Fresh Fruit Alliance, based in Friedrichshafen, Germany, celebrates its 75th birthday this year. Over the past decades, the family business with Spanish roots has developed from a modest import company into a renowned service provider for the German and Austrian food retail trade. With today's owner and son of the company founder Roberto Tur (r), we look into the past and also into the future.
The son of a Spanish farmer, Vicente Tur began his career as an export clerk at a company in Valencia. When a German entrepreneurial couple visited the city in 1947 to purchase fresh fruit and vegetables, his interest in the potential new market in Germany was piqued. "Vicente Tur recognized the need for Spanish products and the associated opportunities very early on, and then almost overnight with his emigration to Munich in 1948, he founded his first sole proprietorship, called Vstur. Among the first major customers at that time were already the well-known Swiss companies Konsum and Migros. Due to the optimal location and the direct train connections between Spain and Germany, which ran via Friedrichshafen, he then moved to there after a few years," Tur describes the origins of the company.
From importer to service provider
At that time, as well as today, the direct and close contacts with Spanish producers represented an important unique selling point. In the decades that followed, the company quickly and agilely adapted to market conditions, while the import business was increasingly replaced by a comprehensive supply business. "Since then, we have not only dedicated ourselves to the pure import of goods, but also worked out year-round programs and special product lines in close consultation with our major customers. We also take on and handle logistics and the associated challenges in a holistic manner," Tur continues.
Natural food retailers under pressure
Under the leadership of Roberto Tur, who took over in 2000, the company also ventured into the organic segment. "Starting with Spanish fruit vegetables, we now offer almost everything under the name Bio Fresh Alliance - from German organic produce to unusual exotics such as Buddha's Hand or finger limes. In this context, he points to the extremely difficult market situation, in which organic goods were sometimes offered at lower prices compared to conventional products and even sold as conventional due to a lack of consumption.
"In view of the difficult general conditions, meaning inflation and increased costs, it was difficult to present prices in the natural food trade. As a result, consumption in the natural food trade fell sharply in the past two years, while organic sales in food retailing increased significantly. This is where we need to reorganize and restructure the specialty natural food trade, which we can only do if we pull together with our partners."
Inflation coupled with the energy crisis will be with us for a while, according to Tur. "We are noticing a restrained purchasing behavior in which only the necessities are bought and additional items are avoided. The energy crisis coupled with the political situation obliges citizens to save and wait. In my view, this will remain the case for the foreseeable future, which is why we can expect another challenging year. Climate change, i.e., the management of water resources, also plays an important role throughout Europe. In Spain, the situation varies greatly from province to province: in certain regions of Spain, water allocation to agriculture has already been severely restricted, which in turn is having a negative impact on the expansion of production facilities and operations. The water issue hangs over Europe like a sword of Damocles, and our suppliers are working hard to produce sustainably and minimize water consumption where possible."
Soon, the first Spanish stone fruits of this season will arrive.
Appreciation for handmade quality products
Despite the adversity, Fresh Fruit Alliance is optimistic about the future. "You have to face the challenges and adapt to the circumstances. Because hope dies last. Only through constant self-optimization and rethinking old structures can we prevail against competition from third countries and against changing environmental influences. Our strategy has always been to produce as sustainably as possible, to explain to customers and consumers the value of handmade quality products, and ultimately to justify the price of our excellent Spanish, but also German, produce."
The Fresh Fruit Alliance team would like to thank all its partners and customers for the many years of cooperation.
Images: Fresh Fruit Alliance - V.S. Tur GmbH & Co. KG
Fresh Fruit Alliance - V.S. Tur GmbH & Co. KG
T +49 7541 39798-0
F +49 7541 39798-9