“We want to be the reference in raw tuna elaboration”

ATUNLO, a Galician group which has become Europe’s largest producer of raw and frozen tuna, lands in January with its trademark tuna line. The aim is clear; to become a reference operator with a recognizable brand in the frozen added value tuna line, with direct presence in retail both, in Europe and the United States. Alberto Gros, Director of Operations for ATUNLO adds the following; la información ya adelantada por Alimarket Gran Consumo hace unos meses the products have already been launched but, they will be referenced and available  in our product line, at the end of the Christmas campaign.

Alimarket:  What reasons have prompted ATUNLO to develop and launch a new top of the range product that target end consumers?

Alberto Gros: At ATUNLO, we believe that there are consumers who demand sustainable products in all areas, especially in the raw tuna processing sector, where there are no model operators that offer such an extent range of products like these. In regard to this, we have made significant new investments in our Cambados plant to ensure production and marketing of a full range of raw processed tuna products.  Selecting the best raw materials from our shareholders’ fleets and in order to guarantee the consumer not only high-quality products but also, that they meet the highest fishing, social and environmental standards. In this first phase, we will launch several formats, which are the ones best suited for our current customers’ demands in natural tuna. Specifically, tuna steaks, in individual or family formats, tuna tataki, for international food lovers, tuna cuts for stews and rice dishes, for the more traditional recipes, and diced tuna, perfect for kebabs and grilled recipes. With these formats we want to offer the clients cuts that suit their cooking styles and real needs.

A: What is your balance sheet for this financial year 2020?

A.G: 2020 has been a challenging year for the tuna market. At the fishing level, European fleets were faced with replacing crew members the safest way possible in the current COVID environment. The drastic reduction in commercial flights, the necessary quarantine and the difficulty of landing in some ports have resulted in significant cost increases and a huge reduction in fishing periods and therefore number of catches. On the other hand, market prices have remained low, given the abundant supply of raw materials from Asia, where there, is a fleet that does not operate under the same standards of social sustainability and has continued to supply the market in a time of decline in the consumption and catering sector.

A: What are the prospects for the industry in 2021?

AG:  Next year is expected to be similar to the current one. Fishing and producing with the appropriate safety standards that the pandemic requires, translates into an increase in costs that is difficult to move in the market, which in the meantime is supplied by other sources with, more laxed standards. Our main challenge for 2021 is to bring this message to the market: to fish and produce in a sustainable way not only from a fishing point of view but also from a social point of view. it’s not significantly more expensive, but it does have a cost that we need to evaluate. As our market is not aware of all, it can’t assess high value and environmental standards that the European fleets and industry fulfil. We believe that we should not only be sustainable from a fishing angle, but also from a social or environmental angle.  We take care of the sea and take care of our people.