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Interviews
11/08/2015

'Consumers lean towards quality products'

Ricardo Miguelañez. Agricultural Engineer. @rmiguelanez Ricardo Migueláñez.

It's been a little over a year since you were appointed President of Asozumos. With that in mind, and with the knowledge you've obtained from working in the industry, could you tell us how you view the sector?

Javier Lorenzo.- The category has been experiencing consecutive declines in the last few years and it's going through a rough patch, for many reasons; however, it's worth noting that, according to our data, the slide in consumption in Spain in 2014 was much lower than in other years, slipping just 1.7% with respect to 2013, which we hope is a sign and that consumption will remain stable or even be positive next year.

Juice from concentrate and nectars registered the greatest decline, while chilled juices, despite accounting for a small quantity compared with the total and representing just 4.6%, continued to rise. In view of this situation, the European Fruit Juice Association (AIJN), with the support of various collaborators, is planning to launch a communication campaign in several countries, including Spain, where it aims to inform consumers about the properties and possibilities of fruit juices as part of a balanced diet. At Asozumos, we are very excited about these plans and we hope to roll them out in the coming months.

R.M.- How would you describe the sector's performance in 2014?

J.L.-The current market situation is complex due to the trivialization of products, which obliges companies to adapt their offers and prices as well as take a tougher stance when negotiating with supermarket chains. Consumption of juices and nectars in Spain totaled 968 million liters in 2014, down 1.7% compared with 2013.

It's also worth noting that, in recent times, some consumers tend to buy products they associate with quality, which are usually items that are organic and functional and require refrigeration. This is an important trend, even though it still accounts for a small portion of the category total.

R.M.- Do you expect an upswing in consumption in 2015 which exceeds last year's figures?

J.L.- It's too soon to say what consumption numbers will look like at the end of 2015, especially in the middle of the campaign and with several months to go. Household consumption data collected during the first quarter by the Ministry of Agriculture, Food and the Environment suggest that the negative trend will continue.

However, if we consider that tourism is improving, along with the hospitality and catering sectors, and if the weather cooperates, we could see a change in trend with respect to the last few years.

As I said, it's important to note that consumption of juices and nectars during the summer accounts for 50% of the total; as a result, it's difficult to decipher the results right now.

R.M.- Another factor that is increasingly recurring among businesses is internationalization as a tool for opening new markets. How important is this issue for juice producing companies?

J.L.- Within the agri-food industry, the juice and nectar sector maintain a strong foothold outside Spain. In 2014, 791,547 tons were exported, worth 613.50 million euros, -6.9% less than in 2013 in terms of value but 6% more in terms of volume.

Fruit juices still account for a notable portion of Spanish agri-food products outside Spain, in large part due to the reduction in prices that occurred in 2014. Orange juice is the most popular flavor outside Spain, with a volume of 259,804 tons, followed by grape juice, with 257,281 tons.

However, the latter represents a greater market value at 194.29 million euros, ahead of the former, which accounts for 170.48 million euros. As a result, both flavors represent 60% of the sector's total value outside Spain.

In terms of countries, the European Union as a whole accounts for 75% of Spanish fruit juice exports. Specifically, France is the primary destination of Spanish juices, accounting for 30% of exports, which yielded 184.35 million euros in 2014.

The UK takes second place, as consumers there purchase almost 10% of Spanish fruit juices, which yielded 60 million euros in 2014. This data confirms Spain's potential as a juice exporter due to the possibilities provided by the Spanish fruit and vegetable sector, supported by our industry.

R.M.- Every year for the last five years, Asozumos has organized World Juice Day in Madrid. Has it achieved its goals, in your opinion? Why are these types of events important for the sector?

J.L.- Even though we've been celebrating World Juice Day for the last four years, this year we wanted the event to include something special. To that end, we drafted a program that addressed the most current, important issues in the sector, which in the end were very interesting.

The event was held a few days ago and, broadly speaking, the outcome was very positive, especially since our associates and attendees have all congratulated us on a job well done.

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