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Bonnysa launches new “Sanflavino” gourmet range


Fresh tomato is still the company’s most traded product, with 90 million kilos shipped last season, followed by 55 million kg from the tropical range and around 14 million in plantain and bananas. Their estimates for the current campaign point to 5% growth in tomato and tropical fruits, but the highest growth will be reflected in their new “Sanflavino” gourmet range, with a forecast increase of 20%. This new line includes a variety of prepared tomato produce such as sun-dried tomatoes in oil, semi-dried Canary or cherry tomatoes in saffron or basil and a wide assortment of natural refrigerated products like gazpacho, salmorejo, tomato juice…
In fresh produce they plan to expand into Dubai, the United Kingdom, Scandinavia and both Eastern and Western Europe. With their gourmet product Sauflavino Bonnysa intend to open up markets such as Japan, China and the United Arab Emirates in addition to trading in countries such as France, Germany, the UK and Denmark. “As Marketing Director at Bonnysa, my prediction for 2014 is that Sanflavino will be a resounding success in emerging countries”, notes Teresa. Sanflavino stands out as natural and with no preservatives, “from seed to plate.” It’s a product for people who enjoy eating well and trying new flavours, but who aren’t such good cooks”, adds Teresa.   
The new gourmet products line is divided into several selections. The Chef Selection features highlights such as traditionally dried tomatoes, semi-dried peeled tomatoes with saffron or basil and an olive oil accompaniment or semi-dried cherry tomatoes. The Spreadsto line consists of artichoke or tomato varieties for spreading or use as a garnish. Finally, the “Tomato Recipe” delights us with gazpacho, tomato juice, salmorejo, or striped tomato, all with the most natural and Mediterranean flavour.
Their next launch will be grenadine juice, which they expect to stand out from the rest due to its preventive powers against cancer and heart disease.
This year the company has invested in machinery and land. They take in everything from the nursery seed beds to harvesting and packing, with crops located in Alicante, Almeria, Murcia and Tenerife.
They hold the UNE-EN ISO 22000 certificate from AENOR for tomatoes and bananas, but are most notably pioneers in achieving an AENOR Certificate of compliance with BRC technical requirements for companies supplying farm food products. They have also rolled out the ISO 22000 standard to develop a food safety management system for their produce.

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CASI also sells Raf tomato on-line


In December the Spanish tomato leaders started up online sales via of their “premium quality” tomato, a Raf painstakingly cultivated by experience specialist farmers, combining their efforts to achieve an unparalleled sweetness, tender and ideal for serving or gifting as a high quality product. In the current 2013/2014 campaign, CASI expect to trade around 7 million kg of Raf tomatoes through their online store, auctions, supermarkets and gourmet shops. Due to the product’s quick ripening features, most of the output, around 90%, is traded in the domestic scope, whereas only 10% is shipped abroad, exclusively to European countries. The crop area given over to this excellent tomato variety is estimated at around 100 hectares. 
As their website explains, Raf is a very delicate tomato that requires special conditions and growing techniques; these include poor soils, very little irrigation and with highly saline waters, with salt concentrations up to ten times higher than normal. The plant’s roots are weak so must be handled with care; it is not very productive and highly disease-prone. 
Since it is the most delicate and highly valued product, the cooperative has created specific containers for this tomato, high-quality and carefully designed. In their online store, the purchasing system consists of four simple steps.     
The site also explains how consumers can distinguish it from other varieties: “It’s a smaller product in general, with deep grooves, irregular in shape and a deep green colour. However, it is characterised by an excellent flavour and sweetness impossible to find in other varieties.” They also provide recipes to prepare it, such as tomato and cod salad or Raf tomato vinaigrette with basil, although ideally it should be eaten fresh with a pinch of salt and extra virgin olive oil.

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Ecopark, organic cherry tomato leader


Ecopark is consolidated as Europe’s largest organic cherry tomato producer. Germany, the United Kingdom, Switzerland and Scandinavia are the main customers. Meanwhile, France is the market showing most progress over the past 10 years. “Today we provide more volume, with greater security and confidence thanks to an improvement in our competitive edge, with 100% of our produce now organic”, explains Luis Olcina.
To this end, they recently set up a 60 ha organic cultivation unit in Mazarron (Murcia), in addition to those already up and running in Nijar and Sierra de Tabernas. “Today around 70% of our cherry tomato operation is grouped in Mazarrón, since we are pioneers in rolling out organic tomato in the area.” Mazarrón allows cultivation all year round – under mesh netting in summer and plastic sheeting in winter. 
Ecopark also made a strong investment of over €400,000 this year in their storage and preparation facilities. They have also refreshed the image of their Ecopark and Indal+ brands. 
Ecopark today takes in 3 members and 12 producers. Their ongoing annual growth is between 7 and 10%, achieving a turnover for 2013 of €15 million and 8,000 tons traded. They supply a full range of cherry tomatoes, including the round, pear, vine, orange, yellow and zebra types. They also diversify their organic range with more cucumbers, peppers and round tomatoes. They hold A+, Sohiscert and CAAE organic certifications in the field, as well as Ceres, IFS and BRV in storage, in addition to GLobalGAP and Grasp. 

