We have had the pleasure of interviewing David Menéndez, co-founder of Mevalco, a leading distributor of Spanish food and beverage products based in Bristol. Here’s his take on the UK market:
Mevalco opened its doors in 2007, when David Menéndez and Daniel Valle decided to join forces and combine their own different backgrounds, to import quality Spanish food& beverage products to the UK. The company has been based in Bristol since then. They supply a wide range of foodservice businesses, from hotel chains to pub and restaurants chains as well as retailers and deli shops
What are the market trends in the UK Horeca and Retail channels for Spanish food & beverage products?
Despite Brexit, British market is keeping a very positive trend for spanish gourmet products. Products such as seafood or artisanal cheeses are trending now. With regard to distribution channels, both show a strong outlook. We mainly work in the Horeca channel to distribute our products. Though, we also distribute to many retailers, independent deli shops and deli chains.
What has been the most remarkable achievement to date?
It has been a significant learning curve, dotted with wonderful milestones. We were thrilled when we achieved our first real client (Los Gatos, in Swindon), when Lido chefs were so excited about our products on a tasting we did in the back of our van, when Morgenrot allowed us to showcase our range in Bolton Stadium to their clients, when we were bold and started to import fresh iberico pork (as far as we know we were the first ones, definitely outside of London), when we started to grow with such inspiring persons as Owen, Tom and Natt (Bar 44), Kieran and Imogen (Bravas), Peter and Jonray Sanchez-Iglesias (Casamia), when Martin Burge trusted us and open the doors of our first two michellin restaurant Whatley Manor, when we achieved our first million turnover and £100,000 order! But the most important achievement to date it has been, without a doubt , to build an inclusive blame free, continued-learning culture at Mevalco and be surrounded by a fantastic team.
Which qualities or characteristics do you look for in a producer?
High quality plays a hugely significant role in picking a supplier, we look for products that are of much higher quality than anything that’s available, but also, we pay special attention to provenance and the story behind each producer.Furthermore, we look for professional and reputable businesses able to honour their commitments and show flexibility.
How do you see the market and your company in 5 years from now?
As I mentioned before, market trend is positive and everything points that it’s going to remain positive during the next 5 years. Regarding our company, we expect to grow, to add more products and more product categories to our portfolio and probably to double up our annual revenue.
If you were a producer, how would you approach a Trade Fair in the UK - like Ibérica Expo?
In my opinion, to succeed in a fair like Ibérica Expo London, producers must do their homework prior to the event. In the first place, they need to research who is going to be present at the fair, which distributors or buyers, what they do, and which products they may be looking for. At the same time, they should become aware of exhibitors within their same product segment, in order to fine tune their offering consequently. In this regard, the fact that Ibérica does select just a few producers for every product category simplifies my job at the event.