In 1998, just one year after founding the company, longtime produce exporter Miguel A. Suarez saw orders from the U.K. plummet for his Mexican grapes, as North African fruit exporters became more economical suppliers to Europe.
“Our exports to the U.K. vanished almost overnight when countries closer to the U.K. such as Egypt, began developing their grape markets,” Suarez recalled.
Suarez soon learned from Mexican embassy officials that, across another ocean, the Japanese had developed a huge fondness for melons and grapes. Nearly 20 years after, business from a highly discriminating Japanese market has not waned.
“I have a big admiration for the Japanese culture of excellence. The high standard that we were initially required to meet greatly helped us raise the bar,” said Suarez, who keeps abreast of his customers’ preferences.
“One of our values is to respond as quickly as possible to rapid changes in the market. In this way, we ensure that the produce that ends up on the shelves exceeds even the smallest details,” the president added.
Operating under the Four Star brand in Japan, the company wants to introduce new products, such as avocados, broccoli and seedless grapes.
“Our business in Japan could not have been as successful as it is today without our Japanese employees and our critical partnerships with Sumifru and Mitsui. We’ve gained their trust and we’ll do whatever it takes to keep and improve that,” he said.