“We sell solutions that our clients use to get good results.”
Citrosol is customer-focused and, as such, our objectives, successes and challenges go hand-in-hand with those of whoever choose us as their partner. In the midst of a situation of cost overruns and unabating uncertainty, Jorge Bretó expressed his optimism and hopes that the situation will improve. With this in mind we are going to work both on the company’s own portfolio of products and its continued expansion. Innovation and internationalization; the goal remains the same; growth.
RACHEL FUERTES – Valencia Fruits. How is 2022 looking for Citrosol? What are your expectations?
Jorge Bretó. We all hoped that 2022 would start differently and that it would be a year in which a large part of the uncertainties that have plagued us over these last two years would finally vanish, but, for the moment, it’s looking like it’s going to be another challenging year. The logistical problems remain with us and we are immersed in another wave of the pandemic that is sowing new doubts regarding the resolution of the raw materials crisis and its effects on the supply chain. Nevertheless, we remain optimistic and hope that, within a few months, the situation may improve.
VF. Do changes in cost structures affect your production and do you think they will end up being reflected in your prices?
JB. The increases in the costs in recent months of practically all our raw materials have been quite sizeable and, in some cases, exorbitant. We have endeavored to mitigate their impact to some extent with good purchase planning and timely anticipation of our needs, but the truth is that the situation is dragging on excessively, which makes it difficult to withstand a situation like this without it ultimately affecting prices.
VF. In this new environment, what goals are being set in the medium term?
JB. Our goal remains to continue our growth. Something that we have achieved year on year largely through our innovative products, which make us attractive to new clients as well as continuing to strengthen our relationship with those we already have. Every day, more customers are showing interest in our business model, in which we don’t sell “products”, we sell “solutions” with which our customers obtain good results for their produce on arrival at destination. We believe that this is the right way and we try hard not to deviate, even in the slightest.
VF. Which lines are Citrosol planning to work most intensely on during 2022?
JB. All our current lines of work are important, and we will continue to support all of them. We will continue to develop BIOCARE by Citrosol, our range of products certified as inputs for organic farming, to respond to the growing demand for this type of product.
Following the tremendous reception we saw over the last year for our new plant-based PlantSeal® coatings and our CIC coatings that minimize the symptoms of chilling injury, we will continue investing in the development of new coatings. Finally, it must also be said that we are going to continue developing new application systems as well as implementing improvements in those we already have, with the aim of optimizing the application of our products.
VF. So, is Citrosol‘s growth now being focused on the treatments provided by new products, the development of the current catalog lines or the expansion of markets?
JB. Well, it is a combination of all those factors. On the one hand, the new developments allow us to grow further in markets in which we are already well established and in the product lines on which we have been working for many years. On the other hand, some of our developments are giving us the opportunity to diversify, providing solutions for fruit other than citrus, which is our primary market, such as post-harvest treatments for tropical fruits, such as avocado, mango, pineapple and papaya. Export of these fruits is increasing and they need solutions that allow them to prolong their commercial life and guarantee food safety.
Finally, we continue to bring our solutions to evermore distant countries, which is never an easy task, always requiring significant effort to do so properly, our objective being to achieve good results contributing to improved quality of the fruit on arrival at final destination.
VF. How do you imagine the fruit and vegetable world in the post-pandemic era?
JB. Citrosol is a company that has operated successfully in the market for close to 60 years. World markets are increasingly open and globalized, with the supply of fresh fruit and vegetables no longer being as it used to be; we have gone through all the various stages in the sector and the economy, and weathered a number of crises. It is necessary to have crisis management and contingency plans in place that make it possible to afront unforeseen situations such as those we have experienced with the current pandemic. We have always tried to ensure that any crisis has as little as possible effect on our clients and in consequence ultimately, the population in general, as stability of supply in the sector is essential in order not to compromise the food supply.
Now a complicated era is coming with the increase in the costs of raw materials, increasingly demanding supermarkets and changes in consumption priorities, but we will face the difficulties and endeavor to ensure that the sector is affected as little as possible.
VF. What role does Citrosol expect to play in this sector in the medium term?
JB. As I have mentioned, we are now going through a difficult stage not only in this sector, but in general. We are immersed in a time of uncertainty at every level; we must protect the basic strategic industries such as this sector. We are a customer-oriented company, meaning that we are always at the forefront monitoring the ways in which the market and distribution are moving.
At a general level, there is a strong trend towards the consumption of fresh produce, our raison d’être, but, above all, we are seeing a clear trend of increased demand for organic products and fresh cut and pre-prepared convenience foods. At Citrosol we will continue along the same lines as always: improving so that our clients improve and obtain the best results.
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