“Berries have great potential in Spain if large retailers cooperate”
March 15, 2016

Blueberries and raspberries have recorded the fastest growth in recent years, mostly as a result of important varietal changes and new cultivation and management techniques, and the peak is still far from being reached.

"While strawberries are the best established and consolidated product on the market, therefore experiencing the least changes, raspberries and blueberries have grown considerably in recent years, with blueberries as the product with the fastest growth, closely followed by raspberries, of which we produced about 500 tonnes in our first year and this season we hope to reach 10,000 tonnes," explains Carlos Esteve, commercial director of Onubafruit.onuba

At this time of the campaign, Onubafruit exports to Europe between 65 and 70% of the raspberries shipped by Spain. A key reason for the large growth registered with this product is the recent introduction of own, unique varieties: the Imara, Kweli (for autumn and winter) and the Lagorie and Vajolet (for the spring and summer).

"With the help of new production techniques, these varieties are escaping their seasonal limitations, allowing for year-round production. They are also enjoying some crucial improvements when it comes to their taste, size and consistency compared to previous varieties, resulting in a product with great potential for growth."

According to Carlos Esteve, their balanced sweetness with a touch of acidity is the main quality of these varieties, compared to what used to be available in the market. "Raspberries used to be more acidic in the past, which made them less popular compared to other berries. Sweetness is the most attractive feature, and the goal is for consumers to try the product and come back for more. Also, their medium-large size makes them more attractive."

Spain, a potential market if large retailers cooperate

Onubafruit distributes its berries across Europe, although its main market is the UK, followed by Germany, Switzerland, Austria and Scandinavia. Spanish supermarkets are timidly starting to feature raspberries and blueberries on their shelves.

"Even though it will take time, I am sure that Spain is a potential market for the consumption of berries. If we want consumption to grow, all links in the chain must make a joint effort, including large retailers, so that berries can have a more prominent place on the shelves. It is also true, however, that many Spanish retailers are not yet ready for the handling of these sensitive products," he points out.

Europe's largest berry marketer

In addition to raspberries, Onubafruit produces and markets the full range of berries. This year, they expect to harvest about 32,000 tonnes of strawberries, 9,000 tonnes of blueberries and 600 tonnes of blackberries. 95% of the firm's turnover comes from berries and it is actually the largest producer and marketer of these products in Europe.


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