Leafy vegetable producers in Murcia have had a difficult campaign due to adverse weather conditions. "At first we suffered the impact of the high temperatures, which resulted in earlier harvests; later, torrential rainfall and frost interrupted the production process and caused a lot of product to be destroyed," states Pedro Alderete, manager of Agridemur.
Agridemur produces all kinds of leafy vegetables, from traditional iceberg, frisee and romaine lettuce to all the specialties demanded for the production of processed products, including spinach and arugula. "We only produce for the processing industry, collaborating with companies like Florette, Bonduelle, Green Line etc.," he explains.
According to the manager, Spain has achieved a very significant growth in the salad processing industry in recent years. "The Spanish market is not yet as big a consumer of bagged salads as other European countries, like the United Kingdom, France or Germany; however, growth has been very remarkable and consumption will grow even more in the coming years."
"Not only is the consumption of bagged salads increasing, but consumers are also becoming more interested in ready-to-eat salads prepared with cheese, tuna, croutons, different sauces, etc. There has been a very good promotional work in supermarkets. It should be noted that, a few years ago, Spanish consumers believed that bagged salads were not safe because of the possibility of them containing harmful chemicals," points out Pedro Alderete. "The consumer has realised that buying one of these prepared salads saves time and money while preventing food waste."
Kale consumption still needs to consolidate
Since it decided to bet on kale three years ago, the Murcia-based company has been increasing its production until it found a balance with the current demand for this product.
"We first want to wait for the product's consumption to consolidate. The fact is that there has been a small boom among growers and kale has been cultivated in a disorderly way, which has meant that it has not been a good year for this product," affirms Pedro Alderete. "We have to go little by little," he adds.
In summer, melons
During the summer months, Agridemur grows 15% of the leafy vegetables it produces in winter, as the countries where it exports its products have their local produce. For this reason, they are then devoted to the cultivation of galia, yellow, cantaloupe and Piel de Sapo melons of small sizes exclusively for export.
The United Kingdom is an important market for the firm, which for now is not feeling the effects of Brexit. "During this winter we have not noticed any changes in this market. There is still a lot of uncertainty, but we may already see changes in this summer campaign."