Long distances can always be overcome in the fresh produce trade. Juan Gonzalez Pita has proven that beyond doubt since he co-founded import-export firm Salix Fruits around ten years ago.
From small beginnings in his home country of Argentina, the group has become a key player in several of the Northern Hemisphere’s fresh produce markets.
At the time, together with co-founder Luis Elortondo, Gonzalez was encouraged by what he describes as untapped opportunities for growers in lots of emerging markets, such as the Middle East, Asia, and Latin America.
“People were not paying attention to this,” he tells Chris White in the latest episode of Fruitnet’s conversation series Fruitbox, “so I just focused there, and relying on technology first we started with email marketing campaigns.”
Operating from a tiny office in Buenos Aires, the universal accessibility of new online platforms was instrumental in the company’s initial expansion. But in contrast with previous advances in global communications like the telephone or fax machine, the internet gave Gonzalez a chance to reach people he didn’t even know existed.
“I started making Google AdWords,” he recalls, a move which was relatively unheard of at the time. Soon, this began to generate “a lot of leads for very little money” from interested parties in places like India, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka and the Middle East.
Gonzalez goes on to explain how the company, now a major international player with offices in the US, South Africa and Argentina, intends to keep growing in the years to come.
He talks about the importance of people and trust in the business, the challenges of international travel, the pressures of dealing with perishable products, and effect of changing demand in the business.
Hosted by Chris White in London, Fruitbox now attracts a big audience across the global fruit and vegetable business that tunes in every week to hear exclusive interviews and expert analysis. Produced by Fruitnet Media International, the show is essential listening for everyone in the fresh produce industry.
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Produced by Fruitnet Media International, the show is essential listening for everyone in the fresh produce industry.
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