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Independent magazine for the fruit and vegetable trade • Since 1986

FRUIT LOGISTICA 2020 English edition

Hall 6.1 booth A 02

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4 “Faster, more attractive, fresher“ Armin Rehberg and Labinot Elshani, Landgard eG

73 “With BeFrank, we want to start a banana revolution!” Former Chiquita manager Franklin Ginus

“We are a little willful“ Jack Aartsen

97 “The Spaniards are often better at farming than commerce” Miguel Gonzalez, MG Fruit

44 “We’re not there yet, but we’re well on our way” Marc Zwaaneveld , Co-CEO of Greenyard

124 “Our German customers are demanding but loyal” Patrick Brun, Anteus Fruits

64 “With GMO certification, we have even more added value for current and new members” Jan Opschoor, DOOR

132 “Our focus for the coming years lies with range diversification and innovation within the banana sector” Joris Schonk, Fyffes

Table of content Restructuring in Bremen, considerable delay in Cologne relocations. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 19 Fruit and vegetables have been in the recall top five for years. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 24 Tasty decorations: The herb market . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 29 What will the future of packaging bring for Redpack on the German market?. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 38 Banana companies forced to invest more in research into TR4 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 54 Grapefruit production has been declining for years now. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 58 The next two years should prove exciting for the sweet potato market . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 83 Obstanbau unter Lizenz: ertragreich und anfällig für Betrug. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 87 Belgian apples doing well on challenging indian market. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 91 Go Nuts! Focus on health drives demand for nuts. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 102 Avocado replaces citrus areas in Mediterranean countries. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 110 Brown marmorated stink bug fears threaten European fruit cultivation . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 114 How European companies can be successful in China. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 120 Egypt and Germany: Nations connected in trade. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .128 Spanish organic products are appreciated in Germany. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 137 The future of Rungis and Saint Charles International . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 140 “Supply and demand of processed fruit and vegetables will increase steadily over the next few years”. . . . . . . . . 147 Spanish kaki: From boom to drama . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 150 Stephan Junker, Go Fresh GmbH “Currently the business is transitioning towards a majority Hass production” . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 156 Tracey Davies, - CEO Halls “We will see a steady increase in volumes over each season ahead as more production comes online”. . . . . . . . . 159 Cameron Carter - Seeka Australia

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AGF Primeur • Special Edition Fruit Logistica • 2020


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Company news

Armin Rehberg and Labinot Elshani (Landgard eG):

“Faster, more attractive, fresher“ The role of producer cooperatives as a link between national and international producers and the food retail trade, current developments in the organic sector and finally the trends for the coming years all these are topics that Armin Rehberg, Chairman of the Board of Landgard eG, and Labinot Elshani, General Manager Fruit & Vegetables at Landgard, have in mind for the coming year. “HEART IN THE WEST” “The fruit and vegetable trade is an emotional industry and the human factor plays a decisive role. But the trade has changed a lot in the last 10 to 15 years. We see a consolidation of traders and retailers and closer proximity to production.” According to Rehberg, Landgard stands for real-life producers and production. “We are at the base and we are uniting the producers. At the same time, we offer added value through quality management, logistics, concepts and marketing,” says Elshani. “We are problem solvers for all areas of the process chain. As a modern cooperative, this is the only way to be ready for the future.” Landgard takes responsibility for both sides of the trade and there is little tolerance for mistakes. “In order to strengthen the rela4

AGF Primeur • Special Edition Fruit Logistica • 2020

tionships between our producers and the traders in the long term, for us, security is more important than speed,” says Rehberg. But what exactly will the future look like for a cooperative with its “Heart in the West” and more than 3,000 affiliated farms in Germany, Morocco, Turkey, China and many other countries that are active in the fruit, vegetable, flower and plant industries? “In the past five years, we have focused strongly on our internationalisation strategy and category solutions, in order to offer added value for our partners with year-round product availability. The tremendous success we have had with this strategy confirms that we are on the right track. And all this was done while steadfastly concentrating on our core business and our production in Germany,” Rehberg said.

Despite all the internationalisation, regionality should not be forgotten, both managers affirm: “Although we have many sources of supply and variety, as well as taste playing a major role, we still want to be honest and consistent when purchasing goods,” says Elshani. “When a particular product is in season here in Germany, it makes sense for us to source it from here. This solves two of today’s main issues regionality and sustainability at the same time.” There will also be diversification in domestic cultivation. “Some products simply could not be grown in Germany in the past. Now German watermelons, apricots and sweet potatoes are available in small quantities. We will certainly see more of these developments in the future.” One product that will certainly not be grown in Germany in the near future is the banana. Nevertheless, it is one of the Germans’ favourite fruits. Landgard recently invested in distribution centres with stateof-the-art ripening chambers for bananas and ready-to-eat products ¬– because no decline in this demand is expected. “There are many reasons for these investments.


THE DUTCH SPECIALIST IN WASHING, SORTING AND PACKAGING POTATOES

VISIT US AT FRUIT LOGISTICA HALL 27 | STAND E-12

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Company news

Landgard Tomatoes (c)Landgard

We offer added value and top quality with the soft-ripe process, while maintaining our first-hand access to goods and being able to strengthen our international relationships.”

Historically, there were five Landgard locations in northern Germany. This system has now been optimized to three locations. “Our three new, expanded and renovated locations are logistically better connected, and they are working with the latest tech-

nologies. On the one hand, activities are bundled, and costs are saved. On the other hand, we are fulfilling the customer’s need for a service provider with added value. In terms of logistics and overheads, we are linking our traditional German vegetable business with the newly expanded international fruit/overseas business,” says Rehberg. ORGANIC PRODUCE IS BOOMING The organic market continues to grow at a

Soft Ripe Bananas Landgard Nord Rade

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AGF Primeur • Special Edition Fruit Logistica • 2020

rapid pace compared to conventional businesses, where in 2019 the overall growth in vegetables was only slightly increasing and fruit as a whole was even declining. This means that organic saturation is far from being reached. In general, the aim is to work on mutual appreciation between producers, retailers and consumers.

Rehberg explains: “Organic products and services naturally have an organic price, and the consumer must be prepared to pay this price. This is simply difficult to enforce with consumers who have historically been very much focused on a top price-performance ratio and low prices. We want to change this with information and the best possible quality.” Elshani agrees with this: “For those products that are easy to change to organic production, the retail trade is gradually switching. Examples are carrots, but also pumpkins or onions. If it makes sense, we advise our producers to convert to organic cultivation. But good conventional cultivation, as we have it in Germany, should by no means be underestimated.” Educating the consumers about the background of the goods is pivotal in order to slowly steer the purchasing mentality in a more appreciative direction. “Special varieties with appropriate packaging and overall well-thought-out concepts are one step.


VISIT US AT FRUIT LOGISTICA: HALL 27 / STAND D-22

AGF Primeur • Special Edition Fruit Logistica • 2020

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Company news

Cooking boxes are a new trend at Landgard

Our campaign ‘1000 good reasons’ starts right there. The aim is to sensitize consumers to these new goods.”

It is not a matter of generally replacing all conventional produce with organics, but of supplementing the range, says Elshani: “We want to steer this development in the market through strategic investments. One step in this process is the timely expansion of, for example, greenhouse areas for organic vegetables and berries. Here we are working on meeting the ever-growing demand. This development is to take place soon, but no exact date has yet been set.” The focus is on demand-oriented, regional production and it is on the rise. “Protected cultivation guarantees the quality and quantity of fruit and vegetables, to the benefit of the entire value chain. Of course, conversion to organic cultivation involves major costs, which we want to offset with the added value of special, specially selected varieties and products. We want added value and not just extra investments!”

Elshani and Rehberg emphasize that it is important for them to keep the investments in their own grasp, instead of bringing in foreign investors. “If someone makes such investments in another country, cultivation will quickly take on an industrial character because the relationship with the producer is missing. That’s what we want to avoid. For us, the most important element is always the producer, and this is a critical success factor for the cooperative,” says Rehberg.

“No major changes in our 2020 strategy” New concepts and storytelling are also expected to play a major role in 2020. Younger consumers and families with children will be targeted to promote both wellknown and new products. One example of this is cooking boxes and smoothie packs, which have already gained a firm foothold with their European neighbours, the Dutch: “We want to remain traditional, but also try new things. Consumers are becoming more cosmopolitan and their eating habits are becoming healthier. We want to encourage

this by becoming even faster, more attractive and fresher.”

Elshani concludes: “We are continuing to look at our strategy to remain innovative in the future. We want to educate consumers on new trends and issues and communicate the concerns of all levels of the supply chain.” However, no fundamental changes are planned.

“We want to continue to develop successfully our growth in recent years shows that we are on the right track. Therefore, we do not see any major changes in our course. In the year 2020, we will continue to focus on our member companies, internationalisation and our task to increase added value. We are looking forward to another successful year,” Rehberg concludes. (LH)

At Funghi Funghi we inspire our customers, chefs and gourmets in their daily search for culinary possibilities and novelties. Our rich range of around 70 types of edible mushrooms on an annual basis, surprises, astonishes and inspires. In addition to our fresh cultivated and wild mushrooms, we also supply frozen and dried mushrooms. There is still much to discover about edible mushrooms. By sharing our knowhow, we help everyone who is looking for new gastronomic options and ideas. By monitoring and sharing market developments and trends, we help our customers (inter) actively to discover new opportunities, products and solutions. . . h e l p i n g t o d i s c o v e r . . .

let us inspire you in Hall 3.2 | booth A–02 8

AGF Primeur • Special Edition Fruit Logistica • 2020

www.funghifunghi.com info@funghifunghi.com


FRESH FROM BELGIUM

NEW

VISIT US AT hall 27 | A07 - A12

Campaign financed with assistance from the European Community VLAM Flanders’ Agricultural Marketing Board Koning Albert II-laan 35 / 50 • B-1030 Brussels T +32 2 552 80 11 • F +32 2 552 80 01 • info@vlam.be

www.flandria.be

AGF Primeur • Special Edition Fruit Logistica • 2020

9


Vision

Jack Aartsen:

“We are a little willful“

10 10

AGF Primeur • Special Edition Fruit Logistica • 2020


At Aartsen in the Netherlands, they like clarity. Something is good or bad; there are no grey areas. They purposefully do not supply re-exporters or supermarkets. They do, however, try to service other smaller parts of the market fully. In recent years, this 112-year-old import company has been copying this same strategy in Asia. This has proven beneficial for the company. “If the last four years’ growth continues this year, we will have doubled in five years,” says General Director, Jack Aartsen. This year, Aartsen puts an end to fruit… I have been doing this for years now. The name, Aartsenfruit, no longer covers the full load. In the Benelux area, we get almost half our revenue from vegetables. The most popular reaction was that people consider the name change to be logical. But, when I told my management team we were going to have a name change, they blanched a little at the idea.

A name change such as this is no small thing. The name, Aartsenfruit, is on every door and notepad. We gave ourselves a year to fully implement the name change. It is, after all, not sustainable to just throw everything out. But, from June on, I no longer want to see the name Aartsenfruit anywhere. We want to use this revised name to make the well-known character of the company clear. All our employees can now say - I am an Aartsen. How was 2019 for Aartsen? It is extraordinary that, even with our long history, we have always slowly kept growing. Not with huge growth figures, but there has always been growth. In the so-called crisis years of, say, between 2008 and 2012, we remained stable. We did, however, emerge much stronger from that crisis. We have grown tremendously in the last four years. If this continues in 2020, we will have doubled in size in five years. That is, after all, quite unusual for a company that has been around for 112 years. This growth, first and foremost, creates a lot of positivity. But, two years ago, I also said that it would cause the necessary organizational issues. Growing rapidly for a single year is not such a big problem, but the company needs to keep up when there are four consecutive years of growth. So, in recent years, I have been very busy strengthening and professionalising the organization. Various new divisions have been set up. IT, HRM, QC, QA, Marketing and Communica-

tion – each department now employs several people.

On the other hand, I think that even with our 200 employees worldwide, we still have relatively few people. I like it when a company is streamlined. I am also a real organisational freak. So, to gain inspiration, I visit quite a few businesses within and outside of the sector every year. When we go to a restaurant, I pay attention to how it is run; much to my wife’s chagrin. How can you explain the massive growth in recent years? There is no single reason. Firstly, we have our people to thank for this. People make your company, and I am extremely proud of that. Our clear strategy has also paid off. It is very boring – our strategy has been the same for a very long time. Lastly, the combination of our companies in Asia and the Benelux work very well. The Hong Kong branch is currently good for 25% of our turnover. To make a football reference – if Ajax wins three times, it creates a winning mood, and it seems to get easier and easier. We are in this flow. It is important to maintain that flow, and we do everything we can to improve the organization every day. We are not saying we are the best, but we try to be that every day. How do you find the right people for the right job? That is a big challenge. To fight, you need an army, but the people need to be available. We expanded our Venlo location considerably last year. We also have construction plans for our warehouse in Breda. That, however, means you need more people. There have been times in recent years when we had 25 vacancies at once. We put a lot of effort into creating our own HR department, where three people now work. We are now, fortunately, at fighting strength again.

AGF Primeur • Special Edition Fruit Logistica • 2020

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Vision

Commercial department of Aartsen in Breda

We also follow our own course in recruitment and selection. In contrast to many other companies in the sector, we do not participate in the transfer craze. We do not headhunt people from other companies. We have been employing people with no experience in the sector for about 15-20 years now. We then train them ourselves. We put a lot of energy into this. First of all, we select people based on character and mindset. We let people experience the whole organization before they start in the sales office.

Are you still commercially active? I am now 54, and have been working in this sector, and in the family business, since I was 17. When I was about 45, I began considering my role in the company. People close to me told me I could not keep going at the tempo I was, and they were absolutely correct. I then said I would remain commercially active until I turned 50. And that has also been the case. In the meantime, I thought carefully about how I wanted to organize things. That resulted in my current commercial management team for the Benelux, of which I am also a part. These people complement each other 12

AGF Primeur • Special Edition Fruit Logistica • 2020

excellently, and they now carry out the daily commercial policy.

Within this management team, I am mostly busy with supervision, structuring, and improvement. But I no longer know the daily price for a crate of oranges or lettuce. Before, this used to keep me up at night. We have been working according to this structure for four years now. It has only been good for Aartsen as a whole. There were times in my career when I thought I could do everything. But you come to realize that others can do some things better than you can. I can now look at the whole more objectively and make plans for the future.

That is not a farewell, is it? Never fear - my colleagues in the sector are not yet rid of me. I still love doing my job every day, and I see it as a major challenge to improve the organization daily. Aartsen is also absolutely not for sale. It will remain a family business. Is the next generation of Aartsens already involved in the business? I have two sons, of 24 and 22. The oldest

has been working at our branch in Hong Kong for more than a year now. The youngest is studying business administration. But if they will take over from me later? It is still far too early to say. And the same that went for me goes for them – they must prove themselves, just like anyone else. Their last name is an advantage, and they will get their chance. But they will have to show their worth, while other employees may already have proven themselves.

Can you explain Aartsen’s strategy one more time? We are especially clear on what we can do, but also on what we cannot. We only supply Benelux clients from our branches in Breda, Venlo and Sint-Katelijne Waver. We specifically do not do any exports. Just about all my peers in the fruit and vegetable trade sector focus on re-exports and retail. We absolutely do not do that, and we state that in black-and-white in our brochures. That means we can count almost all exporters as daily clients. We supply about 1,000 clients every week from our wide assortment. In total, we market 25 million pieces of fruit and veg-


Over 650 producers keep us nonstopfresh every day.

, Hong Kong Katelijne - Waver Breda, Venlo, St.

nonstopfresh 30x66.indd 1

AAR16009_LBL_2

aartsen.com

aartsen.com


Hauptsitz von Aartsen in Breda

etables annually. People sometimes think we are anti-retail, but the opposite is true. I have an enormous amount of respect for how tightly supermarkets are organized. Our links with these parties are also excellent. We have many mutual global suppliers with organizations like Ahold. However, where supermarkets take up 65-70% of the market, we see our role in the remaining 30-35% of the market, where we are market leaders.

