Last week, FreshPlaza visited Mercabarna and produced a photo report to give an idea of the size of this important wholesale fruit and vegetable market in Barcelona.
Unlike most other wholesale markets in Europe, Mercabarna opens its doors at 9 am and closes at 5 pm. With 1.9 million tons of produce, it is one of the largest fruit and vegetable markets in Europe. Seventy percent of the products it sells come from Spain and, with a 19% share, Catalonia is the region supplying the most. The facilities are divided into seven halls, where around 140 companies operate on 170,000 m².
The largest market for Mercabarna companies is Spain. Around 65% of the products go to domestic retailers and restaurants, while the remaining 35% are exported to the rest of Europe, mainly to Italy and France, but also to countries such as Poland, Romania, Germany and the United Kingdom.
The market is visited daily by 23,000 buyers. The retail sector is the main customer, accounting for around 60% of all sales. Restaurants and other distribution channels account for another 20% and the remaining 20% corresponds to international buyers, who distribute the product through different channels in their countries.
When we visited the facilities there was a large supply of cherries and stone fruit, as well as of other national products, such as citrus fruits and vegetables. The larger companies have warehouses at Mercabarna, in addition to their stalls in the halls, where the larger customers go to pick up their goods.
Next to the halls is the Complementary Activities Zone (ZAC), which houses around 100 companies that carry out complementary activities for the market, such as cleaning, packaging, storage, distribution, importing, and exporting. These companies distribute around 700,000 tons of products across Europe.
Mercabarna's wholesale market has its sights set on the future and therefore pays great attention to sustainability. For example, it gives companies the opportunity to demonstrate that they sell mainly domestic products, which require less transport.
Last year was marked by the launch of Biomarket, the first wholesale market for organic food in Europe, which is also covered in this photo report. The Biomarket offers mainly Spanish organic products.