By Marta Fernández
Spain is the main Community producer of strawberry and berries. The province of Huelva concentrates the bulk of this production, from where it supplies a good part of the community markets. Pedro Marín Andrés is the Manager of the Andalusian Strawberry Interprofessional Association (Interfresa), which, in addition to overseeing the interests of the sector, is carrying out the Strawberry of Europe promotion campaign. ‘Live the Red’. On the evolution of the sector and the results of this, he has spoken with e-Comercio Agrario.
E-Comercio Agrario: how is the current campaign being developed and what are the factors that are most influencing it?
P.M.: the current campaign is very positive so far, although there is still time to finish it, where we can assess to a lesser or greater extent that has been. At the moment, for the sector is being positive. The factors of this optimism are: high demand, product shortage, stable quality and optimum climatic conditions.
ECA: at the international level, what behavior are the markets having?
P.M.: good demand for berries, but the market does not understand the reality of origin, there is not enough fruit to supply all customers and there is a constant tinge of price falls that do not correspond to the shortage of product. Without going further, the sector has to fight against the big chains that “use” the fruit of claiming destroying the price.
ECA: and in this sense, what are the main threats to the sector?
P.M.: poor management of sales, aggressive prices of the final destinations with campaigns and promotions (when there is no fruit at origin).
ECA: and, therefore, the main demands of the sector?
ECA: in relation to projects or actions in the area of R + D + i, what are the main aspects in which the sector is working?
P.M.: above all in the search for new varieties, new products, new packaging, new sales channels, etc … It is a very dynamic sector and that does not stop to invest in new possibilities.
ECA: from a promotional point of view, what values does the Strawberries of Europe campaign celebrate?
P.M.: the promotion campaign is focused specifically to promote the consumption of strawberries produced in Europe, in the European market itself. The program reports on the different links in the strawberry value chain, from the time of planting to its arrival at supermarkets and stores. From the point of view of promotion, the qualities of the strawberry are enhanced, giving it a differentiation compared to other strawberries produced outside the EU.
“The Strawberries of Europe campaign praises the quality standards under which the European Union produces”
ECA: What are your main markets and target audiences?
P.M.: the campaign focuses on the Spanish market itself, as well as Germany and France. As for the target audience, these are responsible for home purchases and final consumer in general.
ECA: and its lines of action?
P.M.: this is a very balanced campaign that combines direct marketing actions (promotions at points of sale, consumer fairs – Salon de Gourmets, Alimentaria, Madreat), with other mass media actions (TV appearance, consumer magazines, etc).
ECA: What is this reflex about consumption?
P.M.: According to the data collected in the first year of the campaign (2015/2016), a qualitative aspect is especially appreciated: one who has seen / heard / known the campaign has a better image of the strawberry than those who do not have seen and also claim to have increased their consumption. It is difficult to quantify in the short term, we will have to wait at the end of the campaign next year to have objective data of consumption.