It is said the free market means nothing anymore, but if that were true, do you think we could have doubled in size in five years? I am not saying the number of greengrocers will increase, but there are enough businesses that still earn good money. There are also developments such as school and work fruit portions which, in turn, create new sales opportunities. Do you use the same strategy in Asia? We have, indeed, copied our model there and it is going quite well. Seven years ago, we were the first Dutch company with a branch in Asia. There are now 13 people who work at our office in Hong Kong. We get a quarter of our revenue from there. I

can explain this growth thanks to the correct strategy and our team’s commitment. We also avoid the retail sector in Asia. We work with roughly 100 distribution points on markets in about 15 countries in Southeast Asia. Here, China is the largest sales country.

plex market. Do not think you can quickly go and make some money there.

We have an allergy to middlemen and work directly with more than 650 producers worldwide. There are enormous sales opportunities in Asia too. Thirty million people live in the Benelux area, while half the world’s population resides in Asia. I have, however, noticed that people wear rose-tinted glasses when they talk about opportunities in Asia. It is a difficult, com-

What do you see as Aartsen’s biggest challenge? Besides staffing, I see IT as the biggest challenge for Aartsen. We have worked with the same ERP package for 30 years. However, three years ago, we made the willful decision to develop our own ERP package. All the consultants told me to take a standard package. But, it is our organiza-

Our main advantage is that we are active on-site, a few hours from our distribution points. In the Benelux, we import goods from around 50 countries and in Asia from roughly 30. There are plenty of vegetables available locally, but there is a huge demand for imported fruit. Products such as grapes, blueberries, and apples are most sought after. We go wide and can just as easily import mangoes and figs via airfreight.

Are you also active in the organic market? Until a few years ago, we did very little on that market. However, in the last five years, we have seen the demand from our clients increase. By the way, we, like our suppliers, do not like calling them ‘organic’ products. I am still not clear on why we, in Western Europe, still have ‘biological’ products, and what its difference is to organic. But, we, as a segment, have seen that there is a future for this. We have, therefore, established a house brand for it. The Benelux will not have to wait long on our Frezz organic brand, which we have already introduced in Asia.

AGF Primeur • Special Edition Fruit Logistica • 2020

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Vision

tion, not the package, which I consider to be the standard. Many fruit and vegetable companies have gone under due to a system that did not work as it should.

Our advantage is that we can go live in phases, so we have already switched our administrative and financial divisions to the new system. We expect to round off the project by the end of 2020. You can only wave the flag at the finish line, but I am 100% confident that we will succeed. Aartsen was recently placed 25th in the Hillenraad. Are you pleased with that? I would be lying if I said I was not. But I do find this list has a major flaw in that it consists of companies that are partnered with the organizers of this competition. The question is then if the winning business is really the best in the sector. For me, that does take away from the list’s value. This year, we will therefore decide anew if we want to take part.

I also find there are far fewer of my peers from the fruit and vegetable sector on the list, compared to flower and vegetable producers. I can name several fruit and vegetable farmers who, in my opinion, belong on this list. On the other hand, this year, we have moved a little closer to the place we belong on this list. Luckily you still have your own magazine… We launched the Refresh magazine, which is currently called nonstopfresh magazine, 16

AGF Primeur • Special Edition Fruit Logistica • 2020

in 2007, when we turned 100. It takes a lot of time, energy and money to publish this magazine. If the reactions did not justify the effort, we would have stopped a long time ago. We do enjoy it immensely. It is also a nice way for us to stand out and escape the digital mailbox world. We purposefully choose not to make it an Aartsen marketing magazine. That requires creativity, which is why we regularly change up the editorial team. We send this magazine, in Dutch and English, to about 1,500 of our business partners. And you also have your own foundation? My wife Hellen and I are in the fortunate position that we have the financial means to make a difference in the lives of others. We founded the Aartsen Kids Foundation in 2017, and with it hope to help children find positivity in their lives. With this foundation we can contribute to kids’ health and welfare, as well as their self-esteem and self-confidence.

The foundation is run by three ladies, under my wife’s leadership, and has had a permanent employee for three years now. Aartsen Kids Foundation believes that all children have the right to know how nutrition, nature, health and welfare are connected. This belief and vision have resulted in the idea that ‘it is cool to be fundamentally happy.’ That is not always obvious to all children. At times like that, Aartsen Kids Foundation likes giving kids a helping hand.

Finally, do you have any hobbies? Until I turned 50, I hardly made time for hobbies. However, in recent years, I have tried to make a little more time for these. For example, I love travelling, which, fortunately, is easily combined with work. Portugal is my second home. I am also a food lover. I always look forward to Christmas. Tasty food with a good glass of wine and great people around us. We always enjoy this immensely as a family. (IH)

www.aartsen.com


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Eröffnung 39.Obstbautage

Thomas Heilig und Erich Röhrenbach, Vorsitzende der Obstregion Bodensee e.V., Dr.Manfred Büchele, Geschäftsführer KOB, Minister Peter Hauk, Ministerium für Ländlichen Raum und Verbraucherschutz Baden-Württemberg

11:30 / Bühne Halle B4

Sonntag, 16.02.2020

11:30 / Raum Schweiz

Rechtliche Rahmenbedingungen beim Aufstellen und Betrieb von Verkaufsautomaten

Start-Up: Frachtpilot

Ursachen und Konsequenzen im Hinblick auf die zunehmende Schorfproblematik am Bodensee

9:30 / Bühne Halle B4

Dr. Hermann Gabele

Dr. Christian Scheer

9:45 / Bühne Halle B4

12:00 / Bühne Foyer West 11:00 / Bühne Foyer West

Gesprächsrunde „Biodiversität im Obstbau“

Modenschau

13:30 / Bühne Halle B4

Manfred Ehrle (Moderation), Minister Peter Hauk, Dr. Mike Herrmann, Birgit Locher, Patrick Trötschler, Katja Korf, Nikolaus Glocker

Bio-Musterregion Bodensee – Projekte, Menschen, Öffentlichkeitsarbeit

14:00 / Bühne Halle B4

13:30 - 15:00/ Raum Rom

Start-Up: Regiocart

Philipp Schwarz

Start-Up: Organic Tools GmbH

Thomas Schädler 10:00 / Raum Berlin

Seminar: Brände richtig in Szene setzen – Die Kasse beim Brennen füllen!

Rainer Grimminger

Seminar: Brennereireinigung

14:30 / Bühne Halle B4

Chancen und Risiken der Direktvermarktung über Verkaufsautomaten

Ulrich Jakob Zeni 10:15 / Bühne Halle B4

Fördermöglichkeiten der Direktvermarktung mit Verkaufsautomaten

14:30 / Bühne Foyer West

Irmgard Hofmann

Modenschau

14:30 / Bühne Foyer West

Unruhige Zeiten - mehr Mut zur kreativen Kommunikation Bauer Willi (Dr. Willi Kremer-Schillings)

15:00 / Bühne Halle B4

Bestäubung neu gedacht – die effizienteste Bestäubung Fritz Höfler, BEESharing

14:30 / Raum Schweiz

Geschützte Apfelproduktion mit Folienbedachung als Regenschutz im ökologischen Anbau

Thomas Arnegger 15:00 / Bühne Halle B4

Start-Up: Regiocart

Samstag, 15.02.2020 9:30 / Raum Schweiz

Fake-News im Apfelanbau Dr. Ulrich Mayr

15:00 - 17:30 / Raum Rom

Einmaischen von Getreide zur Herstellung von Getreidebrand und Whisky Philipp Schwarz

15:30 / Bühne Halle B4

Start-Up: Organic Tools GmbH

9:30 / Raum Berlin

Likörseminar: Verarbeitung vom Obstbrand zum Likör

15:30 / Raum Schweiz

10:00 - 17:00 / Raum Paris

Maschineller Obstbaumschnitt an Apfel – mehrjährige Untersuchung zu Ertrag und Fruchtqualität

Thomas Fabry

16:00 / Bühne Halle B4

Dr. Klaus Hagmann

Seminar: Videos mit dem Smartphone

Michael Zoth

10:30 / Raum Schweiz

Bestäubung neu gedacht – die effizienteste Bestäubung

Thomas Kininger, Dr. Manfred Büchele

16:30 / Bühne Foyer West

Intensivierung der Anbautechnik bei Kern- und Steinobst

Praktiker berichten über ihre Erfahrungen mit Verkaufsautomaten

11:50 / Bühne Halle B4

Direktvermarktung über Verkaufsautomaten – Zusammenfassung und Abschluss Dr. Hermann Gabele 12:30 / Bühne Halle B4

Willkommen im Behördendschungel – rechtliche Rahmenbedingungen für Hofladenbetreiber Katja Brudermann 13:00 / Bühne Foyer West

Modenschau

14:00 / Bühne Halle B4

Start-Up: Regiocart

14:30 / Bühne Halle B4

Start-Up: Organic Tools GmbH

15:00 / Bühne Foyer West

Modenschau

Fritz Höfler, BEESharing

11:00 / Bühne Halle B4

Einnetzen von Obstkulturen zum Schutz gegen die Kirschessigfliege

Start-Up: Farmable AS

Bianca Boehnke

11:30 - 13:00 / Raum London

16:30 / Bühne Halle B4

Marvin Lang, ALPENBLICKDREI Werbeagentur

Thomas Schädler

Seminar: Erfolgreiche Selbstvermarktung

10:45 / Bühne Halle B4

Chancen und Risiken der Direktvermarktung über Verkaufsautomaten

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Wholesale markets

Bremen

Wholesale market tour in Germany:

Restructuring in Bremen, considerable delay in Cologne relocations

Cologne

Just like last year, the editorial team of FreshPlaza.de has been visiting various German fresh food markets. This time, the commercial centres in Cologne, Frankfurt, Nuremberg and Bremen were on the agenda (among others). And while in Bremen and Frankfurt business is still flourishing, the Cologne retailers have unfortunately been fighting for their existence for years now.

Frankfurt Nuremberg

Frankfurt: Diversity is the key to success The Frankfurt wholesale market has long been one of the largest fresh food markets in Germany and is the leading trading hub in the southwest of Germany. Over the years, the trading area has been renovated several times; it has been adapted to the modern zeitgeist. “The new building contains functional retail space and great attention is paid to hygiene and cleanliness. Many other wholesale stores do not have such good concepts or simply do not have the possibilities that this new building offers,” commented Wolfgang Lindner, Managing Director of the company of the same name and leading fruit importer at the Frankfurt Fresh Produce Centre. In addition to a modern transhipment point for fruit and vegetables from surrounding cultivation, the Frankfurt Fresh Produce Centre is also characterised by the variety of products and suppliers. Diversity will continue to be one of the main components of the marketing strategy in the coming years, Managing Director Silke Pfeffer emphasises. “For the future, we must continue to look for new concepts, to ensure that the wholesale market will continue to exist. This is the only way the wholesale market can hold its own against the competition.”

Event around the Green Sauce at Grundhöfer Frankfurt

AGF Primeur • Special Edition Fruit Logistica • 2020

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Wholesale markets

Nuremberg: Trading ground in the middle of the Garlic Country Parallel to the two-day exhibition at BioFach 2019, our editorial team went to the Leyher Strasse in mid-February. There, the traders were celebrating the 60th anniversary of the market this very year. Depending on the season, a good 200 commercial traders and direct marketers will market their goods at this traditional trading area. The main customers are mainly bulk consumers, specialist retailers and caterers in a wide radius. Over the years, the Fresh Produce Centre has developed steadily. Various buildings and halls have been restructured over time, and foreign traders and convenience manufacturers have found a place at the wholesale market since. The domestic vegetable season – roughly from March/April to October – is still the peak season at the wholesale market. During this period, large quantities of veg-

Ziegler GmbH & Co KG is a Nuremberg-based wholesale company

etables and greenhouse products from the nearby Garlic Country are handled and distributed every day. During these months, many producers also travel to the wholesale market themselves to sell their homegrown specialities. This classic marketing model is still an important trademark of the Nuremberg fresh produce trade. The fact that stand sales account for a considerable share of turnover in Nuremberg is reflected in the fact that the larger companies will also opt for the cash and carry market. The Milevski company –which has already been an important service provider of the regional food retail trade for years – opened a direct-collect stand for catering and specialist retail customers last autumn. “We are convinced that these two business divisions will complement each other,” said Managing Director Goran Milevski regarding this expansion.

Cologne: Traders fear the end of the wholesale market Negotiations between Cologne City Council and the special interest group of local wholesale market traders have been going on for years now. As early as 2007, the Cologne City Council decided on a future relocation in 2020, but in the meantime, it has become clear that the ambitious new building plans in Cologne-Marsdorf will not be realised until 2023. The ground-breaking ceremony for the new site has not yet taken place. “Our service definitively suffers from this uncertainty,” Fermin Montaner Reinhardt, owner of the traditional company of the same name, told us. “We cannot afford new investments at the current location. The only thing we can do is to actively approach customers and share our problems with them.”

A colourful mix of trading companies of all kinds represents the diversity of the city of Cologne and its surroundings. In total, the Cologne retailers supply 39 weekly markets in the urban area as well as many restaurateurs, specialist retailers and other commercial customers. The end of this commercial hub would be disastrous for the fresh goods’ supply to the big city, says Michael Rieke, spokesman for the interest group: “We would like to have a roundtable conversation with all those involved and responsible, in order to hammer out a future for

Michael Rieke and Fermin Montaner Reinhardt

the Cologne wholesale market, so that the needs of the citizens of Cologne can still be met in the future.”

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AGF Primeur • Special Edition Fruit Logistica • 2020


Wholesale markets Bremen

Bremen: Former Greenyard building becomes production area for convenience goods As with many other large markets in Germany, the overarching problem of today’s trading activities has not passed Bremen by. After the Greenyard conglomerate said goodbye to the wholesale market in 2018, the North German marketplace had to break new ground. In the future, the strategy of the Bremen wholesale market is to offer new, ambitious entrepreneurs the desired capacity at a modern location. For example, the former Greenyard building (total capacity: 12,000 m²) is currently undergoing hardcore renovations. Half of the hall will be taken over by the rapidly growing Topak company and room for daily convenience production and deliveries are to be created. The ambitious building

project is scheduled for completion in the spring of 2020.

However, the long-term strategy of the Wholesale Market 2.0 goes one step further: The overarching goal is to have retail and goods handling for online trade at the same location in the near future in addition to wholesale and convenience production, said Claas Türke, Wholesale Market division manager. In three to four years, a food retail centre with all services is to be built. In addition, food that was purchased online from REWE has already been delivered directly from the wholesale store to the customer in the urban area starting since last autumn.

Cologne Frankfurt Nuremberg

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AGF Primeur • Special Edition Fruit Logistica • 2020


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Belgium and Netherlands expand successful EU campaign for Conference pears

From 2020 Conference pears are off to Germany and Austria For six years already, the German consumer has been introduced to Conference pears thanks to tasting campaigns organised via a European programme in the retail sector by VLAM, Flanders’ Agricultural Mar-keting Board and NFO, the Dutch Federation of Fruit Growers. Successfully, since in the meantime, Confe-rence pears have found their way to German retail shelves. Reason enough for a follow-up campaign, and starting from 2020 the activities will also be rolled out on the Austrian market. Tasting campaigns in Germany successful Looking at the results, it’s logical that there is a follow-up to the campaign. The first activities started in 2012 and since then the consumption of Conference pears has more than doubled in Germany. And the growth does not appear to be coming to an end. In the past three years, pears rose one place in the top ten types of fruit eaten in Germany, taking eighth place above nectarines and lemons. Both partner countries are, just like their members, convinced of the growth opportunities for the Confe-rence pear on the European market. Europe, too, was enthusiastic about the previous, successful campaign on the German market and approved a new subsidy application. So, starting from January 2020, both partners can roll out new activities in Germany and for the first time, they will be expanded to cover the Austrian market. To taste is to buy The campaign “Conference, die leckere Birne aus Europa” focuses on organising tastings in shops. In that way, consumers themselves can get to know the strengths of this pear. Since it can be eaten both whilst hard & crunchy and when soft & juicy, the pear is appreciated by a broad section of the public. Research ensuing from this campaign shows that 95% of the consumers that try a Conference pear during the tas-tings in the

shops assess it as good or even very good. Around 5000 tastings were organised during the past three years. On average, over 40% of the people who try a Conference pear during the tasting pro-ceed to buy them. In the meantime, most of the large retail chains have discovered the Conference, and they have become convinced of this pear’s potential. During the campaign, there was cooperation amongst others with many branches of Edeka, Handelshof, Herkules, Klaas & Kock, Real and Globus. The growth in market share of the Conference is above all at the expense of the varieties Williams/Packhams and other imported pears from the southern hemisphere. After all, Conference is available all year round, which is interesting for retailers and their customers. What’s more, this pear is grown by the Belgian and Dutch neighbours, so that it does not have to be transported or shipped far. This results in fast and flexi-ble delivery and fewer food miles. 2019 Conference harvest The Conference pear is grown mainly in the Netherlands and Belgium and it is characterised by a green and bronze colour and a sweet, delicate flavour. The harvest of autumn 2019 is estimated at 910,000 tonnes, which is 8% less than last year. Compared to the three-year average it is only 1% less. A striking detail, is that the harvest of Abate Fetel pears, grown mainly in Italy, is estimated at 34% less than last year.

