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Adding value to spanish exports


Juan Miguel Floristán

Wiki Spanish Food editorial team

This week's edition of Who's Who features Juan Miguel Floristán, Managing Director of Florette Ibérica. Floristán, who is 60, originally hails from Arguedas, a small town in Navarre. He has a degree in economics and a Master's degree from IESE Business School. With more than 30 years of experience, he sees himself more as an entrepreneur than a businessman, as his life philosophy is to always innovate and he is enthusiastic about constantly taking on new challenges.

Floristán first started working at the Navarran cooperative AN, formerly known as Uteco, where he performed a range of functions related to the agro-industrial sector for several public companies under Navarre's regional government.

Then, in 1989,  when Floristán was not yet 35, he teamed up with another three friends from Navarre to start a business in connection with local vegetables. After analyzing the European market, they created the company Vega Mayor, which makes ready-to-eat salads. Located in Milagro, barely five kilometers from Floristán's home town, Vega Mayor is the first Spanish company to offer fourth-range products.

The company quickly won over large supermarket chains in Spain and, as a result of an alliance with El Corte Inglés and McDonald's, Vega Mayor was named an official supplier of the Seville Expo '92.

Floristán and his partners hit the nail on the head, proving that innovation is the key to success for every business. In the early 2000s, Vega Mayor was acquired by Florette, a subsidiary of French cooperative Agrial.

The French company also believed in Floristán, who became Managing Director of Florette Ibérica, which has five factories in Spain and a workforce of almost 1,400. In 2005, he became President of the Spanish Association of Washed Ready-to-Use Fruits and Vegetables (Afhorla), which at the moment does not exist and is undergoing changes.

Up-close and personal

Juan Miguel is a curious, warm, polite person. Whenever I see him, he always finds a way to say hello, even if he's surrounded by top officials or running through Fruit Attraction; he takes an interest in you and asks you how you're doing.

Despite his successful career, he hasn't forgotten his home town and the boost that local crops need. To that end, and as part of the company's plans for 2015, a portion of capital expenditure will be used to develop crops in different part of Spain, focusing on sustainable agriculture.

He is understandably proud of how fourth-range products have developed in the Spanish food sector, adapting to consumers' needs. Spain is the primary European exporter of fruits and vegetables and is the leading European supplier of fourth-range products during winter. The sector, which has advanced notably, owes a lot to Juan Miguel Floristán.

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