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Vicasol with 150,000 tons of produce


The Vicasol company from Almeria continues to grow every year, with a trading volume of 150,000,000 kg in the last campaign and forecast growth of 15% to around 170,000 tons for this season.  Vicasol has 1,200 ha of crops and 550 producers. 
Tomato is the main category, accounting for 65% of volume, with the rest spread between pepper, aubergine, cucumber and melon. Among their successful new varieties we find vine cherry, pear cherry and black pear cherry tomatoes. Meanwhile, their main salad items are cocktail tomatoes, black tomatoes, loose tomatoes and Canary.  Most notable among their pepper lines are the many varieties in different colours and sizes 
Vicasol’s commercial strategy is still focused on growth, with more farmers, more kilos and more quality products to reinforce their position in the market. Their main clients are located in Germany, France and Spain. Meanwhile, negotiations are still underway in the UK, Russia and the Baltic States, mainly with supermarkets, studying the best way to position the company to reach them directly.
Vicasol CEO Jose Manuel explains that his job mainly consists of forging closer ties with customers, directly anticipating each client’s needs in the most personal way possible. “Knowing our customers, with their individual specifications and needs, is crucial to us, but our most distinguishing feature is our great quality and personalised service”, adds José Manuel. They also plan to improve working systems while investing in workforce and machinery to continue their upward trend.
Vicasol’s quality system is based on certificates such as GlobalGAP, BRC, IFS, Tesco Nurture, ICE and QS. The latter covers all participants in the food chain and certifies their safety rating, ensuring consumer confidence. The co-operative also collaborates in the “Bayer Food Chain” programme, developing better and more closely monitored plant health control strategies to meet the specifications of a large-scale distribution sector that is increasingly demanding on issues such as pesticide residues.  “The European distribution requirements are 30 to 50% more restrictive than the MRLs set by the EU. The Bayer initiative will bolster our credibility and bring peace of mind to our customers”, declares Juan Carlos Urrea. Bayer helps to improve pest monitoring with more rational use of pesticides compatible with biological control. Juan Carlos recalls how the Vicasol farmers started up biological control 7 years ago in all their crops: “For the past four years, bio control has been applied in 100% of our tomato, cucumber, courgette, pepper, melon and watermelon crops.” Bio control practices also entail the use of bio-stimulants, even for soil-borne pests such as Trichoderma.

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Gautier Semences new supply and position in Turkey


Gautier Semences is consolidating its presence in Spain and launching new tomato and melon varieties. The French seed company has detected great progress in Sucrine lettuce consumption in the Spanish market. As for tomatoes, Gautier highlights the first Marmande hybrid trio: Rafati, a red Marmande with great flavor, Marnero, a black Marmande combining sweetness and character, and Margold, a yellow pineapple type Marmande, with an original color and taste. This year, the seed company is also launching new Charentais melons in France, Spain and Morocco, such as Allegria, a green Charentais with a long shelf life, ideal for exports; Delfrisco, a yellow Charentais resistant to aphids that is well-adapted to early protected cultivations; and Jenga, a yellow Charentais for the main season’s cultivation. 
Continuing to focus on business growth and R&D investment, Gautier Semences recently inaugurated a new research centre in Eyrargues (France) and took on Argun Sahin as the new country manager for Turkey, in order to expand business in the Mediterranean markets.  

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HM. Clause launches the “super tasty grape tomato”


Still under the code name CLX37559, HM. Clause is launching its new cherry pear tomato with great expectations. “It proves to have great flavor and a high yield, with resistance to cracking,” reports Javier Martínez, CEO of HM. Clause Iberica. It is also be ideal for exports, with a very good shelf life. It is both marketable as a single fruit or a cluster display. The variety has raised great expectations on both sides of the supply chain due to its good aptitudes in the field and the shop. “It is certainly the most complete variety in this segment,” Javier affirms. CLX37559 maintains a good yield and sugar level (above 9º Brix) during the entire winter, even in the coldest period. “This variety may change the market and is also attractive to the consumer.” Its unique oval shape makes it identifiable by the consumer, too. Its nice dark red color also makes it attractive. It can also be harvested with the stem, and it stays green and fresh quite a long time. 

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Yuksel Seeds: new hybrids for the world


“Our seed production is managed to match the demand of supermarkets and other distribution channels,” explains international sales manager Gökhan Cengiz. Yuksel Seeds Ltd. offers a diversity of high quality, tasty fruit to meet the demand of the market and guarantee the quality of their products all over the world. It is the largest Turkish seed research and production company specializing in developing hybrid vegetable cultivars. The company has been awarded the “Seed Researcher Foundation Certificate” by the Turkish Ministry of Agriculture. Yuksel Seeds Ltd. specializes mainly in cultivars of hybrid tomatoes, peppers, eggplants, cucumbers, squash, melons and watermelons. Currently, Yuksel Seeds Ltd. has 5 research and breeding stations, in addition to 210 hectares of land. An area of 65 hectares accommodates several greenhouses used for breeding. Yuksel Seeds Ltd. has developed high quality hybrid vegetable varieties through different breeding programs for over 25 years and will continue to do so in the future.  Nowadays, Yuksel Seeds Ltd. exports its products to the whole world. “Our own developed varieties have high production, disease resistance and environmental adaptability qualities to meet all our customers’ requirements,” states Gökhan. China is also a strong focus for Yuksel Seeds, as it is the most important tomato growers’ market (90% are pink tomato types, 10% red). Since 2013, there has been growing interest in cocktail cherry tomatoes and other types of cocktail varieties. India is also an important market for cucumbers, where the new Beit Alpha cucumber variety was successfully introduced. Other specialty varieties like the Sacher brown tomato are exported to diverse markets like Ukraine, Spain, Italy, and the USA. It is also famous in Turkey. In the US, for example a significant amount of the Sacher variety is marketed under the Brunela brand. The pink tomato is also popular in Poland (50% of it is exported), where Yuksel Seeds recently introduced a new generation of pink varieties with good taste and a firm flesh. A similar pink Marmande hybrid tomato is just starting to be exported to the Spanish market. The Middle East, the Balkan countries and North Africa are also important markets for pepper, melon and watermelon growers. The cucumber market is growing in Iran, Pakistan, India, Russia and Ukraine.”