Fruit Logistica 2020 VLAM and other Belgian exhibitors move to hall 27 From 2020 on, visitors who want to meet the Belgian exhibitors at Fruit Logistica will find them in the brandnew exhibition hall, number 27, at stand number A7 – A12. After all, the organiser of the trade fair is starting an innovation process which means that VLAM and other Belgian exhibitors have to move from their familiar spot in hall 6.2 to the new hall 27. In future the Belgian presence will be concentrated more strongly there. VLAM did not ask for this move but does have high hopes about the possibilities of the new exhibition hall. And to make sure that in 2020 visitors can also easily find their way to the new location, VLAM is looking at what additional communication can be used, together with the organiser. In the meantime, VLAM is already preparing its presence in hall 27 with a new trade fair concept that will catch the eye. In future, visitors will be welcomed to a cosy VLAM stand made of warm wood, minimalist black metal and colourful pictures to set the mood. What is also new, is that the 31 companies for potatoes, fruit & vegetables and fruit trees will henceforth be mixed in just one VLAM pavilion. What will not change, is that trade relations will still be welcome to come and enjoy a nice, refreshing Belgian beer at the VLAM stand, which from now on will be in hall 27 boothnr. A07-A12!

AGF Primeur • Special Edition Fruit Logistica • 2020

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Insurance

“Fruit and vegetables have been in the recall top five for years” 2017 had 33 recalls for fruit and vegetables and in 2018 this number rose to 39. Food safety is high on the agendas. As a result, governments, authorities and companies are conducting ever more intense inspections, so that more and more products are recalled from the market. RASSF figures show that fruit and vegetables are in third place when it comes to recalling products that don’t meet requirements in the Netherlands, and that the number of recall actions has increased. This is a trend which insurer AIG and risk management adviser AON recognise.

“F

ruit and vegetables have been in the top five of most recalls for a number of years now,” says Marloes van der Sman, Underwriter Casualty for insurer AIG. “In the past two years, they were even in third place.” Alexander van Gent, Senior Underwriter Casualty for AIG, points out that exceeding the MRLs (maximum residue limits) of pesticides on fruit and vegetables in fresh produce are the most common cause. Another frequent reason is the contamination with the allergen sulphite. “That occurs a lot in dried fruit,” Marloes explains. The presence of foreign objects, such as glass or small rocks, in products is another reason for recalls.

CONTAMINATIONS According to Marloes, the cause of the increased number of recalls can be found in the ever-stricter legislations and reg-

Alexander van Gent, Senior Underwriter casualty at the insurance company AIG

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AGF Primeur • Special Edition Fruit Logistica • 2020

ulations, with the result that recalls are necessary sooner. Contaminations can also be found more and more easily because analysis techniques are becoming cheaper and more accessible. “It doesn’t mean the number of contaminations is increasing, but that they’re found much quicker.” The increase in the number of recalls can also be attributed to the fact that they’re leaked more often due to the use of social media. For producers and wholesalers, it’s difficult to find out where all of their products come from because of the complexity of the supply chain. “That’s problematic, because it makes it difficult to estimate the risk.”

LIMITING RISKS Mapping the risks is what provides the chance to limit them. Alexander mentions the importance of keeping supply chains as short as possible, knowing where the goods come from and having good agreements about mutual responsibilities. “There are steps you can take to prevent buying contaminated goods. In the Netherlands, most contaminations don’t occur at the producer level, but at the supplier level,” Marloes says. “A company could have their business in order as much as possible, but when the purchasing processes aren’t good, contaminated goods will still arrive.” Contamination can also occur during transport, and packaging can pose risks as well when substances migrate from the packaging to the product, for instance. COST ASPECT Specifically in fresh produce, AIG insures packers and processors of fruit and vegetables. “We look at companies that actually influence the quality of the product,” Alexander says. “That makes it easier for us as insurers to estimate the risks.” Despite the fact that the number of recalls is increas-

Marloes Vandersman, Underwriter casualty at the insurance company AIG

ing, AIG sees the number of insured companies falling behind. The cost aspect could be playing a part in this. “In relation to a lot of other insurances, it’s true that it’s a fairly expensive insurance product.” Marloes says that even when a company is certified, it can still go wrong and this could lead to considerable damages. “You then have to ask yourself if you as a company can carry that.” Financial consequences can be considerable, particularly in fresh produce. Particularly when the products are processed after arrival. These products are often frozen to prolong their shelf life, so they can be widespread. SUPPORT Recall risks can naturally be covered with a recall insurance, but Marloes says a good recall policy is very important as well. That means having a recall and communication plan that has been extensively tested, so that a quick response is possible in case of problems. “When there’s a recall, we support customers throughout the process,” Alexander says. Customers can call a hotline 24-7. Contact is made with the customer shortly after that by an expert who continues to support the costumer. “The first hours are crucial when such damages occur.” The customer can be supported in the field of tracing or communication.


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AGF Primeur • Special Edition Fruit Logistica • 2020

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Insurance

One of the biggest recent recalls to shake the fresh produce world to its foundations is the Greenyard recall as a result of a listeria contamination in the factory for frozen vegetables in Hungary. This led to a Listeriosis outbreak throughout Europe. Between 2015 and mid-June 2018, there were 47 cases of the disease because of frozen vegetables from the Hungarian factory. In Austria, Denmark, Finland, Sweden and the UK, nine people died as a result of this contamination. The needles found in Australian strawberries are another recent example. This turned out to be a deliberate act by an employee who wanted to wrong her employer.

STRINGENT INSPECTIONS AON distinguishes between insurable recalls – in case of danger to public health – and cosmetic recalls. In the latter category, measures that are taken are precautionary without there being a direct danger. AON doesn’t see a lot of insurable recalls specifically in the field of fresh produce, according to Pieter-Jan Floris, account manager for AON, adviser in risk management. It’s expected this will increase due to the increasingly strict legislation and regulation and the increasing inspections. “In the end, we all want to know where our products come from and that the supplied products are what it says on their labels, such as organic actually being organic, for example,” Pieter-Jan says. He expects that the stringent inspections in, for instance, the meat sector will also be implemented in the fresh produce sector more and more. RETAILERS Besides the increasing legislation and regulations, other major parties on the market also play their part. “Major retailers increasingly have requirements, such as a mandatory recall coverage for suppliers,” says Cor van Ginkel, Product Specialist Liability for AON. He has noticed that organic products have to meet increasingly stricter requirements. Inspections in the field of residues of pesticides, for example, are

Cor van Ginkel, Product specialist liability at AON

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AGF Primeur • Special Edition Fruit Logistica • 2020

becoming more rigid, and depending on the country of origin of the product, problems could occur due to this. As a result, products no longer meet the requirements, and that’s a difficult problem to insure, according to Cor. UNSUITABLE As said with the above-mentioned example, some products don’t meet the requirements and are therefore unsuitable, although they don’t pose a danger. The eggs contaminated with the prohibited substance Fipronil are another example. It was established that these did not pose a danger to public health – the RIVM (Netherlands Institute for Public Health and the Environment) has said that upon exposure to the current levels of Fipronil in eggs via consumption, no immediate health effects are to be expected – and that’s why there’s no coverage based on a recall insurance. AON comes across this unsuitability criterion more and more, and they’re in talks with insurers to also consider the unsuitability of products. “We’ve noticed that customers – particularly in the food segment – have more and more need for an insurance that also covers unsuitability,” Cor says.

SOLUTIONS AON sees that companies are looking for solutions to the recall problems. Cor mentions that a recall insurance is one way of covering this risk, but other options are available as well. For example, via a liability insurance, coverage can be created to compensate for the difference in value if a product is unsuitable but not dangerous, and therefore not worthless. As an example, Cor mentions products that can no longer be sold as organic due to residues, but which can still be sold as conventional product. “When you export to, for instance, Japan, and the product contains certain organisms so that it’s rejected by Japan, an extension of the transport policy with a rejection policy could be a solution,” says Pieter-Jan. Because of this, products can be brought back or destroyed locally. AON spends more and more time on developing these kinds of custom solutions.

Pieter-Jan Floris, Account Manager at AON

ISSUE AON has noticed that the recall risk is definitely recognised, and as a result, price is a factor in consideration. “Everything a company has to buy extra in the field of risks naturally comes with a cost,” Cor says. “The consideration then becomes whether a company is willing to pay for that, or whether they’d rather not so as not to affect cost price.” Companies that have experienced recalls in the past tend to insure against this risk more often. AON expects this will be given more and more attention. “For companies, it will become an issue to consider insuring the recall risk.”(MW) marloes.vandersman@aig.com alexander.vangent@aig.com pieter.jan.floris@aon.nl cor.van.ginkel@aon.nl


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AGF Primeur • Special Edition Fruit Logistica • 2020

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Herbs

Tasty decorations: The herb market In Dieneke’s nursery, you can find herbs like Lemon Verbena

Herbs. You use them for just about anything and everything - on the barbecue, as a flavourful addition to dishes, as garnishing, or in cocktails. You can brew tea from them or add them to bread dough and they are even an ingredient in some medicines and in beer.

U

ntil five years ago, most herbal wholesalers only carried between five and seven different herbs in their assortment. Now, in most cases, the offer has expanded dramatically as part of the trend to be able to offer clients more products. Have new front runners entered the market?

ASSORTMENT The consumer has become more familiar with different kinds of herbs. Especially in the summer and at Christmas, the use of herbs increases. “People have more time to pay attention to their dishes then,” says Jorne Leemans. He and Jolien Vanden Berghe are co-owners of Taste Up, a cultivation and packaging company of, among other products, herbs from Groot-Bijgaarden in Belgium. “Think of thyme and rosemary. In the past, these were often used in traditional stews. Now, there are many more ways to use these herbs. For example, on the barbecue or with roasted potatoes.” Patrick Stoffels, General Manager Sales at Gaia Herbs in the Netherlands, also sees the

popularity of thyme and rosemary climb during the summer months. The demand for chives and mint also increases. “We sell a lot of mint, in particular, because it is used for fresh mint tea and cocktails, or simply in a glass of water.” The demand for the ‘big five’ of herbs remains the greatest. Patrick says, “Last year we had a few special herb varieties such as pineapple mint and chocolate mint. That was, however, an insignificant part of our trade.”

The growing demand for herbs can also be seen in the trend of healthy living. “Consumers are looking for replacement products for flavouring agents like salt,” says Ralph Coenen, Managing Director at Vitacress Real in the Dutch town of Venlo. “Herbs, and especially fresh herbs, have unique health benefits. They are also a nice garnish on dishes.” DECORATION Garnishing is something most traders point out when it comes to herbs. It gives most dishes that little something extra. That is

why, outside of the summer months, the demand for herbs is highest around Christmas. Another emerging product that is used for garnishing is edible flowers. Taste Up cultivates these flowers in their own greenhouses, among other places. “These are delicate products. We therefore grow them close to home where we have complete control over them. When used as decoration, edible flowers bring a whole new dimension to dishes. Consumer demand is growing, especially for the better-known edible flowers such as violets. These flowers serve only as garnishing, although people are increasingly looking for edible flowers to also add flavour to a dish. Marigolds are an example of this.” A small share of Vitacress’ assortment is dedicated to edible flowers. “We sell these The ‘big five’ is a common term in the herb world. It represents the traditional front runners on the market – parsley, basil, coriander, chives and mint. These top sellers are followed by herbs like dill, rosemary, thyme and so on, and then by the lesser-known herb varieties.

AGF Primeur • Special Edition Fruit Logistica • 2020

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Herbs

Herbs being packed for the retail sector at Taste Up

Jorne Leemans and Jolien Vanden Berghe of Taste Up

Victor Ramos has a nursery in Damme, Belgium, where he does vertical farming. Besides herbs, Victor also grows micro vegetables. These are edible plant shoots and are mostly used as decoration, flavour enhancers or salad garnishing, but can also be used in cocktails. Micro vegetables are grown in organic potting soil using light and purified water. “I grow my herbs free of pesticides, herbicides, fertilizers and other added nutrients. However, I am not certified as organic because I grow my herbs in pots and not in open field. This is one of the requirements. I support organic cultivation 100%. But I am not going to adapt my nursery’s vertical farm as I also fully support that.” flowers mainly to the foodservice sector,” says Ralph. “Very little goes to retailers. Edible flowers do, however, remain important as a decoration. For example, one chef told me he uses edible flowers only for social media photos.”

UNIQUE HERBS In the last five years, the range of herbs has almost tripled. Since that growth, the herb market has now stabilized because growers are not constantly looking for new herbs in the market. Zonnemaire in Zeeland, the Netherlands, is home to Dieneke Klompe’s farm. Here, she grows not only unique vegetables but edible flowers and herbs too. One of the more unusual herbs in her garden is Lemon Verbena. It is a relatively unknown exotic species in Europe that can withstand the mild winters. As a fresh herb, this variety is quite rare, and it has a subtle lemon flavour. “Lemon Verbena is the basis for my tea, which I mix with other herbs,” says Dieneke. “Many people who visit me at the nursery choose a herbal mix such as this. Since herbs have various health benefits, you can brew this tea for its healing 30

AGF Primeur • Special Edition Fruit Logistica • 2020

properties. If you are having respiratory issues, you can combine Lemon Verbena with, for example, sage and thyme. There are hundreds of other possible combinations, each with their own health benefits.” Besides its use in tea, Lemon Verbena also complements fruit well. The leaves are used as a garnish in restaurants too. Taste Up has seen the demand for special herbs, including Lemon Verbena, grow. “It is a herb that can be used in many ways with desserts and, especially, in tea,” says Jorne.

Ralph recognizes the potential of these herbs on the market. “We see this not only with the Lemon Verbena but also with lemon thyme, which is mostly used for the same things. It is perfect for tea, in particular. I think we will see it used more often in the future. We will soon be able to order different fresh herb teas in restaurants, not only fresh mint tea.” Another product with potential that Ralph sees is Salicornia. “It is a perfect replacement for salt as well as being a local Dutch product.”

A mix of edible flowers

The herbs Dieneke cultivates in her nursery go almost exclusively to restaurants in the Netherlands and Belgium. The same is true for Victor’s micro vegetables. Dieneke also has an extensive assortment of these in her garden. “The herbs and edible flowers I have in my garden form a collective pallet of scents, colours, and flavours,” says Dieneke. “It is a pallet that changes with the seasons throughout the year. The season is important to me in the cultivation of herbs. I want to offer my clients excellent fresh products that are regionally unique. As a grower, I focus on a niche market. Some of my herbs are used in homeopathic remedies. There is also a bakery that is experimenting with my herbs in their bread doughs. For this however, it is essential to use dried herbs.” This nursery distinguishes itself in the range of herbs that Dieneke grows. For

Growing your own herbs

Nowadays, there is a trend at restaurants to have their own herb garden and grow their own herbs. However, Dieneke Klompe of Zonnemaire in Zeeland, the Netherlands, does not see this development as a threat. “Clients who grow their own herbs still get products from me. This own cultivation is mainly aimed at being an added experience for the diners in their restaurant.”


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AGF Primeur • Special Edition Fruit Logistica • 2020

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Herbs

Dieneke’s garden in Zonnemaire, Zeeland

example, she is currently cultivating various kinds of basil on her farm. “July is one of the months for basil. Besides traditional basil, we have several unique varieties with distinctive flavours. Chefs use these herbs to make a dish more exciting or more unusual. That is why we’re trying to find the perfect match between the herbs and the dish. Since these special herbs are not easy to find at wholesalers, the restaurants come to me.”

CULTIVATION TECHNIQUES Dieneke cultivates organically, and all her

herbs are grown in open field. “I do not believe you should grow herbs with the help of pesticides and fertilizers. Here, with me, everything grows in open field. Here and there, I try to bring the season forward through the use of tunnels and I have a large portion of covered cultivation. Every week, I sow seeds for the cultivation of new herbs.” A new technique in herb cultivation is hydroponics. Here, the roots of the herbs are not in the ground but hang in nutrient-rich water. This can be done using

floats or a gutter system, where the plants grow in gutters of water. This kind of cultivation spares the herb roots, reduces the risk of fungi, is soil-free, and improves productivity. Yet, not everyone is enthusiastic about this.

