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Auxiliar Conservera is a family company with a genuinely Murcian seal that was born to meet the needs of the flourishing food industry in the 60’s, accompanying since then the growth of many large companies inside and outside the Region of Murcia. In addition to the current seven centers, two of which are international, the company has an overall turnover of 190 million euros and employs around 1,000 people. Mundolatas interviews the company’s CEO, Daniel Ballesta.

Auxiliar Conservera has a solid business structure capable of offering and responding to the needs of the market. In the face of the difficulties caused by Covid-19, the company has maintained its activity at 100% throughout this period. What have been the main challenges the company has had to face?

The truth is that these have been very complicated times for all of us, and AC has been no exception.

The main objective we set ourselves was to guarantee the safety and health of all our workers, which involved a multitude of actions that changed our normal work organization. And I am really satisfied with what we achieved: a safe working environment that allowed us to continue working at 100%.

Once this aspect was secured, the next objective was to meet the needs of our customers, which ultimately proved vital to ensure the supply of the population in the first months of the pandemic, where we saw how consumption habits changed radically, with a significant increase in domestic consumption and an almost total reduction in the HORECA channel. This forced us to increase availability on some production lines, and we were able to see how the commitment of AC’s employees was once again up to the task. Everyone made a great effort to ensure that our customers did not stop.

These last two years have been extraordinarily complicated for the whole world, without exception, especially in view of the increase in raw material prices, as in the case of tinplate. In what areas is this affecting you, and what is your analysis of the current global crisis in the sector?

Just as the pandemic has been a historic event, in terms of how it has affected the supply chain in general, the increases in commodity prices are proving equally unprecedented.

During 2021, in general, we achieved stability in the prices of our main raw material, tinplate, while the rest of the packaging materials had significant increases. But the increase in the price of steel in 2022 is something that can undoubtedly affect the health of our sector, causing a loss of competitiveness with respect to other packaging solutions, whose cost increase has been proportionally lower than that experienced in the metal packaging sector.

Our packaging solution is undoubtedly the best in terms of food preservation, and its infinite recyclability positions it as the optimum in terms of sustainability, but we cannot lose sight of the need to continue to compete with other materials.

We hope and trust that what happened in 2022 was a one-off situation, and that in the coming years we will return to levels that guarantee the future of our sector.

We are aware of the importance of Openvac in which you have invested more than 10 million euros in the last year, in new machinery and innovation. How is the project evolving?

Openvac is a product that aims to invigorate the traditional metal packaging, which, in the eyes of a high percentage of end consumers, has not evolved in recent decades at the same speed as other packaging solutions.

Our packaging provides enormous doses of innovation, improving the properties of the food it preserves, reducing energy consumption in the thermal treatment of the product to be packaged and, in addition, it presents a novel and attractive image, which improves the overall experience of use by the end consumer.

We have several customers who have launched their products to the market in Openvac, achieving important awards that classify it as one of the most innovative and optimal solutions, and it is having a very positive reception from their customers and the final consumer. And many others are in the final stages of launching their products.

In 2018, Auxiliar Conservera renewed its highest executive body with the appointment of Daniel Ballesta Sarrión as the new CEO replacing José Manuel Meca. What is your assessment of your four years at the helm of the company?

It was a challenge to take over from Jose Manuel, who led the company for almost three decades in an impeccable manner, with a personality and know-how that is difficult to match. AC is a family company, with more than 60 years of history, that keeps intact the values forged by its founders: effort, closeness, honesty, commitment…

My great challenge is to ensure that we keep these values alive, and continue to grow as a company in a sustained and sustainable manner.

Indisputably, this pandemic has brought us a change of era. How is AC facing 2022?

2022 will once again be a complicated year, in which we will continue to face difficulties in the supply of materials. We are seeing a lot of uncertainty from our customers in their markets, and we will have to be alert to react to possible changes in demand.

But the reality is that we are facing this year with the same enthusiasm as the first year. Fortunately, at AC we never cease to have challenging and rewarding projects, in which we will try to continue accompanying our clients in their development, and to be better and better in our operations.


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