Rafael Ybarra Gamero-Cívico holds a degree in Business Sciences from the University of Seville as well as an MBA from the San Telmo Institute. He has held the post as chairman of the Ybarra Alimentación Group for the last five years.
What importance does the Ybarra Group attach to the brand and what is the strategy followed for each of the Group’s brands?
The brands and their associated values are distinguishing elements in any market; and the company has been developing these elements from the very beginning. The Ybarra brand is synonymous with quality, trust and gastronomy. Furthermore, La Masía is close at hand and reflects an excellent price-quality ratio. Thanks to the new digital media, for the last four years we have been strengthening relations with the consumer.
The Group’s export tradition goes back to its origins. What are the main milestones you would highlight in the international expansion process?
The export vision goes back to its origins, and proof of this is the award we obtained at the Philadelphia Fair in 1876.
There have been many milestones after 173 years’ history, but I could highlight the following:
- In 1944 we set up a company in Mexico to market the Ybarra brand.
- At the beginning of the 1980s we were pioneers in creating value in the “Extra Virgin” sector, thanks to the launch of the glass bottle in the international market.
- In 1998 we exported the first container to China.
- 2005 was the year in which we launched our exclusive Ybarra glass bottle which is now available worldwide.
What are your biggest markets at the moment, and which are your future markets?
We are present in more than 80 countries, including major players such as India, Mexico, Norway, Brazil and China.
As regards future markets, Asian countries in general, as oil represents a fundamental part of their cuisine in frying and cooking. And this is where olive oil has an opportunity, as it is a product that is 100% natural. It is healthy and contributes value to the gastronomy of any country because of its organoleptic qualities and cooking performance.
On your website, you mention that, in addition to the product, you also export a life philosophy surrounding food. How do you do this and what motivates you to do it? I guess this is a competitive advantage with regard to your foreign rivals?
For olive oil this is indeed the case, as it is the basis of the Mediterranean diet and is gradually becoming more popular in different parts of the world.
How important for the company is the online presence of its brands?
The digital strategy of both brands is a very important element as part of the group’s communication plan. Within the food sector, the online presence of Ybarra and La Masía has become a major generator of value-content for our consumers.
What challenges does the company face over the next five years?
To continue with the process of internationalisation, strengthening our presence in the major markets. Moreover, the Group will continue to work on getting closer to the consumer through a communications strategy based on generating value.