The strawberry season officially started last week for the Huelva-based cooperative Cuna de Platero with the first Fortuna and San Andreas; the weather conditions have been favourable and this should result in a high quality harvest.
"One of our goals is for our strawberries to reach the market soon so that we can offer the best possible service to our customers. We are one of the companies with the earliest starts of the harvest and this is one of the qualities that make us stand out," affirms Sergio Sainz, marketing director of Cuna de Platero.
The availability of fruit at this time is still limited, so prices are higher and the market is quite receptive. We should also note that now the season is coming to an end in Central Europe, mainly in the Netherlands and Belgium, while Egypt is starting.
"Our shipments go both to the domestic market and to destinations like Switzerland, Austria, Italy, Sweden and France; right now there are already consumers demanding good quality strawberries," he explains.
As regards the competition with Egypt in the same markets, Sergio Sainz explains that "our distribution channel is more direct. Our strawberries reach our customers directly, ensuring freshness and homogeneity in quality, volumes and prices, while Egyptian strawberries usually reach markets like the Netherlands and France, where they are then re-exported by importers who set prices at their convenience."
"Furthermore, Spanish strawberries have another competitive advantage over the Egyptian fruit: their accredited food safety for large distribution chains. We have 100 hectares certified by the zero waste Zerya protocol," he adds.
Following the same strategy as last year, the sector continues to diversify the berry production. This year, strawberry plantings will again be reduced. "In our case, the strawberry production volume will not significantly decrease compared to the 46 million kilos marketed last season; however, this year we have increased the production of other berries. We plan to reach 1.5 million kilos of raspberries and 1 million kilos of blueberries, and we also plan to increase our volume of blackberries."
Sergio also affirms that "our new Premium brand for berries, Berrycatessen, is gaining a stronger foothold in the market thanks to its added value and we are receiving very positive feedback from our customers in European markets."
Prospects are good, according to the marketing director, although it is still too early to be optimistic. "So far, the conditions have been favourable to ensure a good season with normal yields per hectare, but strawberries are a very sensitive crop to weather changes, so we'll have to see how that goes."
For more information:
Sergio Sainz (Export Manager)
Cuna de Platero
Camino de Montemayor, s/n. Moguer, Huelva.