity. In terms of prices, however, it could have been a little better. At points, prices for conventional produce were on par with organic prices during this year's season, which is actually unique." The volume of sales of conventional goods remains stable, with slight increases.

For several decades, the company from southern Germany has been primarily dedicated to the direct import and distribution of Spanish produce. The product range extends from vegetables of all kinds to citrus fruits, berries, stone fruits and fruit exotics. Tur: "You can see that Spanish producer cooperatives are increasingly specializing in certain products. Spanish avocados and mangoes are clearly on the rise, but the economic management of the water needed for them means that targeted and balanced cultivation is necessary."

Protected melon cultivation. The Spanish season is already underway.

Consideration for domestic production
Consumer trends within Northern European food retail and developments on the part of Spanish producers don't always go hand in hand, however, according to Tur. "In terms of quantity, there is enough of everything; one doesn't necessarily needs to grow more. In the wake of climate change, more is grown in Germany and Austria during the spring than in times when climate change had not yet visibly affected the production of produce. This is why imported produce - cucumbers, for example - sometimes become surplus. The domestic, regional market, must be taken more into account and production - for example in Spain - must be adjusted accordingly," the importer states.

As a direct importer, Fresh Fruit Alliance does not see itself as a classic trading company, but rather as a link between producers and food retailers. Tur: "We are the extended branch of the Spanish producers and offer the local retailers a total package based on trust and transparency towards both the producer and the retailer."

Thanks to the close partnership with the producers, the company was already able to import Paraguayos to Germany for the first time almost 10 years ago, he said. "At that time, we were one of the few companies able to offer larger quantities. In the meantime, several companies move a sufficient volume and the two fruits are still among our important items, but they have lost their unique selling proposition, in terms of sales value."

Citrus processing

Expansion of the organic division
In addition to direct sales of Spanish produce, the dedicated sales team has also been successfully marketing regionally produced goods for several years. Only regionally produced organic products are traded through Bio Fresh Alliance Ltd, which was founded for this purpose. "We have been able to assert ourselves as a direct supplier for food retailers, especially in regional organic potatoes and onions - and will now continue to rapidly expand this organic segment."

For more information:
Roberto Tur
Wilhelmstraße 6
88045 Friedrichshafen
+49 7541 39798-0  

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