Expert Talks: Jorge Ybarra Loring, director comercial de alimentación de Carrefour España

28 May 2019

Carrefour has placed fruits and vegetables at the core of its strategy, with which it aims to lead nutrition transition in Spain. Jorge Ybarra Loring, commercial director of food, explains in this interview what this action plan consists of, the role played by fresh products and the initiatives launched by the chain through the Act for Food programme, with specific initiatives to help us to eat better.  FRUIT ATTRACTION.- Carrefour has embarked on a very ambitious plan, what is it? Consumers are increasingly concerned about the products they consume and are demanding more quality and transparency throughout the food chain. There is an increase in the consumption of products related to health, nutrition, organic food and fresh products.

Therefore, the main objective of the strategy adopted by Carrefour is to convert the distribution company a benchmark in nutrition transition in order to offer its customers quality food at a reasonable price every day.

FA: But what is nutrition transition?

Nutrition transition is an in-depth global approach, just like energy transition or digitalisation. The way we consume changes: quality, safety and the source of our food are part of the main concerns of customers. This creates changes in the way it occurs. This transition means the challenge of the 21st century and Carrefour has everything required to support this evolution and become the leader of this movement.

FA: What role do fruit and vegetables play in this global strategy?

Our strategy is based on several cornerstones such as support for organic products, the development of our own brand or corporate responsibility based on sustainability criteria but, without a doubt, one of the most important areas of action is that which refers to the commitment to fresh products, with a focus on fruit and vegetables.

In this regard, for example, within the framework of relations with the production chain we place value on local production – in fact around 82% of our vegetables come from Spain – to offer our customers a fresh national product every day.

FA: What role does your fruit and vegetable purchasing centre play in this new strategy?

Located in Valencia, it is the Carrefour Group’s fruit and vegetable centre, and only last year it purchased more than 400,000 tonnes of fruit and vegetables from regional and local producers and cooperatives. It is also the number one Spanish export company in the sector since, in addition to supplying fruit and vegetables to the company’s outlets in Spain, it serves these products to 16 other countries in which we are present, such as France, Belgium, Italy, Poland, United Arab Emirates, etc.

FA: As for its Act for Food programme, what specific measures on fruit are included in this set of initiatives?

This programme includes several actions that we are explaining little by little, but with regard to fruit and vegetables, we can confirm that we have already announced the elimination of VAT on fresh organic products to make them more accessible. This involves collaborating with farmers in the development of these products, the signing of long-term production agreements that guarantee accessible prices, guarantee of traceability in own brand products and collaboration with more than 110 local producers to guarantee the daily freshness of leaf vegetables, among other measures.

FA: Finally, what role do you believe that fairs such as Fruit Attraction play in the consumption of fruit and vegetables in our country?

Fruit Attraction plays an essential role as a meeting place for suppliers and producers at an international level. It allows us to share knowledge about the entire fruit and vegetable value chain and is an excellent platform for products and services in this sector.

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