The size of the logistical challenges for a company with an international vocation can be as big as its market. However, the lessons of the pandemic have been turned to our favor with Citrosol taking measures to guarantee our stock of raw materials such that we will be able to supply our customers even in contexts as complex as the current one. Within this framework, Raúl Perelló explained the importance of communication when it comes to making Citrosol products known to users in its international markets, such as the importance of having a catalog that makes it possible for marketers to have their produce arrive on the other side of the world in the best condition possible.
◗ RAQUEL FUERTES. VALENCIA FRUITS.
Valencia Fruits. In a year with such geopolitical complexity, how are Citrosol’s different lines of business developing around the world? Have you encountered additional difficulties?
Raúl Perelló. We are in a complicated period, without a doubt more complicated than 2020 in terms of logistical issues and scarcity of raw materials, and it seems unlikely that things will improve in the short term. Logistical issues continue to complicate operations, in some geographic areas more than others. There is a shortage of containers which, added to price fluctuations, makes it much more difficult to serve customers now than it was a year ago. In addition, most raw materials have suffered price increases and delivery delays as a result of the aforementioned logistical problems.
Despite all these complications, we, at Citrosol, have been able to serve our customers without any serious difficulties. During the first stage of the pandemic, we recognized the likelihood of complications and took measures that have allowed us to retain sufficient stock of raw materials to guarantee the manufacture of our products and the service to our customers.
VF. Citrosol actively communicates across borders and communication and training actions go way beyond Spain. On what lines and in which countries are you working in this regard?
RP. We are working on communication and training in countries where we have long been established. This is the case in the webinars that we have organized for our markets in Egypt, South Africa, Turkey, Peru and Australia, but we have also been organizing other webinars for countries where our solutions are gaining momentum, as is the case for Chile and Colombia; countries in which, in addition to organizing webinars, we have also participated in local events. These webinars have helped us share our know-how with customers and present our new post-harvest solutions for citrus and avocado.
One of the new lines that we are promoting are our solutions for the avocado, solutions that are already implemented in some of the most important exporting markets such as Peru and Israel.
Thanks to the Citrocide® Avocado system, a technology for the hygienic washing of avocados, and PlantSeal® Tropicals, a plant-based coating, we have managed to double the commercial life of the avocado, allowing exporters to reach ever more distant destinations. Within these webinars, we have also presented our line of organic treatments, Biocare by Citrosol, and amongst such treatments we should draw attention to the great response provoked by our range of coatings, PlantSeal®. They are certified coatings for organic agriculture (EU) and suitable for vegan consumption with the V-label license (the vegan seal of approval).
PlantSeal® and PlantSeal® shine-free were produced in response to a constantly growing organic sector that has found itself in need of engaging new tools with which to tackle the export challenge with guarantees.
Until now, the problem encountered by organic citrus marketers was loss of weight in the fruit, skin blemishes, chilling injury and aging. Such problems are prevalent in overseas shipments in which there may be many days of travel. PlantSeal® coatings resolve these issues and allow the commercial life of citrus fruit to be extended. PlantSeal® affords weight loss control of up to 50%, meaning a much higher efficiency than other conventional coatings. Thanks to this weight loss control, operators can significantly reduce the “gift” weight to compensate for weight loss that occurs during the trip. Within the PlantSeal® range, we have recently developed the PlantSeal® Tropicals coating, an organically certified (pending) and V-Label certified coating for avocado and mango, which completes the PlantSeal® range. This coating is experiencing a great reception as it allows the commercial life of avocado and mango to be extended quite considerably, as it significantly reduces the browning of the pulp that usually appears as a result of chilling injury that may otherwise occur during prolonged refrigerated transport.
VF. How do regulatory differences between countries influence your product development strategy?
RP. Undoubtedly, the local regulations of each producing country are of great importance in the introduction of our solutions, many of which must, of course, be registered locally in order to be marketed, which is why, in many cases, we may need several years to be able to implement all our solutions. But what is really important are the regulations required by the destination markets. Markets such as Europe and the US are very demanding in terms of food safety and this obliges our customers to carry out very careful post-harvest handling. The requirements in terms of the number of active ingredients are increasingly strict; there are fewer and fewer active ingredients available, making it essential to have well-designed post-harvest treatments that allow destinations, which are often far from the origin, to be reached with the least loss possible whilst complying with the limitations of active ingredients required. An example of the solutions that Citrosol provides in this regard is the Citrocide® Avocado System, which offers a guarantee for food safety, reducing the surface contamination of the avocado and minimizing the risk of cross-contamination, which reduces the risk of health alerts that could have consequences for public health and, in addition, mitigates the direct economic loss.
Furthermore, peduncular mold, which appears on avocados during storage, transportation and commercial distribution of the fruit, is of great economic relevance, being the cause of many claims. With the Citrocide® Avocado System, peduncular mold reduction rates of 100% are achieved after 25 days, and even at 40 days they are 90%. These results are similar, and in some cases even better, than with the Prochloraz treatment, but with the distinct advantage that the Citrocide® Avocado System is a solution that leaves no residue and is certified organic (EU).
Another example in this sense are the Chilling Injury Control coatings. CIC formulations (CI-Control®) reflect a strategy designed to be an indispensable and differentiating tool for our clients, producers and exporters who need to respond to the current distribution demands that call for a growing limitation in the use of active ingredients. CI-Control® formulations are highly effective in controlling chilling injury, obtaining results similar to those using the active ingredient, Thiabendazole.
VF. Has your international growth trajectory changed or evolved, or do you continue with the same objectives established a year ago?
RP. The growth and consolidation objectives remain the same, although, logically, in some cases, with the current situation, it may be that growth slows down a bit in some markets. Despite the complexity of the current situation, we continue to set ourselves goals such as opening new markets and new lines of business. For example, a new solution, giving us the opportunity to enter new markets, is the Citrocide® FRESH-CUT System, a solution for minimally processed produce that extends the commercial life of the produce, guarantees food safety and reduces water consumption during washing. This affords great savings in energy use since the amount of water that needs to be cooled is far less. The Citrocide® FRESH-CUT System does not generate DBPs that are potentially harmful to humans and the environment, thus representing a radical improvement over the use of chlorinated disinfectants.
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