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SNIFL turns 50


The “Syndicat National des Importateurs/exportateurs de Fruits et Légumes” (National Union of Importers/Exporters of Fruit and Vegetables, or SNIFL) at Saint Charles International first came ito being in 1965. This was at a time when the few dozen importers operating on the Perpignan wholesale market were beginning to feel cramped for space and the Saint Charles trading hub was still an unfinished Holy Grail. The historic site of Saint Charles International rapidly filled up and many businesses spread out, both inside and outside the site, occupying 200,000 m2 of climate-controlled warehousing across an area of 70 ha.
The fresh fruit and vegetables tonnages sold through the Saint Charles International platform quickly grew. Yves Mir, a former director of Saint Charles, recalls the landmark year of 1984, the year of a million tons, where on one fine day in December, 20,000 tons of citrus fruit passed through the toll gates, or the equivalent weight of two Eiffel Towers.

Different names for different times:

In 1965, SNIFL was known, in English, as the “National Union of Importers and Exporters from Pyrénées-Orientales”.
In 1976, it adopted the name of “National Union of Importers and Exporters of Fruit and Vegetables from Spain”. Since then, SNIFL has remained the “Syndicat National des Importateurs/exportateurs de Fruits et Légumes”.
SNIFL has also developed some fine tools over the years, some of which are unique in France, such as automated import and export databases, or the sector-leading systems for tracking data in real-time.
It was also the site of the world’s first solar power plant integrated into a building in the form of photovoltaic tiles – on the roofs of the warehouses at Saint Charles, where it was inaugurated in 2011.

It has taken fifty years of tireless effort, fights and alliances to create this trading hub based in Perpignan since 1965 – a hub that leads the way in Europe for the sale, transport and logistics of fruit and vegetables.

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The KÖLLA fruit company opens SAS branch in Perpignan

The KÖLLA Group has opened the KÖLLA France SAS branch in Perpignan.

The KÖLLA Group has opened the KÖLLA France SAS branch in Perpignan.

In a press release, the fruit company said it is continuing on its path of internationalisation and the new branch in France will allow it to be geographically closer to the “fruit from the south”. The branch is located in Perpignan, a key trans-boarding hub for produce from Spain and northern Africa.

“Highly qualified and experienced staff handle the sourcing, logistics and active marketing for our contacts in supermarkets, chain stores and wholesale markets. We are looking forward to a successful international cooperation,” it said.

For more than 90 years, the KÖLLA Group has operated in the global fruit and vegetable trade from its own offices in Bern, Kaarst, Munich, Valencia, Bolzano and Karlsruhe. It has a broad and deep network of relationships with customers and production within the EU and overseas and is certified according to ISO’22000 / 9001 and EU Bio, in Switzerland additionally with BIO SWISS. KÖLLA’s own-brands OTELLO and Alinda among others underline the experience in cultivation, quality assurance, trade and logistics of fruit and vegetable products.

source: KÖLLA press release

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This year’s medFEL likely to attract about 6,000 visitors


About 6,000 visitors are expected to attend this year’s medFEL, being held April 21-23 in Perpignan, France.

Thanks to the launch of medFEL TECH, the event now attracts representatives from the entire fruit and vegetable industry, ranging from products through to packaging, seed producers and plant breeders, and logistics and cold chain practitioners.

A powerful tool for prospecting new business, medFEL encompasses more than 35 export markets and this year its visitors are expected to include 120 VIP buyers from Algeria, Bahrain, Bangladesh, Brazil, Colombia, Egypt, Hong Kong, Ivory Coast, India, Lebanon, Luxembourg, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Singapore, Sweden, Tunisia, United Arab Emirates and Vietnam.

More than 4,000 BtoB meetings will be scheduled with exhibitors.

Focus on apples

With apples taking centre stage, fruit and vegetable producers from the French regions (Languedoc-Roussillon, Loire Valley, Provence-Alpes-Côte d’Azur etc.) and Mediterranean countries (Greece, Morocco, Tunisia, Spain, Italy, Egypt, Algeria, Portugal, Turkey etc.) will shine the spotlight on every type of apple available to customers.

The major apple brands, such as Blue Whale, Cofruid’Oc Méditerranée, J.M.C. Fruits, Tifanette, Vog etc., will be exhibiting their produce alongside all the other varieties of fruit and vegetables.

Key issues

The consequences of the Russian embargo and five crop forecasts (apricot, peach, melon, plum and apple) will be the focus of a programme of debates designed to appeal to the media and medFEL visitors.

Organising committee president Chantal Passat said medFEL is responding to the demand for innovation, which is a key driver of the sector’s competitiveness.

”This will help our stakeholders to maintain a strong position in export markets and meet the changing expectations of consumers,” Passat said.




