Vicenç Escandell:“To export you must have a very good knowledge about what the country needs and adapt to meet it”

Interview with Vicenç Escandell, administrator of Frutas Escandell

Frutas Escandell is a family business that operates out of the Central Fruit and Vegetable Market. It has been exporting produce, particularly strawberries, to Europe for many years.

Q- When did you first start to export?
A- We have been sending produce, particularly strawberries, to various European countries on a regular basis for many years. Every now and then we close sales with Eastern European countries or Russia, but it’s tricky.

Q- Why?
A- Exporting to those countries is riskier, especially in our case, working with such a delicate product as the strawberry. If you have to export to a far-off destination you must ensure the quality of the goods so they reach the market in tip-top condition.

Q- How do you set about capturing new international customers?
A- We’re lucky that Mercabarna’s great location means we get French, Italian, German, Dutch and professionals from other countries coming here to buy. Provided your product is good, once you have introduced it into the country, you build up a market almost without having to think about it.

Q- So the key lies in the product…
A- Yes, but don’t export what is best for you, rather what is best for your customer. In other words, you must have a very good knowledge about what the country needs and adapt to meet it. For example, we like our strawberries big here, but take them to the United Kingdom and you'll fail, because the English like them smaller.

Q- Is it harder for a small or medium-sized enterprise to export?
A- The main problem an SME can have is related to infrastructure. For example, to export you need good cold chambers because the produce cannot lose any of its qualities along the cold chain. That’s why we’re investing in these types of facilities. That aside, a small enterprise can provide better service, particularly with regards specialisation and product quality control and checking.