By Chris Dove, SeafoodSource contributing editor, reporting from Malaga, Spain
Published on 24 October, 2012
A EUR 3.4 million (USD 4.4 million) two-year internal restructuring at plants in Zaragoza and Cádiz has led to a 25 percent increase in fresh fish and seafood tray sales for fresh seafood processor Caladero.The company now supplies exclusively to Spanish supermarket chain Mercadona and will produce 41.5 million trays of fresh fish and seafood by year's end, a 25 percent increase from 2011 when it reached 33.1 million trays, over 15,000 metric tons.
Product range includes fresh clean, filleted or sliced trays of cod, sea bass or trout fillets, swordfish or hake disks; cod pil-pil style (hot chili), panga in pickle, and paella mix ready for heating or cooking; ready to eat seafood in vinaigrette and freshly cooked medium shrimp.
Growth is largely attributed to Mercadona’s 100 percent takeover of the company in 2010 when the chain’s strategy to strengthen and promote fresh fish sales across the Iberian Peninsula and Balearic Islands took Caladero products to 1316 stores, almost double the previous 785 stores supplied.
By divesting facilities and international subsidiaries, reducing the workforce from 700 in 2010 to today’s 420, and by opening in Zaragoza’s central Plaza that year, improvements have raised efficiency and productivity levels.
“The goal is to keep betting on [research, development, innovation] as a differentiator,” said Antonio Carmona, Caladero CEO.
Production rose 11 percent in the Plaza during the first half of this year and medium term forecasts contemplate “sustained and gradual growth,” a result of increased penetration and acceptance of Caladero trays by Mercadona’s customers.
“Our mission as Mercadona’s intersupplier is offering customers the best fresh fish tray to the highest quality and lowest possible price. Our production and tray packaging processes use protective atmosphere, ensuring the conservation of all properties and product freshness until consumption. With our long assembly lines, however distributors demand our trays, we can accommodate them. Our trays talk about our work, about us,” said the company.