With 1.7 million tons sold in 2015, Mercabarna has positioned itself as Europe’s top fruit and vegetable market Part of this success is thanks to the market’s operators exporting to other countries, above all within Europe. These exports have now reached 34% of the total sold by Mercabarna’s fruit and vegetable sector. According to Josep Tejedo, general director of this huge market, “exports are growing year on year due to many factors: we have 200 companies competing among themselves, which leads to a large, varied supply of products from around the world of very good quality throughout the entire range.” Tejedo said that, furthermore, foreign buyers appreciate the possibility of groupage. This service means, for example, that a company from Mercabarna can supply different types of products even though they are not bought in large quantities. “This is possible at a very competitive price because the specialised logistics services located in Mercabarna enable trucks to be filled with different wholesale cargoes for one or more foreign clients.” For all these reasons, the number of buyers from other European countries, or brokers, who regularly visit Mercabarna to stock up or supply foreign clients is also continually growing. “Day after day, we are seeing more purchasers from France, Italy, Germany, the UK, Poland and Ireland, to name but a few, who come faithfully to the market for supplies,” Tejedo said.
Convenience products packaged to the clients’ liking
Another important feature offered by the companies in Mercabarna is that of adding value to products. More and more operators are offering fruit and vegetables cut and packaged according to their clients’ needs. Tejedo points out that one of the biggest trends he has seen in the market in recent years is a continual improvement in packaging, whether to lengthen a product’s shelf life or adjust the quantity as desired by clients, such as providing restaurant or single serve formats. Local and organic products are having more and more impact on the market due to consumers’ growing awareness of environmental issues, as well as the need to encourage nearby food production to help local farmers make a living, in addition to better flavour, aroma and freshness. There is also a great deal of counter-season fruit in Mercabarna; in other words, products that come from the Southern Hemisphere when they are not in season in the northern markets, or exotic fruit and vegetables from anywhere in the world.
Specialists in gourmet products, wild mushrooms, exotics, potatoes, etc.
Furthermore, there are more and more specialists in Mercabarna, including in organic products, convenience fruit and vegetables (washed, cut and packed), gourmet products, exotics, potatoes, wild mushrooms, tomatoes, etc. The market is continuing to modernise its infrastructure with a €20 million project due to be complete by 2020. The work takes place after the site closes its gates, so as not to disrupt business. A new water supply network was installed last year and this year the roofs of seven of the market’s large buildings will be changed, their structure strengthened, new fire prevention measures installed and electrical installations in communal areas changed. For all of these reasons, day after day, Mercabarna is consolidating itself as the Mediterranean’s food hub, a major international point of reference where perishable foodstuffs arrive from around the world in order to be traded, given added value or combined with other products and redistributed to other international markets.