“A CHEF COULD TASTE THE HERBS CAME FROM MY NURSERY” “We recently concluded a test project with hydroponics at our nursery,” says Taste Up’s Jorne. “We were disappointed with it. We noticed that the herbs’ flavour and quality deteriorated when grown hydroponically.

The Great Gatsby Herbs work well in Gin & Tonics. So, here is a less well-known use of herbs in a cocktail – the mint cocktail from F. Scott Fitzgerald’s novel, The Great Gatsby. This cocktail is described in a passage in the book. You will need: • 1 tsp sugar • 2 tsp water • 4 sprigs of mint • 60 ml Bourbon Whiskey Method: Dissolve the sugar in the water inside a tall drink glass. Add the mint and crush gently with a muddler. Add ice to the glass (preferably crushed) and then add the whiskey. Garnish with ice and a few mint leaves. It is best to drink this with a straw. More people are using fresh herbs in their kitchens

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AGF Primeur • Special Edition Fruit Logistica • 2020


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That is why we grow everything in soil in our greenhouses. We did the test project because of the benefits it initially offered. Quality and taste are, however, more important to us.” At Vitacress, a test program was also recently concluded. Here too, the company is looking for other cultivation methods besides hydroponics. “We have another project in Vertical Farming on the go now, where we have pots of herbs standing under LED lighting.” Dieneke has no interest in new herb cultivation methods, like Vertical Farming and hydroponics. “Herbs that have been grown in open field have a characteristic taste because of the energy the soil puts into them. I even got a call from a chef who was judging at a cooking competition. He could taste that one of the participants had been using my herbs. With hydroponics, that character disappears.”

Gaia Herbs products are cultivated in open field using cuttings. “We have a farmer in Israel who is growing basil hydroponically at the moment,” says Patrick. “The herbs grow faster this way, and no pesticides are

Lemon Verbena tea with Sage and Thyme Do you have a cold or a smokers cough? Then the following recipe is the thing for you. Lemon Verbena is a perfect base for various kinds of teas. Sage and thyme are herbs that boost the lungs. You will need: • 2 sprigs of Lemon Verbena • 3 sprigs of thyme • 1 sprig of sage Method: Works best with hot/boiling water.

needed. The reason that the grower started with basil is mainly because it is a popular product.”

LOCAL AND SEASONAL Demand for fresh herbs has grown in both the consumer and hospitality sectors. There is, however, a noticeable difference between these two groups. Restaurants focus more on local, seasonal products. With the general public, the demand is more year-round. Especially around Christmas, there is a peak in demand for herbs – a time of year when herbs cannot be grown

in Belgium and the Netherlands. During this time, the primary herb production countries are Israel, Kenya, Tanzania and Ethiopia.

The herbs from Gaia Herbs come mostly from Israel, where the company’s head office is based. “There is no cultivation in Israel in the summer; it is too hot,” says Patrick. “To provide our clients with herbs year-round, we source from Kenya and Tanzania. A good share of herbs is growing in these East African countries. Many Israeli growers are moving their cultivation to

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AGF Primeur • Special Edition Fruit Logistica • 2020

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Herbs Netherlands and Germany; in the winter they come from Italy, Spain and Portugal. The production of herbs in Portugal is on the rise. “We try to get our herbs from as close by as possible, from countries where they are best cultivated,” says Ralph. “The demand for herbs increases toward Christmas and cultivation is difficult in the Netherlands during this time. Only when we cannot source enough herbs from our farmers in Europe do we get them from countries like Israel and Kenya.”

Kenya because of the favourable climate and low labour costs. By getting our herbs from this region, we can provide the market with a product of continuously high quality. We import these herbs using airfreight, so they arrive fresh.” Patrick admits that consumers are increasingly inclined toward

local products and that he notices this happening to some extent during the season. However, he points out that his clients find the continuity of the products to be vital. Vitacress Real’s herbs come from Europe. In the summer they come mostly from the

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AGF Primeur • Special Edition Fruit Logistica • 2020

BEST from the soil

Dieneke’s herbs are exclusively locally-grown. During the season, not all herbs are available all year long. “At first, this was hard for chefs to understand, as they use a few basic herbs in the kitchen. You can, of course, store the herbs from my nursery for longer if you freeze or dry them, but they are always best when fresh.” This is why she does not focus her business entirely on growing herbs. “I am currently building a few tiny houses on my land. These will serve as retreats and places of inspiration. These side activities, added to the tours through the nursery, are welcome additions for a grower.”


demanding the craziest herbs. Now, we see they are slowly shifting toward using seasonal products in the kitchen. Still, it remains important to inform clients about this so they do not come and ask if we have a certain out-of-season herb in stock.”

Ralph emphasizes this viewpoint. “We may want to grow everything locally and seasonally, but that does not always work. Consumers are still often asking for year-round products. We could invest in innovations in the Netherlands, but that often takes a lot of time and money. The logistical footprint to bring herbs in from, for example, Spain is much smaller. In this way, we get the best quality herbs from the areas they grow best.” (TD) Jolien Vanden Berghe of Taste Up understands the current market dilemmas. “We have to deal with consumer demands and supermarket requirements when it comes to the herbs we offer. Consumers are increasingly focusing on local cultivation. But as soon as the season is over, they want to be able to buy the most important herbs in the supermarket. To meet market demand and expectation, we get our herbs

from different countries, wherever they grow best so that most of our herbs are available year-round.”

Jolien does, however, see the market changing. “We have noticed that, besides the local aspect, seasonality is becoming more and more important among both chefs and consumers. There was a long-standing trend where the hospitality industry was

info@bijzonderegroenten.nl patrick@gaiaherbs.nl info@tinygreens.farm info@tasteup.be ralph.coenen@vitacressreal.com

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37


Packaging

Reduction and alternative materials

What will the future of packaging bring for Redpack on the German market? Packaging, packaging, packaging. No other topic is as ubiquitous in the German fruit and vegetable trade. There are different approaches to the subject: Some prefer switching to paper and cardboard, others focus on recycling and the general reduction of materials. Redpack Packaging Machinery wants to do it all and hit the (European) ground running in 2020.

“W

e are following the discussion regarding packaging with great interest. And while we are convinced of the excellent properties of plastic as a material to package all kinds of foodstuffs, we are not dependent on it with our machines,” manager Rick Briston tells us. “We are working on a project to develop practical packaging materials from plant-based raw materials with a team of researchers and packers. We hope to find a material which can substitute plastics.” There are different approaches to the subject of packaging, varying by country, he noticed: “While the UK focusses more on the reduction of materials and the recycling, Germany is on the hunt for biodegradable solutions. Either way – we are prepared.”

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AGF Primeur • Special Edition Fruit Logistica • 2020

The company has already developed a number of machines and feeders that allow the packaging of fruit and vegetables to occur without a tray or other kind of carrier. “When a packager does not have to use a tray, they can save up to 40% of the weight, easily. This is the case for plastics, cardboard or grass paper materials.” All Redpack machines have the possibility to pack products very tightly which also helps economise the use of materials. “With our ‘no-product-no-bag’ sensor control we can eliminate empty packaging. Easy threading of the films with a splicer helps reduce the amount of materials even more.” To strike out in a new direction in the packaging department, a company does not

need to buy all new machinery: “Almost all of our existing machines can be retrofitted with little effort to be able to use, for example, cellulose from 100% wood or other renewable resources in the future.”

Briston explains further: “We are a manufacturer of packaging machinery but nevertheless we want to do our part in protecting the environment. The goal is to avoid packaging where it is possible. However, there are some products which benefit significantly from packaging. This is where we come in. We want to package products that need to be packaged and we want to do it in the most environmentally friendly way possible. Reducing food waste is an important


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The Redpack management team

factor for us, too, as food waste is one of the biggest causes of greenhouse gasses. That is why we keep working on our products and on finding alternative, resource-friendly solutions that our customers can add to their portfolio.”

This is the 7th time that Redpack Packaging Machinery has exhibited at Fruit Logistica. Briston looks back at the last years: “We started with a very small booth and a small team at the exhibition. We brought only one machine to Germany. This year we are located in hall 9, booth F03 with 120m² of space and our international sales team.” The Redpack team is planning on bringing at least three different machines to this year’s Fruit Logistica. “One of them will be an NTS Boxmotion machine to package products such as iceberg lettuce or broccoli using a shrink tunnel. This machine is also available as a dual-machine – which makes

it possible to package both shrink wrapped products such as broccoli and pointed cabbage on the same machine as flow-wrapped products such as Little Gem. The program can be switched digitally in the settings.”

“We are also going to bring the newest version of the P325 BM (Boxmotion), an alternative to the apple machine with a rotary end crimp. This new type of machinery is able to use alternative materials such as PE, cellulose or paper even more efficiently.”

The tray-sealer ‘Redseal,’ which can seal almost all tray types and materials, will be put on display again, as well. “Depending on which tools you are using for the sealing, this machine can produce up to 90 packages per minute. This element is perfect for integration in existing packaging lines.” Germany, Austria and Switzerland are interesting markets for Redpack for numerous

reasons. “The D-A-CH region is an innovative market for packaging with a high density of sales points for many products such as fruits and vegetables, snack articles, foodstuffs and ready-to-eat products. Rising labour costs and an immense insecurity in terms of availability of workers will result in a further intensification of automation. The time between harvest and POS will be even shorter in the coming years, especially for fruits and vegetables. This will cause a demand for machines that can package directly in the field, for example, requiring a quick pace and machines which are not prone to breakage or disruptions.”

The great infrastructure plays a large role in these countries: “Thanks to this infrastructure and the central location, Germany is an ideal location for our European branch. We want to further expand our business on the European mainland in the future.” In the rare case of a problem with

AGF Primeur • Special Edition Fruit Logistica • 2020

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P a c #k #a #g i n g

the machine, Redpack guarantees service within 24 hours for customers in Germany and the United Kingdom. With regard to Brexit, this expansion is an important step, says the manager. “Redpack is planning way beyond the Brexit deadline. The final decision about the split from the EU has been postponed many times and some details are unclear to date. Either way, we decided to expand the Redpack Maschinen GmbH in Germany and to hire additional personnel. Another important step is moving the spare part storage for the EU from Norwich in England to Germany. Depending on the political developments, we are prepared for further adjustments. For now, we are optimistic about the future.”

The company has been active on the German market for over five years now, and Briston

still remembers the surprising hurdles they met when they first decided to work with German growers: “Fruits and vegetables are bigger in Germany. The difference isn’t big but big enough for us to have to modify our machines. We definitely didn’t expect that,” he laughs. “We were looking at about 20 millimetres. It doesn’t sound like much, but it was enough to keep the packaging from closing properly. Another thing that surprised us in Germany was that apples are sold with long stems, while they are far shorter in the UK. We had to take this into consideration because the stems would get tangled up in the machines.” The structure of organisations is different as well: “In England we see a small number of big players on the market, while in Germany many small growers will organise in an association. This means we have to convince all the growers in that association

of the added value that our machines will bring. In the end, we want everyone to be satisfied with the purchase and the service we offer.” Other than that, the language barrier is a large part of trade with German companies: “Everyone wants to know what exactly they are buying, and this requires a team that is business fluent in German. This is significantly more important in Germany than it is in other countries, where much of the communication can be done in English.” All of these aspects had to be learned in the last few years: “And we still don’t know everything, by far. But that is something we want to work on in the future. Overall, we feel like we are ready for our expansion and ready for the future of packaging machinery in Germany.” (LH) rick.briston@redpack.co.uk

Redpack P325E-T

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AGF Primeur • Special Edition Fruit Logistica • 2020


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Vision

Co-CEO of Greenyard, Marc Zwaaneveld:

“We’re not there yet, but we’re well on our way”

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AGF Primeur • Special Edition Fruit Logistica • 2020


On the day of this interview, Greenyard announced its new partnership with the German retailer REWE Group. Greenyard co-CEO, Marc Zwaaneveld, who was appointed this year, doesn’t sugarcoat the company’s financial situation but he sees plenty of perspectives for the future..

“W

e made mistakes, but the fact is that in Greenyard’s worst year ever, first Carrefour, then Delhaize, and now REWE have signed agreements with us. This shows that we are the perfect company to introduce this revolutionary model to the market. It’s easy to say we grew too quickly but without this expansion we would not have been able to make these deals. I don’t believe we grew too fast. We just should have structured the expansion better.” You stepped in as Greenyard’s co-CEO in February. How did you get settled into the sector, and what has drawn your attention since the start of your assignment? When joining Greenyard, knowing the situation, you settle in very quickly, let me tell you. The industry was completely new for me, so I learned new things every day. The advantage of being an outsider is that you join the company with a very open mind. In the beginning, I used my time to understand how the business works so as to form my own opinion. I was very surprised by some practices. Daily informal trade is still based on ‘who knows who,’ and I was astonished to learn that often contracts aren’t even used. I am not saying this doesn’t work for this sector, but personally, I think it can be improved. Above all else, I find this to be an incredible sector. We deal with natural products and healthy produce, which has a strong societal importance. In that sense, it’s similar to my previous job at the waste processing company Van Gansewinkel. There, we also dealt with recycling, reusing and the circular economy. In other words, the ‘waste does not exist’ principle. We are truly working for the future, and I expect that the social relevance of this work will only continue to increase.

You were appointed co-CEO. Doesn’t having two captains on one ship complicate things? It’s not a very common construction. If you had told me beforehand, I would have found it unusual too. It might also not be entirely my style. But I can say without any doubt that in this specific situation it works well. Incidentally, there is also a large Dutch construction firm that operates using this ‘two sets of eyes’ principle. This setup can only work if you respect each other, and I have the utmost respect for the company that Hein Deprez has built from scratch, for over 35 years, into this extraordi-

nary enterprise. I can learn so much from Hein about the market and the industry. Of course, I could never learn as much as he did in more than 35 years, but his knowledge helps me a lot. I bring my own expertise too, of course. We each do our own thing. But what are these own things? How do you divide the tasks? Look at it this way: I’m in charge of the dayto-day management which covers everything. Hein maintains relations with clients and large growers. We coordinate a lot among each other, also in cooperation with the CFO, Geert Peeters, and the Leadership Team. We have no issue consulting each other. The division of roles doesn’t need to follow any strict rules or lines, it just happens naturally.

You have more experience with companies that need reorganization. Do you see yourself as a kind of intermediary? I have never seen myself as an intermediary! From the moment I walk into a company, I am fully committed to it. The Deprez family lives and breathes the company, but I do too, in my own way. That is the only way I can be successful, and that it what suits me best. You either give it your all, or you give it nothing. Some people think it is interesting to say they are an interim manager, but I don’t believe in that. People in long-term positions also go on to new jobs. I don’t consider myself a crisis manager. Even if I were to enter a financially stable company, I would work to improve it. Here, the urgency is just a bit bigger. But you shouldn’t make things seem more dire than they are. At a certain point it becomes clear that things aren’t going well. This requires changes to be made and issues to be solved, which makes for a lot of work. If I hadn’t seen that there was a light at the end of the tunnel, I wouldn’t have started here. This is a company with a vast amount of knowledge and experience and the fact that things did not always go well in the past gives me room to do these things right. What did you learn when you arrived at Greenyard? You were, after all, not approached for no reason. We had our first discussion around Christmas of 2018. At that time, the management team

AGF Primeur • Special Edition Fruit Logistica • 2020

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Vision

Ripening cells at Greenyard Fresh Eitting Germany

felt the urgency of things going wrong. By the way, I ended up here at the management team’s request; not as a requirement from the banks, as has been suggested in the media. I have experience in similar situations and wanted to see what I could do. What I found was an incredibly committed management team with an enormous perspective on the market. They had achieved a great deal. But I also quickly noticed that they did not spend nearly enough time running the business. Consolidating, integrating, securing, building new structures, and expanding further – not enough of this was being done. If they had spent too much time on this, however, the business wouldn’t have been able to grow like it did. People are quick to judge in hindsight. If you don’t dare to be entrepreneurial, you can’t build up the firm. But has this growth not been too quick? No, the expansion helped us to become successful. They should have just structured the growth a little better. That’s really tricky though, because it raises the bar even higher. It’s not like they just forgot about it. The people who were focused on growing the business may have just overshadowed the ones who were supposed to organize it. I don’t want to spend too much time on this. I’m very happy with the company’s size. This gives us an enormous amount of potential.

