Hispalco opens his doors to the national market
Interview to Pepe Beltrán, Executive President of Hispalco
by Carla Almela
What are the economic circumstances that lead to the decision of starting to operate with your business as a commercializer of fresh fruits and vegetables just in the international market?
I have always had a passion for commerce since I was a kid. After working in the national market for two export companies I started working for a commercializer, certain time after that a company from the Netherlands got interested in my job, we made a deal and I headed Holland to work form them,. You could earn more money there for the same job than in Spain, for it was a bad economic moment for the country. This decision was nos easy to make as I had to leave a wife and a daughter behind, bit with the effort of both my wife and me we were making money count. Once this period was over, a Swiss company contacted me, they wanted me to act as a producers an d provider scouter in Spain. My answer was that the only chance of us working together will happen if we founded a society were I was the senior partner. It was very difficult to reach a deal but after negotiations we started a 50% society. After 8 years working together we decided that Hispalco would belong 100% to the Beltrán family.
¿What countries are your main clients?
Germany, France, Italy, Netherlands, Escandinavia, countries from the east of Europe, China, Singapur and of course Spain. We are always open to attend emerging countries if guarantees exist.
Does the international community really trust Spanish companies, taking into account the economic circumstances coming from the global crisis of the last years?
Totally. What we have to take into consideration when taking about commerce, are guarantees. The true crisis is the crisis of ineptitude. The problem of businesses and countries is the laziness to find ways out and solutions. Without crisis there are lo challenges and therefore merits. Talking about crisis is talking about promoting yourself and silence is the sign for conformism. Hard work is needed in order to survive a crisis.
What conditions have made it possible for Hispalco to open to the national market?
In business you either exist or not exist. We already had presence in so many countries that we found it compulsory to also be present in Spain, to sell extra quality products from national production and from imports.
What differences do you find between the buying in bulk Spanish client and the international buying in bulk client?
There are no differences to me, the important thing is to know how to make a good deal taking into account the characteristics of the market and the culture of the country we are operating in. It is about not damaging anyone but getting errors solved anyhow.
The Spanish consumer is changing his behavior regarding shopping of fresh food. ¿Since when and in what ways do you think this is happening and how does it affect your on the whole commercial strategy?
The consumer changes regarding the offer that is being made. Traditional products are the same, what affects the process of selection of the consumer are: packaging, new high quality plant varieties, tracking of fresh products and guarantees that they are fresh, use of new channels of communication..etc. Everything comes and will come from the fields but national and international strategy must adapt to the new needs of consumers which is very important.
Do you consider a risky business the fact of still working for buying in bulk markets in a time where so many changes are going on in the food industry? Do you believe there is a crisis in the bulk markets as new shopping possibilities appear for clients, for example online market places?
It is undeniable that there is a crisis in the food industry, but it can also be considered as a blessing for workers, entrepreneurs and governments, as it is a chance to be creative, inventive and to discover new strategies and formulae to keep going. Regarding online commerce I think it is still too soon for traditional markets to be displaced by it. It is difficult for it to happen with exports but taking, and user shopping experience also helps traditional markets to survive.