Mercabarna is, increasingly, a centre of commercial interest for professionals with businesses in the food sector. During 2011 the number of potential customers who contacted the Mercabarna Customer Service Office (OAC) for advice on how to buy fresh produce at the market was up by 15% on 2010.
A total of around 400 professionals, most (67%) from the restaurant trade, made enquiries. The others were importers and distributors (12%), fruit shop owners (11%) and butchers, fishmongers, catering companies and schools with a canteen service, among others (10%).
One significant fact the OAC was keen to point out is that 2011 saw a considerable rise in the number of consultations by new purchasers, i.e., people with no previous experience in the sector who had decided to open a restaurant or fruit shop because they had lost their job.
More visits by future professionals
The number of visits to Mercabarna by restaurant schools, professional chefs, university students, students of courses specialising in trade and food and secondary school pupils also rose in 2011. In total there were 195 visits, 12.7% up on 2010. In this regard, the fastest-growing sector of visitors was restaurant and cooking schools (up 20%) that have included a visit to the Food Unit as another ‘subject’ in their training programme. There was also an increase in visits by secondary school students.