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Bright economic outlook for Saint-Charles International


Perpignan’s Saint-Charles International – Europe’s most important fruit and vegetable marketing, transport and logistics centre – expects excellent results for the 2014/15 season, with projected increases in volumes, prices and turnover.

According to figures presented at the November 25 AGM of the SNIFL (National Union of Fruit and Vegetable Importers/Exporters), turnover for 2014/15 is forecast to be up 12.54%, volume up 7.94% and prices 4.52% compared to the average for the previous three seasons.

And also based on figures to November 16, the results for 2013/14 are expected to see a 7.79% increase in volume and 4.05% increase in turnover, but a 3.44% slip in prices, compared to the average for the previous three seasons.

Each year, Saint-Charles International handles sales worth €1.6 billion and 1.5 million tons of fruit and vegetables –mainly of Mediterranean origin – and provides 2,500 jobs.

Agreements to share statistics, monitor Moroccan imports

In a press release about the AGM, Saint-Charles International said French Customs and the SNIFL signed an agreement aimed at strengthening relations between them and collaboration on initiatives such as the proposed one-stop customs (GNU) and sharing of statistics.

It also said an agreement was signed between FranceAgrimer (France’s national institution of agricultural and seafood products), the SNIFL and 19 firms with the goal of: “the most comprehensive collection of data enabling a better approach for the calculation of the PFD. That is guaranteed both by the number of operators and their weight in the trade of Moroccan tomato in this case, and by the analysis of different types of tomatoes. Every day before 3pm, the items are sent to the MNC which can exploit them before passing them to the services of the European Commission.”

Importance of Spain for the platform

The AGM was attended by Spanish Consul General Gaudencio Vilas, who described the platform and Spain as “an inseparable duo.” Vilas said Saint Charles International made a huge contribution to the economy of the city of Perpignan and the Pyrénees-Orientales.

He said he would remain vigilant to ensuring “that  free movement of goods within the European Union is respected”, stressing that “the incidents in recent months with Spanish trucks were unacceptable.” Vilas also stressed the importance of future railway links.

Saint-Charles International also paid tribute to Spain’s importance to the market, saying: “Today, Spain is still the leading partner of the platform with some 935,000 ton in citrus fruits, vegetables and fruit, and the main companies of Spanish origin have been since a long time in Perpignan, some since 1968. This meeting was an opportunity for business leaders to show their optimism for future cooperation between Spain and Saint-Charles International, and the parent company of subsidiaries based on the platform has actually confirmed that the Perpignan was for them ‘not cost structures, but added value centers’,” it said.


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Medfel drives more international buyers

The attendance and exhibitors at Medfel 2014 which is kept in Perpignan from 13 till 15 May 2014 increased 10% with 5,315 visitors against 4,894 (in 2013). Beyond figures, the first testimonies collected in Perpignan at the end of 4,000 BtoB meetings let think that the level of the business was very good too. The debates of Medfel were also very followed and are to be found on the site of medFEL with all the European harvest forecasts.

Poland’s Tropicana a big citrus buyer
From Tropicana in Poland, board president Wojciech Guzik was visiting Medfel mainly to seek new fruit suppliers. The importer and export of fruit and vegetables said he was looking for all kinds of products but, in terms of volume, mainly oranges. Greece and Spain are currently Tropicana’s main origins for oranges, though it now also buys from Turkey, Egypt and Morocco. It sources another of its high volume imports, bananas, mainly from Colombia and Costa Rica. Supplying small local greengrocers makes up about 80% of Tropicana’s business, and 20% is sales to retailers. The company’s focus is on imports but it also exports, such as selling Polish apples to distributors in France and cauliflower in the UK.

Saudi Arabian buyers at Medel for better fruit
Several Middle East buyers like Saudi Arabian importer Moatasem A. Abuzinadah were hosted at Medfel for the second consecutive year and looking to buy fruit including stone fruit, particularly cherries, apples and citrus fruit, as well as tomatoes.
General manager of Al Moatasem Trading Corp. and acting head auctioneer at the Jeddah wholesale fruit and vegetable market, Abuzinadah said last year he did some good deals with orange and apple suppliers from Spain and Egypt while at the fair. “Medfel is even better this year, with more visitors of different nationalities, and I’m hoping to find more new suppliers.”
Indonesian retail supplier at Medfel
Apples, pears and grapes were the main fruits, and carrots and onions the vegetables Jakarta-based fresh fruit importer and distributor Hendry Sim was most interested in at Medfel. Vice director of P.T. Laris Manis Utama, a company that mainly supplies retail chains, Sim said the US is its main source, particularly for apples and grapes from California, but China is also a big supplier, particularly of pears, and it also buys from Australia and Thailand.