With a vision towards innovation and upgrade of the farming sector, Juan Fernando González Rubio, Grupo GR CEO shares in this interview his interest in continue growing as a family business, achieving both domestic and foreign recognition for its brands and the quality of their products and services.
Last December, Agrícola El Nazario, a part of Grupo GR production units, joined the Veggies From Mexico community of farmers, obtaining the Eleven Rivers Growers Badge in accordance with Version 1.0.3. For complying with the food safety, social responsibility and sustainability standards, adhered to the criteria of level: BEYOND.
Grupo GR started over seven decades ago as a family business engaged in production, packaging, transportation and marketing of tomato, cucumber, jalapeño pepper, potato, onion, pomegranate, walnut, and others. My father, Don Juan González Reyes, founded the company in 1943. From a very early age, he learned what work was, by helping my grandparents transporting fresh produce and making sales efforts. At the tender age of 14, my father already had a 7-ton truck, and named it “Alma Llanera”. This is how he formally started working as a shipper and future retailer, laying the grounds for what Grupo GR is today. I was interested in focusing on farming, in order to reinforce the processes being carried out in the family business. That is how I became a part of this project as Farming Director, by establishing new techniques and technologies that increased efficiency of production processes, always looking after food safety and the environment.
Farming has been an area of interest to me, and I wanted to get involved in it, to be able to bring new trends, technologies and products, and enrich the company this way.
Innovation and upgrades have kept Grupo GR in the market for so many years; also, we have a continuous improvement program that promotes the use of advanced technologies in production processes. In addition, we are current with food safety and social responsibility certifications, to supply high quality products and this way, we set ourselves as an integrated company with ethical principles.
Grupo GR’s expansion in the international market formally started with the US exports through a distributor in Nogales, Arizona. At the beginning of 1995, the first warehouse and point of sale was acquired within the US (McAllen, Texas); this is how direct sales started in US and Canada markets. One of the challenges we faced was that, at first, marketing was exclusive for produce grown by farming companies of our own. In 2000, we had the arrival of new sales opportunities and with this, the creation of alliances with other farmers, and so we were able to expand the variety of products sold in these markets.
Sinaloa: Tomato, cucumber and pepper. Coahuila: Cucumber, Tomato, mini sweet pepper. Durango: Pomegranate. Sonora: Pomegranate. Chihuahua: Walnut.
Agrícola El Nazario is part of Grupo GR, where we produce and pack fresh products, specifically tomato, cucumber and peppers of the highest quality for both domestic and foreign markets. Our vision is being the leading company in the field, sustainable and both nationally and internationally recognized for our brands and the quality of our products and services; by ensuring the supply of our farming products all year round. For the above, we set our production regions with various climate conditions, so we are able to schedule production and this way, to supply our products all year round, and the State of Sinaloa is one of these production regions.
Being constantly upgraded with market demands and its emerging needs, in order to comply with the guidelines and remain being a leader in the market. Products from Mexican fields are worldwide known for their quality and variety; this would not have been possible without all the effort, sacrifice and work that goes behind them, thanks to the farmer and the combined efforts we are constantly making in order to comply with quality standards and the audits we are constantly performing, to continue supplying food safety products for consumption, while preserving the environment.
A challenge we have faced is to make alliances with other farmers, because while we were expanding into new markets, we considered there was no need to extend our variety of products to be marketed, as long as these met the quality, food safety and social responsibility standards we have, to continue preserving our business philosophy and supply the same quality in products.
The benefits of being a part of this community are being in constant innovation and upgrade to comply with food safety standards and social responsibility practices; and also, making alliances and networking with companies of the same field, by reinforcing the current programs we have, and this way, to continue being an integrated company.