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Citrosol, finalist for the CEPYME SME of the Year Awards

Citrosol is a Valencian company, located in Potríes, specializing in research, development, implementation and commercialization of post-harvest technology and treatments to maintain the quality and freshness of fruit and vegetable produce. More than 50 years of experience have seen Citrosol establish itself as the benchmark within the post-harvest sector, allowing long transport periods between harvest and consumption, reducing environmental costs and guaranteeing food safety.

The company currently has a staff of 98 and enjoys a turnover of 24 million euros, 40% of which is derived from exports. Citrosol has a selection of branches within Spain, a subsidiary in South Africa and company staff and distributors right around the world.

Jorge Bretó, CEO of Productos Citrosol outlines the key aspects of the company that may make it the SME of the Year.

What made you decide to enter the CEPYME (CESME) Awards? What criteria does your company fulfil to meet the entry requirements?

In 2015 we received the award for technological innovation and in 2018 we were finalists in the SME of the year category.

With this experience, we have been able to confirm the transparency and professionalism of CEPYME in their process of selecting candidates and winners, and this affords CEPYME even more prestige, so we have not hesitated to present ourselves again and have no doubt that we meet the requirements as worthy entrants.

Do you think that the CEPYME 2020 award could improve the image of your company in the eyes of customers, suppliers and future investors?

Since 2015, when we received the award for technological innovation, we have seen for ourselves the prestige bestowed upon us both in the national and international markets.

Thanks to the CEPYME awards, the efforts put into a SME’s business trajectory are recognized showing the work of the entire Citrosol team to be of value.

What are the strengths of your company to warrant becoming the SME of the year?

We believe that this award is recognition for those companies that, after their long business career, have shown that they know how to adapt to changes in the market and society in general, have put in the effort to succeed in their continual improvement and enhance their contribution to society. We firmly believe that Citrosol meets all the requirements.

What areas do you consider key to improving the competitiveness of your company in the coming years?

One of the main keys is to develop more effective products with enhanced environmental benefits and, in addition, to improve the technology in the application equipment.

We strive to offer greater value to our clients and to mitigate industrial variability, thereby achieving improved results for their produce on arrival at destination.

How is the current crisis caused by COVID-19 affecting your company?

In the early stages, which coincided with the lockdown decreed by the government, we were forced to adapt with extraordinary speed, but once lockdown was lifted we had already adapted very well to a “mix” of face-to-face and virtual work, so as not to cause any loss of productivity. Although it is true to say that air traffic limitations are affecting our expansion plans in various countries which form an important part of our turnover outside of Spain.

What measures have you implemented to counter it?

From the outset, we formulated an action plan with a series of measures that worked perfectly and avoided interrupting the normal activity of the company, whilst, at the same time, preserving the safety of our employees with strict hygiene measures to combat the spread of COVID-19. Today, these preventive measures remain in place and are updated continuously.

The majority of these measures were based around remote working in all those areas where practical, telematic meetings, both internal and with our clients and the establishment of working shifts in the production areas of the company. We introduced strict hygiene standards such as disinfection with hydroalcoholic gels and cleaning and disinfection of surfaces, floors and work tools plus the closure of common areas within the company, such as the dining room.

Objectives and main challenges of your company over the coming years

One of our principal challenges is to continue to internationalize successfully, adapting to the fiscal and administrative anomalies of each country, the cultural diversion of each market and the characteristics and requirements of potential clients.

Our challenge is to do so while maintaining our values ​​and customer service capabilities, which, ultimately, are what make us grow in a sustainable manner.

We are also developing new markets for our post-harvest treatments and technologies; markets that we consider “blue oceans”, as we are resolving post-harvest problems for fruit and vegetable produce such as tomato, peppers and, more recently, for the fresh cut and minimally processed food sector; products for which successful post-harvest treatments have never been developed.

Our idea is to continue along this path and offer new solutions to target fruits where needed, whilst always supporting our clients and helping to mitigate their losses at destination and avoid food being wasted.

Interview in CEPYME News

"One of our principal challenges is to continue to internationalize successfully, adapting to the fiscal and administrative anomalies of each country, the cultural diversion of each market and the characteristics and requirements of potential clients"

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