Frutas Borja’s commercial manager Dinis Grussner believes his company knows what consumers want from their berries and reveals more about Borja’s link up with the Planasa Group
Frutas Borja produces strawberries, raspberries, blueberries and blackberries across 200ha in the Huelva area. And building an in-depth understanding of what consumers want has been vital to its on-going commercial success, says Grussner.
“Consumers have changed a lot in the last three to four years,” he explains. “On strawberries now, if you look at research and development programmes they want more sugar and a lot better quality; the final product has to have better shelf life but what’s very important is taste.”
Spotlight on the UK
He adds that in his experience, it’s the UK market that demands this even more and believes UK consumers have become the most savvy in Europe. “They understand a lot more about berries,” says Grussner, who was previously a procurement manager with Angus Soft Fruits.
“They have so much produce in the retailers during the UK season and then during the import season the demand and offer varies a lot; there are so many varieties consumers can choose what they want. If you want to be there, you have to have something; be close to [what consumers] wish for. However, it has to work economically for the grower to.”
In the Adelita club
This is where the link up with Planasa comes into play. The Planasa group created a club at the end of last year to market its proprietary raspberry Adelita and Frutas Borja is one of five companies in Spain, Portugal and Morocco with exclusivity arrangements to grow and market the fruit.
Grussner reports Adelita is popular in the UK where it gives Frutas Borja a point of difference. The variety, which was 10 years in development at Grupo Planasa, is characterised by its good eating quality and large, conical fruit size.
These characteristics delight growers too; as fruit is so large and each berry averages 8g in weight, picking and packing costs are only just over half those of standard varieties.
The production window is also longer with consistent supplies from the Huelva region in Spain running from October through to June.