David Alba is a firm believer in the value of innovation as a driver of new business. As director of Valencia-based Genesis Innovation Group, a division of leading Spanish fresh produce business AM Fresh, he spearheads the company’s development of new citrus varieties, helping it to introduce even better types of fruit that will ensure the value of what it offers the market continues to grow.
“We wanted to go all the way from seed to shelf,” he explains in the latest episode of Fruitbox, Fruitnet’s weekly series of conversations about the international fresh fruit and vegetable business. “So not only do we grow, pick and pack citrus for our customers, now we also develop our own varieties to complete the whole cycle.”
Alba was speaking ahead of the first ever Global Citrus Congress, which takes place online on 5 November 2020. Organised by Fruitnet and the World Citrus Organisation, with support from Cirad, the event will bring together leading players from the global citrus industry to identify and develop strategies to meet growing global demand.
So what kind of new citrus varieties are needed for today’s customers? “Nowadays the market drivers are far more sophisticated than before. Flavour and colour are still very important quality attributes, of course, but consumer demands are also focused on things like shape, size, peelability, seedlessness, juice content, texture, the whole eating experience,” Alba tells Fruitbox host Chris White. “And there also important points like shelflife, healthy attributes and nutritional content, whether the fruit has been grown according to the right ethical and environmental standards.”
During the episode, Alba goes on to discuss various topics, including the potential for developing more customised products, balancing the needs of growers with commercial imperatives, making citrus production more sustainable, and combating the global coronavirus pandemic.
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