AIJN President interview: insights from the General Assembly



Discover exclusive insights from our interview with AIJN President, Javier Lorenzo Benavides, as he shares his vision for the fruit juice industry from our recent General Assembly held on the 11th of April 2024.



As the newly appointed president of AIJN, what inspired you to take on this leadership role, and what do you hope to contribute to the European fruit juice industry during your tenure?

As someone who has dedicated 13 years to the fruit juice industry, my appointment as President of AIJN on January 1st, 2024, is both an honor and a privilege. What inspired me to accept this leadership role is my passion for this category. I have a deep sense of responsibility towards our industry and firmly believe in the value of our products. It is this belief and pride in what we do that motivated me to take on this position.

During my tenure, my primary goal is clear: to protect, defend, and promote our category. I want to ensure that the voice of our industry is heard and known. To achieve this, I am committed to fostering strong connections with our representatives in Europe and I encourage our partners to do the same. By forging these links and ensuring our message is well communicated, we can amplify our impact and drive positive change. Together, we can work towards a brighter future for the European fruit juice industry.

As the General Assembly has just finished, as President of AIJN, what are the outcomes you would like to highlight?

As the General Assembly has just concluded, I am pleased to highlight several key outcomes. Firstly, I am very satisfied with the development and productivity of the meeting. We successfully achieved our objectives and established a great level of alignment on our mission, strategy, and priorities for the future. This sets a solid foundation for our endeavors in 2024.

Furthermore, I was impressed by the commitment and sense of responsibility demonstrated by the participants. There was a strong commitment to our industry and its goals, which is a positive sign for our future teamwork. Additionally, the thorough review of challenges and dossiers was conducted with positivity and constructive discussion, leading to positive outcomes. This underscores the importance of collaboration and collective effort in achieving success.

Why do you think cooperation and collaboration among different national associations is fundamental to reach common industry goals?

As for the importance of cooperation among different national associations, it is fundamental to reaching common industry goals. We have seen the tangible benefits of working together, as opposed to in isolation. Collaboration is the key ingredient for success, as it allows us to amplify our voice, align our messages, and collectively address challenges. Moving forward, I will continue to encourage our organizations to speak with one voice and work collaboratively towards our shared objectives.

How do you see the future of the fruit juice industry and where do you see the European Union could help thriving?

When considering the future of the fruit juice industry, I maintain an optimistic outlook. However, the future's success relies on our proactive efforts. It's essential that we continue to develop high-quality products, safeguard their reputation, and effectively communicate their benefits to consumers. Anticipating and addressing challenges head-on is key to ensuring a positive trajectory for our industry.

I urge policymakers not to undermine our industry but rather to support businesses in providing consumers with quality products that contribute to their health and well-being.

Which will be the main challenges for the sector in the years to come and which do you think will be the key actions to address those challenges?

Looking ahead, our sector will encounter two primary considerations. Firstly, we need to continue championing the positive attributes of our products and their integral role in a healthy and sustainable diet. Secondly, there's an anticipated increase in taxation across Europe, particularly regarding sugar content and packaging materials. It's crucial that we equip our industry to adapt to these evolving regulations while minimizing their impact.

Moreover, sustainability will increasingly take center stage, with factors like water management, plastic waste, and CO2 emissions gaining prominence. Tackling these challenges requires collaborative efforts and innovative solutions to ensure the long-term sustainability of our industry without undermining its inherent strengths.