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AGF Primeur • Special Edition Fruit Logistica • 2019

What do you see as the most important cause of the financial crisis in which Greenyard found itself? There is no singular reason. It was Murphy’s Law. First, there was the Listeria outbreak in the company’s Hungarian frozen food factory. Then we had to deal with the persistent drought, and we were unable to make up for the costs in the market. When the market realized we were busy with partnership modules, significant competition emerged. This was very disruptive and caused a lot of trauma, even though it has become evident that it couldn’t have been prevented. Finally, we as a company simply didn’t do things well – we can admit this. All these factors, together, led to this dire financial situation. We also knew we would have to weather this difficult time if we wanted to change our model. If we hadn’t done so, we would have suffered less pain, but we would also not have been able to close these deals.

Is it not unbelievable that just last year, Greenyard tried to take over Dole? Everything is always clearer in hindsight. Should you not, given the chance, at least consider buying a huge successful company at a very good price? You could miss a crazy opportunity. I wasn’t involved in this, but I did hear that various parties advised the company to make the offer. Eventually, Greenyard itself realized they shouldn’t do it – Hein and his team came to this decision themselves. I think it’s good they didn’t go through with the deal in the end.

How much time do you have to sort things out? Everyone knows the bank has given us fifteen months, but as long as we are able to deliver, or even surpass our promises, we can work together to get as much time as we need. Luckily, our half year results indicated that we are back on the right path. This will have to persist in the future, and we are all working very hard on that.

Investment bank Lazard has been appointed to find an investor to generate additional capital. Where is that longanticipated cash injection? A lot of people have been asking this, but you have to remain realistic about something like this. Improving the results is absolutely essential, otherwise there will be no interest or trust in the company whatsoever. Simultaneously, there are still many more things to realize, such as disinvestment of the non-core activities. Ultimately, you have to reach the final totals. I can say that we are at an advanced stage of negotiations with certain parties. Now the pieces of the puzzle just have to fall into place. I understand that our stakeholders – from growers to clients and shareholders – want certainty. However, at the same time it’s not in these people’s best interest if we rush into things or reveal anything too soon. That merely hampers the solution because there are so many different interests involved. That is why I’m not going to commit myself to a specific time frame. Of course, it is essential that me and my team


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AGF Primeur • Special Edition Fruit Logistica • 2020


Blumenkohlreis ist eine Innovation von Greenyard Frozen

reach some sort of solution, but we prefer to take our time and spend one extra month rather than to make a bad decision or not take all aspects into consideration. Fortunately, we are currently seeing good results. Despite the uncertainty, we are staying on track with our payments to the suppliers. That creates a sense of trust. If we were in a critical position, we would have to hurry through these things. This could work in the short term, but that doesn’t mean that it’s a suitable medium or long-term solution. How do things stand with the sale of the Prepared division? The same applies here. By the way, we never said we had to sell it. We announced that we were going to investigate if we could sell this division at the right price and conditions, as part of the solution. That’s what we are currently considering this sale.

Is it more complicated because Greenyard is a listed company? In part it is, of course. Everything must be reported. That’s not always useful in a situation such as this one, but it’s simply the reality of where we are. We will have to work hard to regain the trust of our stakeholders. They saw a lot of their money go up in smoke and I can’t imagine they were happy with that. No one was happy with the situation in which we – I say with cau-

tion – found ourselves. All we can do now is continue moving forward. If we do that, I expect our shareholders will be happy again. Then, we must ensure that we never end up in this situation again.

The Deprez family owns about half the shares. How much trouble does that cause? I cannot speak on behalf of the family. I do want to say that I have an incredible amount of respect for the fact that the family is putting Greenyard’s best interest above all else.

What exactly is Greenyard’s connection to De Weide Blik Holding Company and The Fruit Farm Group? Hein Deprez owns all of them. Greenyard does business with The Fruit Farm Group, but that that only has an impact on a small percentage of our turnover. The press reports that appeared, saying that De Weide Blik was in trouble because Hein Deprez could no longer invest in it, are completely fictional. This has nothing to do with Greenyard. Unfortunately, this did cause the prices of Greenyard’s shares to fall, even though the one has no connection to the other. Hein Deprez does not make any decisions about The Fruit Farm Group from within Greenyard; I do that. We treat them like a regular supplier. Whatever does or does not happen with De Weide Blik or

The Fruit Farm Group, it will have a very limited effect on us.

The shortening of the chain has been happening for a while now. Are you concerned that retailers will take over your role? In the beginning, I seriously doubted that the model that Hein Deprez put so much faith in was the right concept for the company. After discussions with clients and growers, I have become convinced that it is. Hein Deprez already began calling for a different approach to the fresh produce industry years ago. I’m really impressed with all he has achieved with Bakker Barendrecht and Albert Heijn in the Netherlands. The same is now happening with Carrefour and Delhaize, which belongs to Ahold. You really need to earn this position. I don’t think retailers should be considering gaining the kind of experience a business like Greenyard has taken more than 35 years to accumulate, especially since they are engaged in competition and category management in stores on a daily basis. This is a different business than that which keeps retailers busy. A few retailers have tried it, and they are certainly not happy. Of course, it’s possible at the production level, but imagine they manage to do it with top, soft and stone fruit – then there are still so many other product groups left over. That isn’t very effective, which is why I am a supportAGF Primeur • Special Edition Fruit Logistica • 2020

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Vision

er of the ‘Hein Deprez-model.’ You work with a partner that has the scope, expertise and network to fill your shelves for you. We also make mistakes, but despite the insecurity of the situation, retailers consider Greenyard as the perfect company to team up with. We must live up to all this, but it says something about our position, and it is an unrivalled compliment to Hein. Partnership model is an empty term; you have to fill it in. The advantage is that our size gives us the ability to do so. I don’t think that there are many companies that can do that. The fact that Greenyard is able to enter into partnerships with Carrefour, Delhaize and REWE Group in its worst year ever says something. The REWE partner model shows our breakthrough into the German market, something we have already achieved in Belgium and the Netherlands. This is a really positive sign for our growers and clients because these retailers wouldn’t have partnered with us if they didn’t trust Greenyard. They wouldn’t have entered into contracts with us if they weren’t financially savvy. Realizing these deals – is that the Marc Zwaaneveld factor? You give me far too much credit. Remember, the teams here have been working on this for a while; it certainly did not depend only on me. Hein Deprez has been working for years to explain to retailers why this model will bring benefits that have never been seen before. That takes time. Sometimes everything just comes together and that’s when I jump in and do my job. The idea behind this concept has been around for a 50

AGF Primeur • Special Edition Fruit Logistica • 2020

while but it’s finally the right time for it to come to fruition for us and for the retail sector. Now we have to develop a sense of trust in each other so we can take it forward. I also expect the retailers will be wondering how one of the most prominent players in an industry such as this, with its extremely tight profit margins, ran into trouble. As a client, you have to ask yourself if you are backing the right horse. I think these considerations also played a role. Now it’s essential to make good on these partnerships in a real way. We are the only ones who have ever done this on such a large scale – and all parties in the industry are looking at us. The industry has gotten used to working in a certain way for years and so it also means a new way of doing things for our employees and partners. That is quite a challenge. Because of implementing the Transformation Plan 422 jobs will be lost this year. How do you continue to keep your staff motivated? A reasonable question. People want certainty, which is something you can’t always offer. They do see that we are working extremely hard to bring the company back on track and that progress is being made. We involve the staff as much as possible with the reorganization, too. We are doing everything in our power to communicate with them honestly, clearly and with integrity, even when we have to let them go. Additionally, it depends on the mindset of the individual because I personally think this situation offers a lot of opportunities. Isn’t it great to be part of a winning team

that wants to create Greenyard 2.0, with all these partnerships? That can be a huge motivator and one can benefit from it throughout his career. Right now, we have to fight for that, but if we manage to get through it, we could become a wonderful example to many companies. It’s not just us: every business could get to the point where they have to reinvent themselves in order to take that next step. Sometimes this means jobs are lost, but often this also means other jobs are created. Does it surprise you to see so many smaller trading companies still active in the sector? It wasn’t a surprise, but I do think this industry can reinvent itself a little. You also see many smaller firms in the waste and recycling sector. It’s not up to me to take an academic view on this, since these businesses often operate in a tremendously service-orientated manner. But there too, a massive consolidation effort was made. These smaller fresh produce companies can’t keep up with the costs of the required standards of quality, logistics, and food safety. For that, you need to have a large scale. I don’t think size is the most important aspect, but sometimes you need to be big to get things done.

You supply 19 of the 20 largest European retailers. Is it a priority to keep doing so? There is a chance that because of the partnership models we will have to cut back on these. I have absolutely no problem with new partners coming to the forefront to take over parts of the market. There is a


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EXPERIENCE FRESH


market division in every industry, and you can’t supply everyone. To me, the question of us only supplying ten or fifteen of those supermarkets is less relevant than what we can mean for each other.

Is the extreme weather making production availability a challenge? Some people have expressed doubts about climate change, but I’m convinced it’s real. Look at what’s happening in South America and, more recently, in Southeastern Spain. French winegrowers are moving to Belgium – that has to tell you something. It would be very foolish if we, as a sector, didn’t prepare ourselves for this. As a newcomer, I also think we need to ask ourselves what it will mean for the market and for consumer prices. Working efficiently will take you far but the farmer needs to be able to get a decent price for his product. Consumers believe they should be able to get their fruit cheaply – while crops fail and are struck by diseases and fungi. The price has to be paid. Do you find it to be a disadvantage that you are so busy with reorganizing that you don’t get to focus on new things? Partially, yes. You have to be realistic and do your homework and get the basics organized. On the other hand, this doesn’t mean that we aren’t renewing things. For example, we recently increased our stake in the British top fruit producer, Bardsley

England. This gives us the chance to buy considerably larger volumes of apples and pears and package them for the British retail market. Simultaneously, this stake gives Greenyard a unique competitive edge in the event of a tough Brexit because those businesses are well placed to supply apples and pears locally. We are working on many things and are collaborating with our clients to see what we can offer in terms of new concepts. This is what led us to improve our logistics: not only through offering better tenders but also by working smarter and optimizing our routes. In addition to solving these everyday problems, I am very focused on the future and make it my job to try to influence it. I still see so many amazing opportunities for our company. First, we have to fix the base – and then I want to move forward! The problems aren’t over yet, but we are improving.

think we should challenge each other when it comes to new developments. We’re not there yet, but I absolutely want to be at the forefront in this area. I also want us to be an open, transparent partner. I think, with these partnerships, we can become a hugely attractive buyer for growers because we can offer far better security and payments. We can also be an interesting party for other trade companies in the sector. I hope the fact that we have been paying all our accounts diligently since January 2019 will give them the necessary confidence in us. Luckily, many parties have supported us in recent months. We thank them sincerely for this. If you are our friend during bad times, then you will be doubly appreciated in good times! (SR/IH) www.greenyard.group

Where do you see Greenyard in five years? I can hardly imagine anything better. All our partnerships will have developed by then, we will have entered into new markets and be leaders in the area of sustainability and nutrition. That is my real mission. There is so much more to be done in this area from a social perspective. I’m not saying this doesn’t happen at present, but it all depends on how high you set the bar. I AGF Primeur • Special Edition Fruit Logistica • 2020

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Bananas

Corroded Cavendish banana

Banana companies forced to invest more in research into TR4 It might be difficult to imagine in Europe, but the banana is one of the most important food crops in the world. It’s part of a distinguished list also featuring the potato, rice, wheat and corn. The banana is an important food crop for local populations particularly in South America and Africa, where it is an important source of income. As a crop, the banana isn’t bound to a season and is therefore available on the market year-round. However, bananas have one major disadvantage and that’s their sensitivity to diseases and infections. Furthermore, bananas are also sensitive to climate change and there is only one variety suitable for trade: the Cavendish banana. This makes them even more vulnerable to changing conditions. This isn’t a new problem. Ever since bananas have been produced on a large scale, they were plagued by diseases. In the past, the Gros Michel was the only banana grown on plantations in Central and South America, but in the 1950s, this variety was nearly exterminated by a fungal infection that has become known as Panama Disease. Banana companies then replaced Gros Michel with the now common Cavendish. But now that this variety is also threatened by fungal diseases like Black Sigatoka and TR4 (Fusarium Tropical Race 4), a version of Panama 54

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Disease, the sector is forced to find a solution. RESEARCH The Wageningen University (WUR) is one of the institutions conducting research into possible solutions for and the combatting of the fungal diseases. Professor of Tropical Plant Diseases Gert Kema leads this research into the fungal diseases of bananas. “We’re seeing the banana sector showing an interest in our research into these fungal diseases. Most of the companies are holding back when it comes to cooperation, however. That’s mostly because of the internal management culture of these companies. They’re mostly geared for competition, and they’re not used to working together in this field. This would require a change in culture for these companies. For example, they’re currently still putting a lot of their money in their own R&D departments.”

Professor Gert Kema

Both fungal diseases, for that matter, are major threats to the banana sector. “Black Sigatoka spreads much faster than TR4, but they can’t actually be compared to each other,” Gert says. “They affect completely different parts of the plants, and also have to be fought differently. Most research is now done into TR4, because much more money is invested into this research than in research into Black Sigatoka. That’s mostly because Black Sigatoka can be sprayed away somewhat.” THE BANANA COMPANIES The banana companies confirm that they’ve been investing more in the fight against or prevention of TR4 in recent


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years. More money is thus paid for research into this fungal infection. The companies work with institutes and universities to that end. Eimear Lynch of food safety and sustainability for Fyffes is currently working on the fight against TR4. “It’s true that we’re now putting more time into the research of TR4 than we have in past years. After all, the Board of Fyffes sees a major threat in these diseases, and they’re working to increase the means to protect the sector.” Marc Jackson, also employed by Fyffes, mentions Fyffes’ recent developments in the research. “In 2019, we started listing all of the current studies into banana diseases to decide which study best suits Fyffes for the fight against both TR4 and Black Sigatoka in the long term.”

Carlos Lopez Flores, CEO of Chiquita, also emphasises that TR4 is a major threat to the banana sector. He mentions that more cooperation is needed in the sector to fight the disease. “Fighting TR4 is a long-term process, and it’s very complex. That’s why it’s a threat that can’t be tackled by just one banana producer. It’s important to cooperate regarding this issue. In recent years, Chiquita invested more in their R&D department, but primarily to strengthen the external knowledge of scientific institutes. For example, we also work with the WUR and the KU Leuven. Additionally, we work with the World Banana Forum of the FAO as well. We’ve noticed a lot of research is being done into TR4, but that it is currently fractured rather than coordinated. That could perhaps be done better.” The companies confirm that although investments regarding TR4 have increased, attention was also still paid to Black Sigatoka in recent years, though this fight is more constant. Marc Jackson of Fyffes: “Contrary to TR4, Black Sigatoka can be controlled. Besides, the geographical impact of TR4 also plays a part. After all, the disease hasn’t been spotted in Central America yet, where we’re active. However, that doesn’t mean we don’t consider TR4 a threat. Our measures are focused on protecting our banana plantations, and our workers are trained in bio-safety, which is needed to keep TR4 out.” Xavier Roussel, Vice President of Marketing & Sustainability for Dole: “We’re currently investing additional means in R&D for TR4, particularly investments regarding preventative measures at the grower level. Most of the investments from our own

to export.” Xavier Roussel: “We have a long tradition of working with local and international suppliers, institutes and universities. Together with our scientific department, we’re looking for new technologies and varieties that can improve the productivity and quality of our products. Regarding the fight against TR4, for example, we’re working with the FIHA in Honduras to create new varieties using a traditional cultivation programme.”

