Two years ago, the Valencian company Vicente Peris, a reference in the marketing of melon, watermelon and pumpkin for more than seventy years, detected that there were opportunities to be developed in the cucurbit market and decided to make an important turn towards a segment with a differentiated value to which a promising future is predicted: the pre-prepared convenience food. We did the first commercial tests last summer with the melon half pieces and at Fruit Logistica 2015 we took the opportunity to present a wider range including half pieces of galia melon, pineapple, watermelon quarters and, on the other hand, the line of cut fruit.

Spanish retailers are already working to implement the fresh-cut range in their greengrocers’ stores

Alberto Montaña, commercial director of Vicente Peris, explains to FreshPlaza that on the one hand, Spain does not have the same tradition of fruit consumption in the fresh-cut segment as in the rest of Europe. However, “we perceive that consumer response is very positive, although there are constraints such as the cold chain at points of sale that need to be reconfigured”. The distribution and health authorities know that the display of sliced fruit without sanitary controls must disappear, directing the supply towards fresh-cut formats with guarantees for the consumer, “this process is slow but unstoppable”.

The success of Peris’ product offering consists of providing a satisfactory experience with the product, “our fruit is packed at the optimum point of ripeness, the packaging stabilizes its shelf life for up to 10 days at appropriate temperatures”.

Overcoming traditions, demanding the same guarantee for fruit as for other foodstuffs

On the other hand, Vicente Peris insists on the need to support the work of the health authorities so that food distribution and their quality managers become aware of the necessary change in the handling and marketing of fruit. Many retail chains and greengrocers offer cut melon and watermelon halves at points of sale without complying with WHO recommendations. “It is a cultural aspect. The traditional consumer is used to the greengrocer cutting the fruit in the store and retail reproduces this process, entering into a contradiction between quality assurance and customs already overcome in other products such as meat or fish,” he explains.

“With Fresh Cut we can get young people to eat more fruit again.”

“We are finding that these products are winning over mainly the younger public, who currently need new ideas and proposals to get started in fruit consumption. This does not happen with people over 55 years old, who include whole fruit as a basic and essential element of their diet. Quality and flavor are the best sales arguments. “It is clear to us that consumers know how to appreciate the difference of our fresh fruit, so much so that they are willing to pay a little more to enjoy the best fruit again,” says Alberto.