Music and corn. Though it's better known for its festival, Huercasa obtained around 40 million euros in revenues in 2017 for around 100,000 tons of processed vegetables (mainly red beetroot and sweet corn on the cob). There are around 120 fixed staff members, but during the corn campaign, which is ongoing at the moment, that number exceeds 300. The company recently inaugurated its new San Miguel del Arroyo Logistics Center (Valladolid), which measures around 10,000 square meters and cost 12 million euros. Wikispanishfood wanted to take a closer look at Huercasa, so we interviewed its chairman, Félix Moracho.
Ricardo Migueláñez.- Huercasa, the "country" company, the company with rhythm... What inspired you to organize the first country music festival in Spain?
Answer.- Values and the company philosophy are very important for Huercasa. We're all about healthy eating, living a healthy lifestyle, protecting rural areas, supporting families, having fun that is healthy and respectful... We thought that a very interesting and friendly way to convey those values was through a festival that highlighted country music—the music of rural America—known all around the world but which also highlighted the following elements: healthy eating, fun, dancing, family, friends... and Huercasa products, because corn on the cob is clearly associated with this type of music and culture.
Ricardo Migueláñez.- What are Huercasa's main products?
A.- All of our products are vegetables and are easy to eat as they can be consumed just as they are or with minimal preparation all the while preserving their nutritional properties and flavor, texture, etc.
Huercasa's main products are sweet corn on the cob and also in the Easy-Eat mini corn format, and cooked red beet. With regard to our classic products, we also have potatoes, carrots, and our legumes are especially interesting. We are also launching more elaborate products on the market, such as pre-cut vegetables (yam, pumpkin, beet) as well as ready-to-eat salads and soups. Additionally, we're making a commitment to organic products.
Ricardo Migueláñez - Where do you get the primary ingredients you use for the products you sell at present?
A.- Our raw materials come from Spain and, whenever possible, we aim to use products that are as geographically close as possible. Sometimes, though, like in the case of corn, production in Castile-León is not enough and we have to look to other parts of Spain, such as Andalusia or Extremadura.
Ricardo Migueláñez- What percentage of revenues do exports account for? What are the main destination countries?
A.- Approximately 80% of our total production is exported. We export to all of Europe and to other nearby countries, such as Russia and Israel, though our main markets are in central and northern Europe, i.e. Germany, the UK, Sweden and Norway.
Ricardo Migueláñez- Innovation is an important part of your company and you've been focused on this for a long time. Tell us about your project Cocina de Ideas. What results have you obtained to date?
A.- Cocina de Ideas was created three years ago as a pilot plant for innovation. It's equipped with the most advanced technology in the sector and it allows us to conduct testing for new product launches and for pre-industrial production at scale. It involves collaborating with specialists from other technology centers and with our own clients (national and international), and developing products together.
All of Huercasa's most recent launches have come from the Cocina de Ideas, and we're currently working on other products and projects.
Ricardo Migueláñez- What new products have you launched recently?
A.- The most recent launches have been for pre-cooked, peeled and cut vegetables, like pumpkin, yam and beet, which help consumers save lots of time. We've also launched legume and vegetable salads and vegetable soups, which are ready to eat and quite comfortable for consumers.
Ricardo Migueláñez- You recently inaugurated the San Miguel del Arroyo Logistics Center in Segovia. What will you be using this new facility for?
A.- The new facility will primarily be used for logistics purposes, and we're going to group all of the activities revolving around product packaging, storage and order expedition there, and we're going to set up our sales department there as well. I think this will allow us to better organize the last part of the process, which will improve our whole work chain. The facility will also help us continue to grow the factory's production capacity since it will free up space at the plant in Sanchonuño.