In December, Guatemala's finger lime campaign is in full swing, coinciding with the Christmas holidays, in which consumption increases considerably. "We produce finger limes throughout the year, but our sales peak between November and December, although they remain at good levels until March," stated Edilson Hernandez, CEO of Prime Tropics. "Morocco, which also produces finger limes for Europe, ends its season in October and, despite having production, Spain does not have enough to supply the entire market. We are practically alone in the market right now.”
"This year, we have also managed to enter a new market: Switzerland," Edilson stated. “We are starting to work with Swiss supermarkets with our 50-gram formats. Some months ago we decided to change the packaging material with which we packed the finger limes, replacing the plastic clamshells we used for biodegradable cardboard punnets. In addition to following the European laws on packaging, we have been making innovations in this aspect to have increasingly sustainable packaging."
"The 50-gram punnets already had very good acceptance in France, along with the one-kilo box, which is the format with which we mainly work in the Netherlands. Customers already know us in the European market. They know that we are very strong producers and that we have the largest plantation of finger limes in Central America. In fact, we've been contacted from Australia, where the finger lime originated, by people who are very interested in knowing our product. In January we'll meet with Australian experts in this fruit, with whom we will share ideas and exchange knowledge to improve the cultivation of finger lime and the quality of the fruit produced both in Australia and in Guatemala."
Prime Tropics has become the largest producer of this exotic citrus in all of Central America with more than 20,000 trees planted on different climatic floors that allow it to supply the market 52 weeks a year. "If there's anything that's hurt us lately is logistics. Air freight is still expensive,” stated Edilson Hernandez.
"Spot prices of maritime freight have fallen, only because there's been a lower demand for containers; but as long as fuel remains expensive, air freight transport will be expensive."
"However, transporting our product by air differentiates it in the market: Prime Tropics delivers fresh fruit to its customers in Europe just 48 hours after it is harvested."
"We already have 10,000 durian trees planted to supply both the United States and Europe"
Next year, the company will also introduce in Europe two of the latest products incorporated into its portfolio of exotic fruits, durian and Buddha's hand, after the interest shown by European customers with whom it already works with finger lime.
"We already tested the durian in the United States and received very good answers from our American customers. The tests allowed us to verify that this fruit has a shelf life of about 12 days, so transporting it by air will let us offer our customers in Europe durians that have been harvested at their optimal maturity point 48 hours before they arrive in the market and that have more than 10 days of shelf life. The season will last from April to July, and we already have 10,000 durian trees planted to supply both the United States and Europe."
“We'll also begin exporting Buddha's hand in the next campaign. We have already made some test shipments to customers in Europe and we have received very good feedback on the quality of the fruit," stated Edilson Hernandez.
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