Citrus availability during this campaign has been lower than usual, especially in this second part of the campaign. The climate has been adverse and the drought during different stages of the production cycle has impacted the crops.
“This is a complex citrus campaign. We have to manage the needs of the field, protect the interests of producers, and deal with the high costs of packaging and marketing. Despite our efforts and continuous improvement, the final price will inevitably be affected,” stated Antonio Alarcon, CEO of The Natural Fruit Company (TNFC).
“When there's an inflationary juncture, large retailers want to look after the final consumer, avoiding price increases and even launching deflationary basket proposals. Our reality is that we must transparently defend the cost of fruit in the field, where it is grown, and which was also affected by lower yields this year,” stated Antonio Alarcon.
The sum of these factors favors, in Europe, the supply of third countries, such as Morocco, Egypt, and Turkey. “We know how to coexist with our competition, regardless of origin. Despite inflation, there are always customers looking for big brands. Our customers have a high degree of confidence in our products because they know our brands guarantee their service, have their own productions, and comply with food safety requirements.”
The great challenge that retail currently faces is to defend fresh fruit in its stores and ensure consumer protection, through information and fair prices.
“We created a common project that brings together more than 7,000 hectares of our own production”
The Natural Fruit Company was born in 2019 with the union of three family businesses that had a wide trajectory in orange, clementine, and lemon. More companies joined the group until the end of 2022. These companies stood out for their specialization and value proposition: Marzal, as a benchmark in Sanguinelli orange; Bruñó, creators of a premium brand in melon, watermelon, and citrus; and NaturGreen, a pioneer in Bioinclusive agriculture for citrus. We closed the year with the addition of Bollo, reinforcing our citrus, melon, and watermelon portfolio with a centenary brand.
“With the integration of these 7 companies we form a common project that brings together more than 7,000 hectares of crops and combines processes, culture, and vision while continuing to learn from each of them,” stated Antonio Alarcon.
The Natural Fruit Company stands out as one of the main operators in citrus in volume and brand positioning and has gained a firm relevance in melon and watermelon. However, size is not everything. “From the beginning, we've worked to make sustainability the main focus of our operations. We are pioneers in marketing CO2-neutral citrus, that is, with zero impact on our atmosphere. We seek to reduce our water footprint. Optimizing water management, an increasingly scarce resource is very important for us. We constantly measure water use on our farms. We have all the organic certifications on the market, as well as our own certification of inclusive agriculture, pushed mainly by Naturgreen.”
“Over the next five years, I see TNFC as a fully integrated company driven by its flagship brands, which understand that quality takes precedence over anything else. There is still room to grow in Europe and we hope to continue growing in destinations outside the EU. Our goal is to continue increasing our own production area and production volumes with a clear commitment to sustained innovation to be more efficient and to be able to transfer it to the final customer,” concluded Antonio Alarcon.
For more information: thenaturalfruit.com