5 for 5: Five Questions/Five Answers
Q & A with Alvaro Munoz, Quality Control Manager of Grupo ALTA.
Grape Season is underway at Grupo ALTA at the company’s new location, Don Mario in Jalisco, Mexico. For the table grape category, quality is an extremely important topic, not only from an industry and USDA standpoint, but also from the perspective of the consumer. Today we sit down with Alvaro Munoz of Grupo ALTA to quickly look into the important topics of quality control at a table grape vineyard.
Q1: Why is quality our first pillar of Divine Flavor and Grupo ALTA?
Alvaro: Quality is the first pillar because it is what we are seeking for the final consumer and those characteristics are what define us as a company. It is important because it’s the way we have to transmit and satisfy the needs of a client. With good quality, we give our customers confidence, security, and the satisfaction of wanting to by our product again. More than quality, we seek excellence in what we do. To be a successful farmer and a strong brand in the marketplace, you need to have a good production, good distribution and the best quality.
Q2: What are your responsibilities as a Quality Control Manager?
Alvaro: My main responsibility is to guarantee we are meeting the quality requirements from our customers, and our own internal standards. I need to verify we meet the levels of maturity of the fruit, brix, packaging, cold chain, and distribution. As a Quality Control manager, I meet with each of the QC supervisors to make sure they are overseeing each step of the process from the farm to the packing areas. It is also our responsibility to check each requirement and important detail is checked before sending to the distribution center at Divine Flavor.
Q3: Why is it especially important to have good quality control with table grapes?
Alvaro: Grapes in general have so many characteristics and each variety is different. We also need to take into account the different growing regions we have. For example, in Don Mario (vineyards in Jalisco), the weather is much more moderate and we are able to produce any time of the year we would like but we chose to do so in April. The varieties we grow there are all premium, high-flavored, and it is important to have quality control in place so those varieties are picked when the flavor has developed to its full potential in brix, flavor, form, and bunch size. Whereas in Sonora, the weather is much more extreme. Having experienced quality control is essential because the weather dictates a lot of variables but thru experience we are able to be more strategic. Regardless, having an experienced quality control team allows you to harvest in large volumes but also achieve the best results.
Q4: What do you want for the final consumer?
Alvaro: We want satisfaction for the final consumer which distinguishes and represents the Divine Flavor logo. As growers for the brand, we are attempting to create unique eating experiences for the final consumer and doing so where they automatically see our brand in the stores and add it to their basket in the grocery store. We are building confidence with our customers so it will meet all their expectations since the brand represents trust, quality, flavor, and healthy fruit.
Q5: What makes you most happy about the company you work for and the position you are in?
Alvaro: Grupo ALTA really empowers each of the employees who work here. Everyone has such a unique job description and the company supports us to be able to do the job we were hired for. For me, results make me happy. I’m in quality control, so if the product doesn’t meet our expectations or the expectations of our customers, this falls on my department. I’ve been working for Grupo ALTA for more than 11 years, and since then, I’ve grown professionally and personally with the company doing the work I love. We are a family and the family values really create a great atmosphere for all of us.
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