Infected banana plant with Black Sigatoka

company, however, are going to combatting the aggressive Black Sigatoka disease. After all, this disease could lead to a loss of production and quality of the bananas in Latin America if we don’t respond adequately and on time. Black Sigatoka, after all, has a current impact while TR4 could have a potential impact. We’re well aware of this potential threat of TR4, and we’re also watchful to contain the disease as much as possible. We try to do so by implementing stricter regulations in visits to the plantations, among other things.” NEW VARIETY A SOLUTION TO THE DISEASE? The banana companies are looking for a solution to these problems, and finding a new variety is one of those solutions. Fyffes mentions they’re not actively working on that. After all, resistance isn’t the only thing a banana should qualify for. Dole and Chiquita don’t exclude this, although Chiquita emphasises that they’re definitely not working with GMOs in bananas. Marc Jackson: “Most of the studies are looking for a replacement for the Cavendish or a genetically modified Cavendish. Other studies focus more on solutions in natural control, soil improvement, plant health, composting and EMs. Fyffes, however, is more interested in studies regarding natural selection and improvement. We’re also interested in certain banana varieties that were recently tested. For us, a new variety has to qualify for more than just resistance, such as flavour, shelf life and the option

Lopez Flores: “In this case, we’re also looking for possible new varieties to replace Cavendish in the long run, and which are resistant to diseases like TR4. We can no longer sit back with only protocols to prevent diseases on our plantations. It’s therefore important to develop multiple varieties. However, I do want to emphasise that we won’t look for a solution in GMOs.”

Gert Kema doesn’t think a new variety will soon present itself as the solution. “When we look at resistant varieties among the 180 existing banana varieties, only 10 to 15 per cent has the desired level of resistance against TR4. We’re not really sure of the numbers yet for Black Sigatoka. However, these are generally varieties that aren’t suitable to replace Cavendish, some of these banana varieties aren’t even edible. The only solution we’ll be looking for is the seed improvement of banana varieties so that they meet all requirements of a banana. We shouldn’t just be looking for only one variety, we should look at multiple varieties with an eye to the future, to make the banana sector less vulnerable to diseases.” Marc Jackson thinks the Cavendish won’t soon disappear as a banana. “The Cavendish will survive, just like the Gros Michel, which is still grown in Central America. A lot depends on where the disease will spread and whether we can take precautions to prevent the disease from spreading.” (TD) pbolijn@chiquita.com elynch@fyffes.com xavier.roussel@dole.com gert.kema@wur.nl

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Citrus

The development of grapefruit export production in South Africa, Turkey, and the United States (2000-2016). Source: FAOSTAT

Grapefruit production has been declining for years now For the longest time, the United States used to be the world’s largest grapefruit producer. Since 2012, however, they have been overtaken by South Africa, and since 2014, by Turkey as well. What happened in those years? The changing leadership positions of grapefruit producing countries is not solely due to the growth in acreage in South Africa and Turkey. There has also been a decline in acreage in the US. This decline began even before the year 2000. “Grapefruit is not as popular as it was 20 to

25 years ago,” says G.T. Parris, a seller at Seald Sweet in Florida. “We have fewer and fewer grapefruits on the market. Supermarket shelves have also shrunk. When we can offer grapefruit, it is bought. If not, retailers find a suitable replacement.”

The development of grapefruit export value in South Africa, Turkey, and the United States(2008-2016) Source: FAOSTAT

Zitruskrankheiten Zitrus-Krebs ist eine Krankheit, die die Früchte vorzeitig vom Baum fallen lässt und letztlich dazu führt, dass der Baum keine Früchte mehr produziert. Die Krankheit hält sich in den USA schon länger, ein großer Ausbruch wurde erneut 1995 in Florida festgestellt. Die Krankheit verbreitet sich innerhalb des Bundesstaates aufgrund von Orkanen jedoch schnell, Grapefruits sind dafür sehr empfänglich. Greening ist eine bakterielle Infektion, bei der sich die Frucht grün verfärbt und von äußerst bitterem Geschmack ist. Greening wurde 2005 in Florida entdeckt.

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AGF Primeur • Special Edition Fruit Logistica • 2020


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Citrus making you ill “Beware of grapefruit (juices), read the insert.” This sometimes appears on medicine labels. Grapefruits contain certain substances that delay or prevent the efficacy of some medications. This significantly increases the chance of you

having too much of a particular drug in your system. Using statins in combination with grapefruit can lead to muscle breakdown. Although grapefruit can help reduce high cholesterol levels, they are contraindicated when used in combination

with cholesterol-lowering drugs. Other citrus fruits such as mandarins, oranges and lemons have no influence on the use of medications.

Grapefruit consumption is falling in Europe. “The fruit is not popular among young people,” says Tjeerd Hoekstra of Total Produce. Grapefruit is contraindicated in the use of certain medications, but this hasn’t contributed to the decline in its consumption. “People who use these medications are aware of this fruit’s negative side effects.”

THE UNITED STATES In the USA, Florida is the most important cultivation area for the grapefruit that ends up being exported to Europe. Texas and California also have some grapefruit production. As previously stated, this acreage has been shrinking for years. This decrease, however, didn’t become dramatic until 2004-2005 season when, according to FAOSTAT figures, there was a 52% total reduction in production. There were various reasons for this decline. In 2004, huge hurricanes like Katrina and Wilma pummelled the Southeastern coast of the United States. These hurricanes not only devasted many lives and destroyed a large part of the crops, they also led to the rapid spread of two serious citrus diseases - greening and citrus canker.

“That year, the storms caused massive damage,” says Tjeerd. “That led to the irreversible damage of many trees, which weren’t replaced. The trees that did survive produced lower yields.”

SOUTH AFRICA In contrast to the United States, grapefruit

development in South Africa was much more irregular. “In the past, many old trees were chopped down as a reaction to bad prices on various markets,” says Hoekstra. “Grapefruit was replaced by other citrus products like lemons, mandarins and oranges. Later, when the market started looking up again for South African grape-

The development of grapefruit acreage in South Africa, Turkey, and the United States (2000-2016) Source: FAOSTAT

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Zitrus

Citrus disease Citrus canker is a disease that causes the fruit to fall from the trees too early. The tree then, eventually, stops producing fruit altogether. This disease has been present throughout the US for some time. A large

fruit, new trees were planted. It helps that a disease like citrus canker is rare in South Africa,” Tjeerd adds. “Greening also does not occur in that country at all.”

EXPORT US exports to Europe are declining. There is a ban on importing citrus products from citrus orchards where citrus canker has been detected. “Add in greening, and it becomes

outbreak was recorded in Florida in 1995. Citrus canker spread rapidly through the States due to the hurricanes. Grapefruits are extremely sensitive to it. Greening is a bacterial infection that leads to the fruit

very difficult to find good fruit to export. Many growers also opt to only supply the domestic market with grapefruit. If citrus canker is then found in a packing house, the products are blocked. However, we still see a demand for grapefruits from Florida. We just have to ensure they are of excellent quality.”

turning green and becoming extremely bitter. This infection was detected in Florida in 2005.

eases. “A lot has already been invested in combating greening, but this has yet to deliver the desired results,” explains Tjeerd. (TD) gtparris@sealdsweet.com thoekstra@totalproduce.nl

There is no solution in sight for these dis-

The development of the total production of grapefruits in South Africa, Turkey, and the United States (2000-2017) Source: FAOSTAT

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63


Vision

Jan Opschoor, DOOR:

“With GMO certification, we have even more added value for current and new members” Exactly six years ago, Cooperation DOOR was founded. The Prominent, Purple Pride and Green Diamonds brands represented a combined vegetable area of 270 hectares at the time. Nowadays, DOOR’s area, which now also includes the brands PapriCo and Sweet Point, amounts to 570 hectares, and the cooperative has voiced the wish to have 800 hectares by 2021. The cooperative has a GMO certification, and a new building encompassing 34,000 square metres of production and 4,000 square metres of office space is currently being realised. In short, DOOR continues to grow. Time for an interview with manager Jan Opschoor.

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First, let’s look back: what was the reason for starting DOOR six years ago? To paint the picture, we first have to go back a little further. In the late 1990s, we noticed that growers started organising themselves around certain product groups. Sometime later, the growers started taking care of their own packing activities in their own distribution centres, and as of around 2010, the wish to be more involved in sales started to arise. That was the most important aim when we founded DOOR: to be closer to the market.


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You grew considerably in recent years, was that another goal? We started by selling and marketing tomatoes, aubergines and cucumbers of the Prominent, Purple Pride and Green Diamonds brands. A year later, bell peppers of the PapriCo brand followed, and another year later we added the sweet pointed peppers of SweetPoint. Expansion of the existing growers through new members did the rest. We don’t necessarily want to be the biggest vegetable cooperative of the Netherlands, although we think a continued bundling of sales is desirable. At the moment, the greenhouse vegetable area in the Netherlands is divided over six major producer organisations (3,000 hectares), and there’s an area of about 800 hectares of individual growers. We would prefer three producer organisations, and we’d like to be one of those three. Naturally, growth isn’t a goal in itself, but you need a certain size to be relevant on the market and to make investments.

Don’t all of these different brands create different cultures within the club? There are differences, it’s true, but in the end, we’re all greenhouse vegetable growers. The sizes of the various growers within DOOR are all fairly similar as well. We don’t have members with 150 hectares, but neither do we have growers with only 1 hectare. Above all, our members are all fairly similar in their entrepreneurship. Each brand has its own identity, but they func-

tion best under one umbrella. That’s the strength of our organisation.

Have you had talks with other producer organisations to achieve bundling in recent years? Fairly soon after the report Federatie Vruchtgroente-Organisaties (FVO, Federation Vegetable Organisations in English) was published under the guidance of former Minister Cees Veerman, we had exploratory talks with Van Nature as a result of the recommendations, but these didn’t lead to anything in the end. We didn’t have any further merger talks. But the Mondial Group joined DOOR last summer, for instance. The same is true for a number of individual growers.

How are you distinctive from other POs? We only work with greenhouse vegetables. Besides, we focus on product specialists with the brands in the foreground. Our sales model is distinctive as well. As a PO, we’ve chosen to operate on the market independently, with our own sales and marketing team. Compared to some other POs, we don’t have our own business houses. In our opinion, this would make matters more complex, and interests wouldn’t always be kept pure. The importance of our growers always comes first for us, and we naturally want to serve our customers optimally in that. We work from the supply chain partner strategy, but we’re not an ‘open air platform’ and we make deliberate

choices to work more intensely with certain service providers/exporters. During the first years, 80 per cent of our turnover was divided over 25 customers, now that’s only 12 customers. I’d like to mention the degree of cooperation among our growers as another important distinction, because that’s truly unique. For example, Prominent has 30 hectares of production owned by the association, and the growers of Purple Pride have accommodated all activities in the field of added value in a separate, combined incorporation. The tomato growers of Prominent have been shareholders of the cooperative Prominent Group as of this spring, in addition to being members of the growers’ association. As a result, the individual entrepreneurs of Prominent don’t just profit from the mutual exchange of knowledge, combined purchases and packing, they now also profit from the developments of Prominent as a company. We want to implement that same structure throughout DOOR now. Cooperation DOOR is thus becoming a cooperative based on shares.

How did your customers in trade experience the fact that you wanted to operate closer to the market? They had to get used to it, initially. It’s quite something to give your supplier the trust to talk directly with your customers. We had to earn that trust, but I think it’s fair to say we have now earned it. We still enter into talks with retailers through our supply chain partners, although the lines are often AGF Primeur • Special Edition Fruit Logistica • 2020

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direct as well. The condition for a model like this is that your methods are completely transparent. Our supply chain cooperation has become a love triangle between DOOR, the supply chain partner and the retail customer. We’ve grown in this as an organisation in recent years as well. We didn’t hire various trade marketeers with retail knowledge without reason. We’ve noticed that category managers of supermarkets enjoy thinking about the fresh produce category in a broader sense of the word. That’s also the reason we appointed Perry Dekkers as commercial manager this year, so that we can roll out the synergy between our brands even more. We focus on the production, sales and marketing, but we don’t need to set up a logistical system and we don’t serve retail directly. The invoices for the supermarket always come from our supply chain partners. Due to close cooperation, we know for more than 90 per cent which retailers receive our product. Is an expansion of your range an option, with greenhouse strawberries or a separate organic branch, for instance? An expansion like that isn’t in our strategic plan, so it won’t happen before 2020. However, this will definitely come up as we start gearing up to draw up a strategic plan for the next three years. You shouldn’t expect an expansion with mushrooms, chicory or outdoor vegetables from DOOR, because our strength is in greenhouse production. But we’ll go into the brainstorming sessions 68

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with an open mind. Medicinal marijuana? Who knows? When the packing activities become centralised in one DC soon, that’ll also offer more options for cutting and drying the products, for example, or combining the products in meal kits.

pared to the average ‘small-packing’ Netherlands, the packing DC of Prominent is already very automated. In the packing DC of DOOR, we’ll implement this even more. I wouldn’t call it robotization yet, but this is definitely coming.

Will we see robots in the new DC? Automation is definitely a spearhead, and we’re looking into using robots. To this end, we started a project some time ago. Com-

Are you worried by the average age of the growers? We’re not worried, but we do try to anticipate the coming situations. Tom Zwinkels was always the ‘youngster’ among our ‘older guard,’ but that naturally won’t remain the case. That’s why we recently invited 60 of our growers’ children, who have affinity with horticulture, to get to know the company. This resulted in a ‘young potential

Why the new building? Soon the tomatoes, aubergines, sweet pointed peppers and cucumbers will be packed according to customers’ wishes under one roof. The set-up of the new building is completely focused on quickly and efficiently handling our fresh products thanks to an automation effort (WMS) and a fully automatic production space. Before we finalised the plans for our new building, we did some research into the needs of our customers. Plastic packaging is under pressure, but we expect that demand for consumer units will only increase, so we’re naturally looking for sustainable alternatives. In total, the building consists of 34,000 square metres of production space and 4,000 square metres of office space. It’s equipped with 22 docks for loading and 22 docks for unloading. Besides, the new building means all employees of DOOR, Prominent, SweetPoint, Purple Pride, Green Diamonds and PapriCo will be working together in a new building.

Do you have productions abroad? Our members barely have land abroad, only SweetPoint grows sweet pointed peppers in Morocco and Spain. Our first aim is to supply all of the vegetables we offer on a yearround basis, whether thanks to lighting or in cooperation with partners in Southern Europe or North Africa. We do have localfor-local on our agenda – and there’s plenty of interest abroad for our knowledge and expertise – but you also have to get the growers to agree to go there. That’s why we’re now trying to create a pool of young growers who are interested in a challenge like that and who are less bound to the tower of Naaldwijk. For them, this could be a great opportunity, thanks to the support of the older generations of growers.


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programme,’ in which children between the ages of 18 and 25 help us think about the questions of today regarding company succession, but also regarding the field of robotization, big data and internationalisation. They don’t all see their future in greenhouses, but challenging jobs will also become available in functions such as marketing, HRM and logistics.

Is it ever difficult to keep all the frogs in the wheelbarrow? Fortunately, the relationships within the organisation are very good, so it’s not too bad. But it’s normal for members to sometimes be critical, and there’s room for discussions. After all, there will always be members that want to be in the forefront of things and members who are less likely to do that. It makes quite a bit of difference if you’ve just expanded or if you don’t have a successor and you’re working on your final years as a horticulturalist. The investments take on a new aspect in that case. I think it’s wonderful that it doesn’t matter how large you are or which product you’re growing within the club, everyone’s given plenty of room to voice their opinion. DOOR was GMO certified this year, does that feel good?

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GMO revenue was a hot potato in recent years. With an eye on investments we want to make collectively, which is a condition for GMO, we started looking into whether applying for GMO certification would be a good step for us. After all, after the success of recent years, it wasn’t an option for us to say goodbye to our sales model, but that turned out not to be necessary, although a few things had to be adjusted. We visited LNV in The Hague to get a feel for the certification, which requires a lot from the organisation. The positive and constructive cooperation with RVO was important in this process. That was a good feeling. A majority of the members – 97 per cent in favour and three per cent abstentions – agreed to the GMO certification, and we’ll only use the subsidies for collective projects. In starting the Operational Plan and the certification audits, we’re feeling confident regarding the continued cooperation with RVO. We hope to be of even more added value for current and new members due to this certification. What do you consider to be the biggest challenges for the coming years? We’re faced with quite a few challenges. These include labour, robotization in greenhouses, but also becoming more sustain-

able and the balance between preventing diseases and pests and the organic balance in greenhouses and a reduced range of means. The trend for local production and the growth of production in a number of countries that export to our sales countries will also be challenging for the position of the Netherlands. Although this offers new opportunities at the same time.

Your aim is to grow to 800 hectares by 2021. How do you plan on doing that? We won’t just realise that growth with our own growers, so we’ll also need growers elsewhere within our product groups. The shares of cucumbers and bell peppers are particularly underrepresented within our company, but we also welcome tomato growers with open arms. The advantage we offer is that we’re purely independent and that the interests of the growers always come first. J.Opschoor@doorpartners.nl


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A Carrier Company


Vision

Franklin Ginus with his partner Randy van Dinter

Former Chiquita manager Franklin Ginus:

“With BeFrank, we want to start a banana revolution!”

