Spain: Valencian citrus industry needs unified brand, claims IGP leader -

Spain: Valencian citrus industry needs unified brand, claims IGP leader

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Spain: Valencian citrus industry needs unified brand, claims IGP leader

While Valencia may be synonymous with citrus, an industry leader thinks growers in the Spanish region aren't doing enough to promote themselves. Jose Enrique Sanz

Speaking with during trade fair Fruit Attraction in Madrid last week, IGP Regulatory Council of Valencian Citrus (IGP Consejo Regulador Cítricos Valencianos) director general José Enrique Sanz urged producers to join forces under a common brand.

"We have a problem in the message, the marketing and the communication to the consumer in the sector because they don't know the term GI (geographical indication), or the term denomination of origin, but this term does exist for Valencia oranges and there is a GI for Valencia citrus," Sanz said.

"It's a defect we have as Valencians that we don't know how to group together to sell under the same brand or quality seal, for all the potential Valencian citrus has from its fame in the market.

"You could promote brands with the seals of each company, but it would be great if companies could work together with one brand coming from the Valencian Community."

He said that out of around 300 packhouses in Valencia, 40 had signed on to the council's quality seal which certified a range of quality metrics including physical appearance, internal quality, ripeness and the sugar to acidity ratio.

"We have levels that are higher than the law," he said, highlighting that as an example a minimum ripeness rate of 6 was required for Navelinas, but the council required a 7 for certification.

He pointed to competition from countries like Morocco, Egypt and Israel as one of the industry's greatest challenges, but in key markets consumers still showed a preference for the Valencian fruit.

"Traditionally, because of the fame we have garnered consumers prefer a Valencia orange to other citrus, but it depends on the country where you're selling.

"For example in all of Central Europe, and in France most of all, Germany, Austria, Belgium; traditionally if you put a Valencia orange or an orange from Morocco, there is no doubt that at the same price or even a higher price they would choose the Valencian product.

"But we have to keep promoting it so that new consumers from the new generations continue to know that."

In England however, the situation is not so clear-cut.

"England is a more open country and commercially it's more open too, so citrus from other places can arrive and while the consumer may know Valencian oranges, they don’t show the general preference that we can see from a German or a French person," Sanz added.

The executive said the biggest constraint for launching a new brand was the council's budget, but the promotional possibilities could be significant if growers made more investments in the common cause.

"The promotion should come from the administration, but it also has to come from the pockets of the companies," he said.

"From there a few ideas could come. At the Regulatory Council level there just isn't the budget to reach radio, publicity, European TV; the IGP can't do that alone, but it would be attractive to reach those outlets because promotion is not just about points of sale which is what we do – you can reach the masses.

"You can promote to supermarkets, you can promote to wholesalers, but you really have to reach the consumer."

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