Interviewing Gerard Obiol. Peixos de Palamós Sales Manager
(F&B) Your company has 20+ years' experience now, but you started off as a small family business serving fish locally. How did this happen?
(GO) At first our core business was selling frozen handled products to small local businesses. I should highlight the role of my father and my mother as founders and proponents of the business. Without their idea and drive, all we are doing now would not have been possible.
When Spain joined the EEC, supermarkets squeezed out the smaller shops, so we started specialising in catering, through Peixos de Palamós, and fresh fish. In the mid 1990s we began working with the Grup 25 de Barcelona (a group of 25 restaurants that decided to prioritise Catalan cuisine over French). We put out the offers for the fish at night, handled it and delivered it the next day before noon. That was when we began to specialise in haute cuisine, and from there we went on to work in big cities like Madrid, Paris and others.
(F&B) You are now present in over 30 countries. Are you looking into entering more markets?
(GO) In 2008 my sister Marina joined the company. She has opened up a new market for us to sell our goods in the UAE and the US. We also started to work with Spanish and French chefs who we'd got to know at some of the restaurants we've worked with.
In 2014 I joined the company to recuperate the restaurant channel in Spain and France, as well as launch a new project aimed at the Chinese market, where we sell directly to restaurants through EasyFish. We buy seasonal fish from the best fishing ports, process it and freeze it at our plant, monitoring the entire process to ensure that the quality remains very high from the capture to delivery in Shanghai.
(F&B) How would you define your business philosophy?
(GO) Our philosophy is to give our customers Mediterranean products with outstanding quality, from Palamós to wherever they are in the world. Every single product that enters our value chain is handled and prepared as prestige merchandise. Therefore, we work with local products and take into account quality and sustainability, both of the species and the product. We attach more importance to the fishing methods and the quality than to volume and price. We serve fresh, natural, additive-free products with the maximum guarantees: our customers are buying our brand guarantee when they choose our products.
(F&B) What do you think the key to internationalisation is: The planning? R&D? Diversification? Risk-taking?
(GO) The key to internationalisation is a combination of all four, but diversification is the most important. Diversifying has led us via a series of routes to factor in planning and risk-taking.