A new avocado joint venture between U.K.’s Fresca Group and leading Colombian avocado grower Cartama is expected to result in a surge in Hass volumes for Europe.
Headed up by Paul Frowde, the newly formed Cartama UK is the result of an eight-year trading relationship.
Speaking to Fresh Fruit Portal, Frowde explains how the new enterprise creates a different and powerful proposition to suit the retail, wholesale and foodservice sectors, that will keep pace with U.K. and European demand for avocados.
“We’ve been working with Cartama in Colombia for some eight years now. Forming this joint venture links us in partnership more closely and formally, and gives both partners the continuing confidence that we’re working on long-term goals together,” he says.
“It’s a combination of a number of things that mean forming Cartama UK is the right move for both Fresca and Cartama. Cartama in Colombia has exceptional product quality along with enormous potential for growth in planted area and yield.
“They also have the continuity and very unusual ability to harvest for 11 months of the year which sets their production apart from other growing regions. Colombia is a country with a progressive and welcoming trade development policy, and with fast, reliable shipping options to the UK.”
Frowde says avocados in Colombia grow naturally for the majority of the year close to rainforest regions so there is no need for artificial irrigation. Pest control is also at a minimum as the trees grow at different altitudes, prolonging the season.
The specific Hass growing conditions in the country have led to strong demand for high quality, year-round Colombian avocados in global markets, he says, and there is no sign of demand slowing down. Kantar Worldpanel data shows a 30% growth rate per year in the U.K.
“We believe the growth in consumer demand in the UK will continue. We also see an opportunity to service a wider European customer base and will have sufficient volumes to do so going forward,” Frowde adds.
“Cartama UK has significant growth plans and a long term strategy. The high fruit volumes from Cartama UK add to and complement our existing supply base for avocados.”
The product is shipped from Colombia and received via Portsmouth and London Gateway port with a typical transit time of 16 days.
Frowde says Cartama is a well-known name in the industry and avocado volumes are often supplied in own-brand boxes to the U.K. and will be supplied to a mixture of retail, wholesale and foodservice customers.
Cartama general manager Ricardo Uribe. said this union between the companies formalized what had already been in place for some time.
“It’s a partnership between two companies who share the vision of providing the best quality Hass avocados to the UK and Europe,” Uribe said.