For 24 years, Franklin Ginus worked as manager for Chiquita in the Benelux, France, Central and Eastern Europe. Last summer, he quit a good job to start BeFrank, a new banana brand with the aim of making the world fair and liveable, together with his friend Randy van Dinter. “In spite of all the sustainability initiatives, there are still no fair bananas. It might sound like activism, but there’s no point complaining while standing on the sidelines. I want to take up the gauntlet and do my best to tackle this. We’re going to market a banana and the key will be to share fairly. Transparency is a requirement for taking these steps.” Why BeFrank? In the 25 years I’ve been part of the banana world, I’ve seen a lot. Great initiatives were started in the 1980s and 1990s, such as Fairtrade and Rainforest Alliance, the first focusing mostly on social aspects and the second focusing mostly on the environmental aspects. There were initiatives that were needed to make the banana world a bit more

liveable. But we’re now living in 2019, and none of us turned out to be capable of making the banana supply chain sustainable as a whole. During my visits to plantations, I’ve seen a lot of suffering. Despite many great initiatives, children go to bed hungry, employees work in torn and dirty clothes, mountains of plastic are lying beside the roads to the farms, banana pickers work

with pesticides without protective means, liveable wages are still not being paid, and people still don’t have social facilities such as health insurance or pensions. Come on, it can’t be the case that people still live in houses without floors, decent beds, running water, electricity or protection against insects in 2019. Mind you, the well-known producers generally have their houses in order, but the well-known producers in the banana industry also buy about 65 per cent elsewhere, and that in particular is where the abuses occur. I can no longer look away from that, because it affects me. That’s why I want to do something about it.

Are Fairtrade bananas not a solution to that? During the ‘banana discussion’ of 30 May 2017 in De Rode Hoed in Amsterdam, they talked about True Cost, True Pricing: research has shown that the hidden costs of AGF Primeur • Special Edition Fruit Logistica • 2020

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the production of bananas are 6.70 dollar on average per box of 18 kilos; though Fairtrade certified growers have 45 per cent less additional costs. Most of the bananas are dirt-cheap. That indicates that the consequences of, for example, low wages, climate change, unhealthy work and water exhaustion aren’t considered in that price. These costs aren’t calculated into the prices, so consumers aren’t aware of them. That doesn’t mean they disappear. The community often has to pay for these costs, which is why they’re called hidden costs. Thirty years after Fairtrade bananas were introduced, that’s still the case. Our brains are actually very lazy, that’s why we stop thinking as soon as we buy Fairtrade. As soon as consumers see the Fairtrade word, brand or logo, their brains think they’re making a good purchase. In a way they are because Fairtrade did a lot of good things in the past 30 years. A lot of consumers buy Fairtrade products every year and that’s great, but consumers don’t know that certifications like that don’t take care of everything.

How do you want to take care of it? We from BeFrank believe that when we’re transparent and clarify the hidden costs and start programmes to that end, we can market a completely sustainable banana. To realise this, you need heroes. Heroes who dare to change course and want to market a 100% sustainable banana with us. It’s up to us to show everyone that it’s possible and that consumers are willing to pay more, as long as the story behind the banana is authentic and completely transparent. It’s 74

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our mission to set up a supply chain that fairly and transparently distributes yields, so that we can help the small growers and workers in the production supply chain have a dignified existence. We see it as our duty to hand over the earth to the next generations in a good condition.

How are you distinctive from Fairtrade? Our business model starts with a basis, and that’s Fairtrade. This organisation has already done a lot to improve the circumstances in the production supply chain, but it can be even better. I really want to emphasise that Fairtrade worked hard to be where they are now, but we’ll be even ‘fairer.’ For instance, we want to set up programmes to minimise hidden costs in the social field, such as liveable wages or insufficient social security. We’re also setting up good programmes in the environmental field together with our buyers. Programmes that prevent nature being affected even more. Think of, for example, collecting places for waste and the proper treatment of that, or producing a CO2-neutral banana. We also want to rebuild existent banana containers into houses employees could live in, which helps contribute to a circular economy and better living conditions for employees and their families. With all due understanding for your intentions, what would happen if the Food Inspection Department visits a producer where things aren’t as fair as proposed? I would welcome that visit, because it would

mean we could improve those conditions. We won’t have anything to hide. Transparency is a requirement for taking this step. I won’t walk away from that, but would ask them to return in a month, so that we have the opportunity to improve the conditions. Come on, we didn’t start BeFrank just to market a nice banana. I can’t close my eyes to the abuses, because it affects me. So I want to change it! Where did it all actually go wrong? The downwards rat race started in the UK with low consumer prices and a decreasing price level in purchases. All with the goal of gaining more consumers by lowering prices. Unfortunately, this trend also came to the mainland. In 2013, supermarkets in Europe started selling bananas for €0.99 per kilo. Bananas as so-called loss-leaders, simply put: an ‘exploit banana.’ I said then that I thought it was all very unwise. I would urge everyone who sells bananas to be proud of a price increase for once. This could save a lot of people in the supply chain, as well as the environment. When you’re willing to share fairly on top of that, we’d get very far.

Do you believe consumers are willing to pay much more for a fair banana? We from BeFrank believe that consumers are willing to pay the correct price for bananas. When consumers eat bananas, they should be able to enjoy a good flavour, without having to consider whether they’ve been sustainably produced or not. BeFrank will do things differently, we’ll calculate


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Vision

100% of the hidden costs into our consumer price. We’ll use the money we receive for that to set up social and environmental programmes in the production countries. What is the price level of a fair banana according to you? After a lot of calculations, we arrived at a consumer price level of €2.29 per kilo for conventional bananas and €2.49 per kilo for organic bananas. According to us, everyone in the supply chain should be able to earn the correct margin with these price levels. Not everyone will like it, but we published the formula with which we came to the distribution of margins on our website

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as well. It takes about nine months before bananas are bought by consumers. Simply put, producers, exporters, ripeners and supermarkets all have to earn enough to put food on their tables. We from BeFrank love sharing fairly and when we do this, we’re all capable of giving the farmers in the production supply chain a decent life, while decent margins are also possible in the rest of the supply chain. Because let’s be honest, three banana multinationals have been taken over by other companies in recent years, that’s no sign of luxury either. In the fruit world, everyone thinks they can import containers on the off chance when prices are low, but we want our production to be more needs-based. I can already hear the buyers thinking it’ll be too expensive… I know this world, and it’s true that that’s the initial response of a lot of people. But that’s old-fashioned thinking. BeFrank wants to be different from the establishment. We are looking for added values but we won’t make any concessions to this calculated cost price. Besides, everyone will be paying the same price. Yet, I want to challenge heroes to carry BeFrank bananas in their assortments. Everyone’s talking about

sustainability now, but with BeFrank, you can actually do something. We’ll welcome our buyers as heroes as well, by mentioning them on our website, for example. It’s not all that difficult, but now is the time to actually do something. Now is the time for that final step, and BeFrank wants to take that step with the heroes of the future. Heroes who dare to make choices! Everyone who buys and eats our bananas contributes to 14 of the 17 Sustainable Development Goals established by the United Nations General Assembly in 2015 for 2030, drawn up as a continuation of the Millennium Development Goals. When will the BeFrank bananas be available? BeFrank will begin selling bananas in Europe starting October. In the coming weeks, I have a lot of appointments with wholesalers and retailers in the Benelux to shine a spotlight on BeFrank. In the end, all of Europe should become our market, but we’ll be very happy if we can make a good start in the Benelux. We’ll start with suppliers from Colombia and Ecuador, but if we need larger volumes, we’ll be able to quickly expand this thanks to my experience. I’m convinced a lot of suppliers would love to work with us. Who wouldn’t want to invest more in people and environment? Do you have a product as an example? I was inspired by Tony’s Chocolonely, which


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had as its mission to make 100% slave-free chocolate the standard. But they don’t just have a good message, they combine it with a cool concept, great quality and they keep their distance from well-known chocolate brands. They’re now a market leader, and they sell 36.5 million chocolate bars per year. Challenges might be even bigger for bananas, because it’s a homogenous product regarding flavour experience, but we also think we can take steps in this by means of, for instance, a maximum ripening and production process. For example, we’re currently researching the use of a 17-kilogram box, because we think we can reduce the damage percentage by having a lower weight. The great thing is that we could quickly switch to this, I just have to convince my partner and then we could get started. Besides, by having a cool and fair concept, we think we can increase the banana consumption, which for years has been around 10 kilos per person per year in the Netherlands. I know from experience that the banana market has to earn their money between January and May. But that leaves more than half a year! We have a super cool story on a traditional market. I sometimes think too much like a fresh 78

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produce man, but my partner and his marketing team have done everything to ‘brainwash’ me in recent months.

How do former colleagues from the banana industry respond to the plans? As yet, no responses have been negative. A lot of people think the initiative is fantastic, but that it’s not possible, financially. It’s up to us to prove that it is possible in the coming months. We’ll also make ourselves heard by retail traders through means of high-profile campaigns.

How important is this? Bananas are one of the three largest single products in supermarkets, and they often represent 1 to 1.5 per cent of the turnover. That amounts to a turnover of 12 billion. Keeping this in mind, you can imagine that when we use this product for stunts, it doesn’t just have a major impact on all the people in the supply chain who depend on it, but also on the environment. The banana industry is faced with enough challenges because of the Black Sigatoka and Tropical Race 4 moulds. We honestly think that everyone should be able to smile when eating a banana. It wouldn’t be bad at

all if bananas were to be a benchmark for the entire food production. I believe this is possible. And if it’s not? That’s not an option at the moment, and it would be a waste of all the private money we put into this. If this project fails, I’ll leave the banana sector, but I’d never want to hear anyone say anything about making the banana sector more sustainable either. These challenges can be faced and solved if we just work together and actually do something! Suppliers who want to join in on our banana revolution and are at least Fairtrade-certified, are invited to send an e-mail! franklin@befrank.world


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Sweet potato

The next two years should prove exciting for the sweet potato market Continents such as South America and Africa seem to be investing heavily in sweet potato cultivation for export. Growers in Northern Europe are testing this crop in their fields too. According to importer Christiaan van der Goes of GreenGoose in Amsterdam, the Netherlands, the next two years on the market should prove to be exciting.

S

weet potatoes’ popularity has been on the rise since 2012. In Europe alone, demand has increased by 12 per cent in recent years. The United Kingdom and the Netherlands are the largest sweet potato importers, mostly from the US. It does not seem the peak in the growth curve has been reached, as European consumption remains much lower than that in America. This product is sold throughout Europe, with sweet potatoes also going to Eastern Europe.

Most of the global production is not destined for export; it is consumed on the domestic market. Only a small quantity of sweet potatoes are exported to other regions, but this share is increasing. Considering last season’s increasing demand and sky-high prices - caused by the extremely low yields in the US - growers and traders smell opportunities.

“Compared to a growth market like that of avocado, it is an exciting market to try and anticipate,” says Christiaan. “With avocados, it takes several years before a plantation comes into production; with sweet potatoes, this takes mere months. There is, therefore, a far greater volume switchover point. Everyone wants to export sweet potatoes nowadays. People from so many countries have recently contacted me – Nigeria, the Ivory Coast, Ghana, Columbia, Peru, Costa Rica and Ecuador. But, do their products have good quality? Will there be a market for all of it?” American sweet potatoes have a strong position in the market. They are the best quality sweet potatoes, and retailers find them very reliable. It is a product that stores well and can be used for speculation. In November, it became clear what volumes would be coming off the fields.

“It is very difficult to predict what the market will do. Everything should have been in, in week 46 or 47. It was very dry in America over the summer, but there were no extreme weather conditions like last year’s hurricane. The drought makes it tough to harvest sweet potatoes. It is not yet clear what effect this had on the crop. The yield is expected to be lower than average, but not as dismal as last season,” continues Christiaan.

“The American market had run out by week 36. The new harvest, therefore, came into an empty market. The American domestic market and those of its neighbouring countries, like Canada, are very strong at the moment. In Europe, there are also Egyptian and Spanish products on the market. There is, however, a world of difference between these and sweet potatoes from the US. This is true for both quality and value for money.” “Egypt is done, and Spain can still continue until February, but after that, the United States has an open market,” Van der Goes goes on to say. “Product from Honduras is still added to this too. So I am expecting AGF Primeur • Special Edition Fruit Logistica • 2020

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good prices, but we will not reach last season’s steep prices.” GreenGoose focuses on imports from the US but sees opportunities with the Egyptian products. “Egypt has been dealing with sweet potatoes for a long time, and they have done well this year. The country otherwise would not stand a chance, especially in supermarkets.”

“Egyptian sweet potatoes have never been as good as the American product; some companies are now starting to reach this level. This year, supermarkets in the Netherlands and Germany accepted Egyptian sweet potatoes. Even a year ago, this was unthinkable. Over the next two years, it will be exciting to see if Egypt can maintain this level of quality,” says Christiaan. Sweet potatoes are considered to be healthy. And although not actually a potato, this product is often viewed as one. There is very little difference between regular and sweet potatoes’ nutritional values. They contain just about the same amount of carbohydrates, with regular potatoes having even fewer carbs than sweet potatoes.

According to the nutrition table, a potato has, on average, 16.7 grams of carbohydrates and a sweet potato has 21 grams of carbohydrates per 100 grams.

The reason why sweet potatoes are considered to be so healthy is that they have almost twice as much fibre, which delays the absorption of carbs in a person’s blood system. Sweet potatoes also have more vitamins and minerals as well as beta-carotene - the orange colour - which is an important source of vitamin A.

Orange-fleshed sweet potatoes are then, also, the most well-known variety on the market. There is still hardly any demand for other colour-combinations of peel and flesh – purple/purple, purple/white, and white/ white. “Other coloured products are gaining popularity, but we sell these by the box, whereas orange-fleshed sweet potatoes go out by the pallet. It is still a real niche market,” explains the importer.

The organic sweet potato market is growing even faster. “Although it is still a much smaller market than the conventional one, there is certainly a market for this product. The market’s main interest is American sweet potatoes. The link between organic and Egypt is not made easily. The retail sector certainly plays it safe; organic is, after all, three to four times more expensive than conventional,” Christiaan concludes. (ML) christiaan@greengoose.nl www.voedingswaardetabel.nl

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Fruit

ORC ensures that consumers can buy the legal Orri mandarins

Fruit grown under licensing: fruitful and susceptible to fraud The production of licensed fruit is on the rise. This premium fruit is grown from protected varieties. The consumer appreciates the taste, the lack of seeds or one of the other specific properties. On the flip side of the success is that the system is susceptible to fraud. So much so that four of the world’s largest grape breeders – Grapa Varieties Ltd, IFG, SNFL and Sun World Innovations – entered into an alliance last June under the name The Breeders Alliance Company to jointly tackle this problem.

“T

ogether we probably have around 100 new commercial varieties,” says Duncan Macintyre, chairman of the SNFL Group and spokesperson for The Breeders Alliance Company Ltd. “They are subject to IP rights (intellectual property rights) either through the plant breeder’s rights or through patents.” These high performance grape varieties are interesting for the grower because they are more productive and require less labour,” Duncan says. “Even after paying the royal-

ties, the profitability of the new varieties is much better than the old varieties.”

As a result, there are also growers who want to take advantage of the benefits of these varieties without having to pay the associated costs. “Each of the companies that form The Breeders Alliance has encountered major problems with this. Our property rights are being infringed on by unlicensed growers.” The idea behind The Breeders Alliance is to provide a platform for breeders to exchange information about

infringements and how to deal with these in different countries. “It’s about how we can best protect ourselves and the recognized growers. However, we never share any commercial information regarding licensing strategy or royalties.” MORE FRAUD THAN WAS THOUGHT It is difficult to establish the problem of illegal cultivation of protected varieties. “Certainly much more is being produced without a licence than we thought.” Duncan emphasizes the importance of royalties as a means of continuing to invest in developing new varieties because grape breeding is such a long term process. Often the illegal production takes place in small quantities and the grapes are marketed under different names so that the fraud is not noticed. “A good DNA database in which we can quickly test suspicious fruit as well as involving retailers in this process is important.” AGF Primeur • Special Edition Fruit Logistica • 2020

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Fruit flavour is due to the right balance of sweetness, acidity and tropical notes.

