Francisco Mollar, of Frutas Carmen:

"On-line citrus sales best way to promote our brand"

It is a straightforward sales model that guarantees decent margins for the entire chain and allows freshly-harvested products to reach the final consumer; that is how Francisco Piquer Mollar, fourth generation citrus producer and marketer, describes his commitment to on-line sales.

"We opened our on-line store just over two years ago, although we are still combining it with the traditional sales model through the cooperative, with direct sales to supermarkets and traditional markets, where we make use of secondary brands. However, our focus now is on on-line sales, because we believe that is the fastest way to position our quality brand," he explains.

"We have made the most of our experience in conventional sales to carry out the best product selection. Our oranges and mandarins are not better than those of our neighbours if we ship them to traditional markets, where the more standard quality parameters of size, colour and Brix prevail. But on-line sales allow us to make a selection of the best in each tree," assures Francisco Mollar.

"For example, this is a campaign with smaller volume and this affects the quality, because sizes are larger, the fruit is not as juicy and the skin is thicker. We can select 20% of our production for our quality brand."

According to Francisco, once the fruit has been harvested with zero waste, since it is grown making use of certified integrated production methods, it is shipped to the final consumer within 24 hours in case he is in mainland Spain, within two days it goes to markets such as France and only three days after the harvest if it is shipped to Germany.

"We mainly ship 10 and 15 kilo boxes for family consumption and our typical buyers are people in their thirties with steady incomes. It is a really convenient option, since it allows you to buy more fruit without the need to go to the supermarket or to carry it," he says.

"In the domestic market, oranges are more popular, while mandarins dominate the export markets. We are seeing plenty of interest in central Europe. Furthermore, we are realising that citrus fruits are perfectly suitable for such shipments, as they do not need cold and are not as sensitive as other fruits."

Francisco explains that "for this type of sale prices are set in September, when we start with the first Clemenrubi, and we keep them stable during the 9 months of the campaign, so that there is no oscillation if possible and everyone in the chain gets decent margins."
Frutas Carmen ships around 4 million kilos of citrus and so far on-line sales represent about 100,000 kilos, although growth is frantic.

"In just one year we grew by 750%, the second year by 2,600%, and the trend continues; the model is moving forward very quickly. We will continue to invest in this line through campaigns via Google Adwords and social media, because the returns are really interesting. We have big plans to further professionalise this sales channel. There is much to be done," points out Francisco.

For more information:
Francisco Mollar Piquer
Frutas Carmen S.L.
T: +34 964 620 311
M: +34 665 383 323

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