Coliman committed to quality, social responsibility
As a vertically integrated grower of bananas, one of the advantages that Coliman can offer its customers is a tailor-made program that meets their specific needs. But the company can offer so much more, according to Audee Rios Canobbio, corporate director of purchasing and sales.
“One of our competitive advantages is that as a producer-owned company we can communicate your requirements directly to the farms and provide flexibility to meet the most complex needs,” said Rios. “We have scaled the organic production and developed a vast global supply network without compromising the quality and integrity of our products and values.”
Rios added that speed to market is another way that Coliman stands out from the competition. “Our strategic location, logistics planning, communication and processes ensure fast delivery from our farms to any point in the United States and Asia – faster than any other organic production region,” she said.
That speed and efficiency, along with the emphasis on quality, are deeply ingrained in Coliman, which next year will celebrate its 60th anniversary in business.
Rios said Coliman was founded by Don Custodio Aguilar Málaga in the state of Colima, a strategically important area for agriculture in West Mexico. Fifteen years after its founding, Don Jorge Aguilar Heredia, son of the founder, opened the first marketing center in Hermosillo, Sonora, which became known as Grupo AGGALL-Coliman. In the following years, the area of production and commercial influence expanded to other regions of the country.
“Today, the companies that are part of our group allow us to guarantee the highest quality in each part of our process, including production, distribution and marketing,” said Rios. “This has distinguished us for more than 50 years and has resulted in our products being consumed in millions of households around the world, proudly putting the name of Mexico at the top.”
Rios said Coliman bananas are grown in its own fields in Colima, Chiapas and Tabasco, and over the years distribution has expanded from Mexico to North America, Europe, Asia and Oceania.
“We have our high quality standards as well as our philosophy of caring for our people and our land to thank for our growth,” said Rios. “Currently, we have global strategic alliances with producers from Brazil, Colombia, Ecuador, the Dominican Republic and the Ivory Coast.”
Rios said that in addition to its organic and Rainforest Alliance designations, Coliman is also Fair Trade certified. “Our commitment is to procure social welfare, promote the common good and provide opportunities through strategic alliances and agreements with civil organizations and government entities to benefit our people, the people around us and the environment,” she said.
The last two years presented many challenges to Coliman, according to Rios, but the pandemic enabled it to reassess its status as a company.
“These times of transformation have helped us to adapt and strengthen ourselves, and at Coliman we feel more united and connected than ever,” said Rios. “We have embarked on a profound process of technology and organizational transformation aimed at making our operations more efficient, betting on our greatest resource, which is the talent of our collaborators. We want to ‘Nourish the World,’ generating value and trust for our customers, suppliers, collaborators and shareholders.”
As Coliman prepared for the upcoming IFPA Global Produce & Floral Show in Orlando, Rios said she and company officials are excited to gather for its first large in-person event in nearly three years.
“This is the first time we are attending the biggest show in the U.S. after the pandemic, so it is exciting to reunite again with our partners in the industry,” she said. “Covid has changed consumer behavior toward fresh produce, and there is definitely more online shopping, more at-home consumption and generally a shift to healthier diets. And so it will be interesting to exchange ideas and explore new opportunities in this new environment.”
Rios said one of the new items Coliman will be featuring at the show is an IQF banana.
“Our IQF banana is of the highest quality and grown to industry standards,” said Rios. “IQF bananas offer all the delicious sweet flavor, soft texture, color, nutrients and vitamins of fresh bananas but with the convenience and longer shelf life of a frozen product.”
But mainly, Rios said the convention will be an opportunity to continue promoting its commitment to social responsibility, which she said is embraced with great passion within the company and is at the root of Coliman’s growth and success.
“Collaboration with and care for the people behind our products is part of Coliman’s DNA as a business, and our commitment to empowering farmers and workers through Fair Trade partnership is making a tangible difference,” she said. “This is a perfect setting to renew our commitment to ‘Nourish the World’ with the highest quality bananas and social responsibility approach.”