Duncan Macinyre Speaker of The Breeder’s Alliance

NO FOCUS ON TRADER OR RETAILER It is also important for traders to check whether the grapes they buy are produced under licensing. “Plant breeders’ rights allow action against illegal practices almost everywhere in the chain. That can be the grower but also the exporter, the importer, the trader or even the supermarket.” Duncan indicates that it is important for The Breeders Alliance and SNFL to get to the heart of the violation of property rights and to inform other parties in the chain that trading in fruit without a license is a violation of breeder’s rights. “Our goal is not to go after traders and supermarkets – who in most cases are not aware that this is happening – but to inform them about this. We cannot expect retailers to recognize different varieties given that there are now so many to choose from.”

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FAKE The problems are not unique to grapes. For instance, the patented Orri mandarin – developed in Israel, but also widely grown in Spain – appears to be susceptible to fraud. The mandarin variety that is easy to peel and practically seedless is so popular that growers who have been unable to obtain any of the limited number of licenses try to take advantage of the success by working with illegal planting material. Guillermo Soler, manager of ORC (Orri Running Committee), the association of Orri producers in Spain, explains the popularity of the Orri mandarin to be because of its specific flavour. “They taste really good, different from any other mandarin variety.” He indicates that this unique

LIMITED NUMBER OF LICENSES Most of the Orri orchards are legal, but it is still possible to find some illegal Orri orchards which do not have the required licenses. The owners of such plantings do not pay royalties and their plants must be removed. Guillermo says that only a limited number of licenses for growing Orri mandarins were available and that they were all quickly sold. As a result, it is currently not possible for new growers to grow Orri mandarins, unless they buy licenses from the current legal growers. The popularity and profitability of this citrus variety encourages some growers to grow Orri mandarins without the required licences. The producer organisation is concerned about these isolated cases. “ORC has a system to control all Orri orchards and we are always looking for illegal farms.” One of ORC’s tasks is to inform the Master Licensee of the variety (The Enforcement Organisation, S.L.) about any unlicensed farms so it can take legal action against infringements or non-compliance with the industrial property rights of the variety.

Guillermo emphasizes that it is important for a trader to check whether he is buying legal or potentially illegal tangerines. After all, nobody wants to be stuck with illegal counterfeit product that does not offer the benefits of the original and breaches the intellectual property laws. “It is easy to know if you are buying legal or illegal tangerines. The legal growers have all the necessary documentation to prove that they sell legal Orri mandarins,” concludes Guillermo. (MW) Duncan.Macintyre@snfl.co.uk ORC@orcspain.es


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To p f r u i t

Belgian apples doing well on challenging indian market Exports from the European Union (EU) to India are on the rise. In 2008, India still only imported a total of €31.4 million worth of goods from the EU. This amount had increased to €45.7 million by 2018. That makes India the EU’s ninth-largest trade partner, just under South Korea but ahead of Canada.

P

art of the European Union’s exports to India is made up of food and beverages. This share doubled from 0.6% in 2008

to 1.2% in 2018, according to the EU’s statistical office, Eurostat. In short, exports to India offer opportunities.

Belgian apple farmers have also noticed this. In 2017, they exported 10,000 tons of apples to India, reports Marc Evrard of Belgium’s largest fruit growers association, Belgische Fruitveiling (BFV). He explains Belgian apples’ popularity by, among other factors, the fact that in 2009, BFV co-negotiated access for pears and apples to the Indian market. “We were there relatively early compared to some other European countries. Together with some of our partners, we built up our place in the market.”

Marc certainly sees chances for further growth. He admits there are a lot of factors involved. Here, he mentions the volume and quality of the local production as well as political challenges, such as those in the Kashmir apple production region. Possible exports from the United States and China to India also play a role. “You can see now already that there is more interest in Belgian apples.”

Marc Evrard sees opportunities for Belgian apples in India

GOOD VALUE FOR MONEY Marc states that geopolitical developments disrupt traditional trade streams. Here, he refers to the Russian boycott, but also the trade wars between the US and China, and AGF Primeur • Special Edition Fruit Logistica • 2020

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To p f r u i t

BFV developed apple variety Joly Red especially for the Indian market. Photo BFV

India and China. There are also additional trade tariffs on European agricultural products that are exported to the US. “As if producing and trading fresh fruit and vegetables was not challenging enough - these elements disrupt the traditional trade streams even more. And that is, of course, a pity.” This is the reason India – which usually gets their apples from China and Red Delicious apples from the US – is also looking toward other countries. “What makes Europe attractive for them is the shorter transit times. These offer extra flexibility to the local Indian trade sector.” European products are good value for money too. BFV spent a lot of time on introducing Belgian apples to Indian consumers. “In this way, they learned to appreciate the flavour qualities of, among other products, Belgian

apples.” Marc says the effort to open up the Indian apple market is paying off, but he admits exporting to the Indian market alone is not the be-all and end-all. “If you cannot have a single market that you can send 100 million kgs to, maybe you must have 20 markets that each take five million kgs.” Besides Belgium, the US, Turkey, Iran, Italy, France and the Netherlands are wellknown players on the Indian apple market.

SWEET RED APPLES “Import tariffs, of course, remain a problem,” says Marc. These amount to about 30% for pears and 50% for apples. As a result of trade disagreements between India and the United States, these rates increased by more than 20% for American apples. “That means European exporters are now in a relatively more favourable position.”

Indian consumers’ variety preference is also important. “We produce primarily for the Western European market, and the varieties we grow are not, in themselves, specifically aimed at a Southern Asian flavour profile.” Marc says people in India prefer sweet, red apples. BFV and its local partners have developed an apple variety specifically for that market. “The Joly Red club variety is a sweet, crisp, red-skinned apple with a good shelf life. It contributes to the interest in Belgian apples too.”

Exports to India are also subject to specific phytosanitary requirements. “These are things that can be controlled, but that must be closely monitored. The National Plant Protection Organisation – similar to the Belgian Federal Agency for Food Chain Safety or the Quality Control Bureau in the Netherlands – ensures that everything goes according to plan.” Marc points out the importance of exporting fruit that is robust enough to withstand their time in transit well, and still have a good shelf life when arriving at the destination. Here, the Indian climate and logistics can pose a challenge. “Although the local logistics in India are improving slowly but surely, there are still problems when it comes to maintaining the cold chain,” Marc concludes. (MW) marc.evrard@bfv.be

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Meet quality suppliers from Central America, Jordan and Moldova

CBI at Fruit Logistica Berlin 2020 Are you interested in discovering new markets? The Centre for the Promotion of Imports from developing countries (CBI) can put you in touch with reliable, certified suppliers equipped to do business with a European partner. At Fruit Logistica, CBI will be presenting 32 carefully selected

companies from Central America, Jordan and Moldova. Each of these companies has received individual coaching from a CBI sector expert. The suppliers offer a diverse range of fresh fruits and vegetables.

Central American suppliers ready for the European Market At Fruit Logistica, CBI will present 12 companies from Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras and Nicaragua that are now ready to enter the European Market. The companies offer an interesting range of products, from fruits like papayas, mangos and limes to vegetables like okra, mini vegetables, sugar snaps, mangetout, roots and tubers, as well as appealing organic products such as ginger, sweet potatoes and pitahayas (dragon fruit). Due to their rich volcanic soils, microclimates and experienced agricultural labour force, Central American countries are a source of high-quality produce during the fall and winter season. Many of the exports currently go to the USA, but these countries offer numerous products that appeal to the European market as well, especially considering the Association Agreement that was signed between the EU and the Central American region in 2012. Among other things, this agreement has eliminated most import tariffs and has improved conditions for trade. Within its Connecting Central America Programme, CBI supports SMEs and cooperatives in becoming more competitive on the European market. The project is cofinanced by the European Union and coordinated by SIECA.

Visit the CBI companies from Central America here: Hall 25/C-14 (Suppliers from Costa Rica) Hall 25/B-02 (suppliers from Guatemala) Hall 26/C-13 (suppliers from El Salvador, Honduras and Nicaragua)

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About CBI CBI connects small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) in developing countries with the European market and is recognised worldwide as a leading force in export development. CBI develops strategies on a number of levels that address export coaching for businesses. Firstly, we have strategies for coaching SMEs to ensure that their internal and product processes comply with European market standards and OECD Guidelines. Secondly, we help SMEs calibrate their tailor-made export strategy to the European market, in addition to helping them build and maintain a network here.


- ADVERTORIAL -

Quality products from Jordan Jordan has competitive advantages as a supplier of fresh fruits and vegetables, in particular because of the long production season in the Jordan Valley and its proximity to Europe. At Fruit Logistica, CBI will present eight different Jordanian companies that produce or trade a variety of quality fruits and vegetables, and especially dates. These companies have been carefully selected as participants in CBI’s Jordan Fresh Fruits & Vegetables Programme. Tailored technical assistance and market entry support will make them reliable suppliers of high-quality, certified and healthy food with increased market access. In addition, CBI is increasing the capacity of the Jordan Exporters and Producers Association (JEPA) so they can take a leading role in export promotion activities, such as trade fair participation and trade missions, and be a true advocate representing the entire Jordanian fruits and vegetable sector.

Moldova, taste makes the difference! Visit the CBI companies from Jordan here: Hall B, CityCube/C-06

Moldova is a fertile country with a long tradition of fruit production. Fruits grown in this country include apples, cherries, grapes, plums and other stone fruits. All of these will be presented at the Moldova stand at Fruit Logistica 2020. Together with the International Finance Corporation (IFC), CBI supports 19 SMEs, of which 12 produce fresh fruits and 7 produce processed fruits or honey. In Moldova, CBI works with local sector association Moldova Fruct, which aims to promote the Moldovan fruit sector to international buyers and support the development of fruitful business relationships.

Visit the CBI companies from Moldova here: Hall 7.2B/B-04

Interested in doing business with the suppliers selected by CBI? Find more information about the participating companies at Fruit Logistica 2020 on our website: https://www.cbi.eu/events

AGF Primeur • Special Edition Fruit Logistica • 2020

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Vision

Miguel and Maaike Gonzalez

Miguel Gonzalez, MG Fruit:

“The Spaniards are often better at farming than commerce” It has been 40 years since Miguel Gonzalez began his career in the Dutch fruit and vegetable trade sector at Hagé. Love brought him to the Netherlands and, although he sold his business Hispa Fruit in 2012, he could not deny this sector’s blood coursing through his veins. He has, therefore, been the driving force behind MG Fruit for the past five years. “I have always followed my heart.” Was your decision to move to the Netherlands and fruit and vegetable trading an obvious one? I met my Dutch wife overseas. I never thought I would live in the Netherlands, but it quickly felt right. I wanted to go into the trade business, although not specifically in the fruit and vegetable sector. But I believe everything happens for a reason. The Dutch trade climate, however, appealed to me; I still find it to be one of the most social, unified countries with excellent conditions for trade. I got a job at Hagé, thanks to an acquaintance, and I have since been in the fruit and vegetable sector, for 40 years now. And with great pleasure!

What did you, and still have to, get used to the most in the Netherlands? I personally think in the Netherlands, a lot of people have to be consulted before a decision is made. Do not get me wrong, I like conferring, but sometimes someone has to take the lead and make the decision. I think, in the Netherlands, a leader is considered as some type of dictator. God forbid you do not consult everyone or think one person is more important than another. It was difficult for me to become accustomed to this kind of soft ‘levelling.’ I think I am too pragmatic for that.

How important was your time at Hagé for you? Those years shaped me. Back then, Hagé was the import company, and I am still grateful to Jan van den Heuvel for giving me a chance. I became responsible for the importing of fruit and vegetables from Spain and South America. In 1988, you went out on your own – how were the early years? We started Hispa in portacabins in a warehouse. I look back on those years with great pleasure. All periods have their charm, but those first years were truly fantastic, and in that period our revenues shot up like a rocket. In the first three years, Spain was, by far, our largest supplying country, supplemented by Greece, Italy and France. Most of the Spanish products destined for the Northern European market still came in via the Netherlands.

At the time, most of our range – 60% – still consisted of vegetables, with the other AGF Primeur • Special Edition Fruit Logistica • 2020

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Vision Do Spanish imports not clash with the Dutch supply? We are currently in the Dutch-Spanish greenhouse vegetable transition phase again. This overlap, traditionally, always causes a clash, certainly at a time such as now. The Dutch season is not over, and Spain is coming onto the market with considerable volumes. But this is a phase we always have to go through. I always say: in our profession, it is a matter of supply and demand. That is what it is all about. At the moment, there are fewer mandarins from Spain and Morocco, and prices are skyrocketing. When there is a large supply, prices are lower again. We just have to deal with it.

Opening ceremony of Hispafruit 1988

40% being fruit; later, that ratio became reversed. Since the volumes being supplied were not as large as they are now, you could sell it all – Class I, Class II, it did not matter, you sold it. When Spain joined the EEC in 1989, you saw the number of Dutch clients importing directly from Spain increase. The Spanish trade sector became more accessible for the nearby wholesaler and exporter. The time had come for us to spread our wings further. How did you go about doing so? In 1991, I travelled to South America and established contacts in Brazil, Argentina and Chile. In this way, we imported our first overseas products in 1992. Later, South Africa and Central America were added too. We were one of the first overseas fruit importers and that proved to be the correct decision. For example, in 1994, we start with grapes from Africa, Namibia specifically, and around 1996, we imported the first melons from Honduras and Costa Rica in Central America.

Spain. A lot more products have been added to blueberries, raspberries and blackberries in the soft fruit sector, and they have done well.

I do think, however, Spaniards are generally better at production than commerce. In my opinion, the production in that country is far too fragmented. You still see plenty of upcoming small businesses. That creates a lot of unrest in the market. Farming is one thing; selling is something entirely different. When it comes to sales areas, I have noticed that many Spanish companies, unfortunately, do not make the correct choices.

You sold your business to Staay. How do you reflect on that? I did not have a successor and so I had to consider the company’s continuity. I felt Staay was a company that would perfectly complement Hispa’s activities. I did expect we would build the company to new heights and that I would be of more value to the company in my role as an ambassador. But, I do not like looking back; I prefer to look forward. In the meantime, we have been in business with MG Fruit for five years now, so we are on the right track. With MG Fruit, you have opted for a limited assortment. Is specialism the future? In the past, many traders carried a total package, but nowadays, I believe in a limited, focused assortment for which your clients know you. That is especially true for the free market. If you have something of everything, your clients eventually do not know what to look for from you. MG Fruit’s

Costa Rica became a very important country for us. We became the largest European melon importer, and after buying a 3,000-hectare pineapple farm, we also belong to the bigger pineapple players. We changed Hispa’s slogan to ‘more than just Spain’. We became an all-round importer. But I remain a Spaniard and kept importing Spanish fruit and vegetables. Do you expect Spain to remain an important supply country? I certainly expect so. Products such as citrus from Valencia, soft fruit from Huelva and greenhouse vegetables from Almeria still have firm positions on the market. Therefore, I do not see farming disappearing in 98

AGF Primeur • Special Edition Fruit Logistica • 2020

Miguel with Paul and Maaike at the Marathon in New York


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concept strength lies in specializing. That has proven itself over the past five years. But it takes courage to make choices. We have chosen to be strong in watermelons and melons as our year-round core products. Pineapples, citrus and grapes, supplemented by Spanish products, follow these.

What are the current trends in the melon market? The melon market is not actually so prone to trends. Seedless watermelons have, of course, become tremendously popular. But, other than that, you see the traditional melons – Galias, Cantaloupes, and yellow melons – as the stalwarts of the Northern European market. More and more melons, certainly watermelons, are, however, being eaten during the winter. Changes can be found mainly in new varieties that look nicer, have longer shelf lives, or are more profitable. The chain cooperation in this regard has, therefore, improved. In the past, you left the initiative for the product with the producer, and you waited to see what you would get. Today, it is essential that you work together – from grower to consumer – including seed breeders, producers, logistics partners and retailers. You outsource logistics to Kivits-Goes. What advantages does this have? Margins in the fruit and vegetable trade sector as not as good as they used to be. ‘Traders’ used to be able to afford a large building, but nowadays, you have to keep a close eye on your expenditure. I also think specialized companies are better able to provide the correct logistical services. We are thrilled with this partnership. We can now focus on what we are good at – importing and selling a limited range of permanently branded fruits with which our clients can identify. How do you see the future for MG Fruit? As positive! MG Fruit is doing well. We have

Jacob Aktalan, Maaike and Miguel Gonzalez during the Fruit Attraction in Madrid

a fantastic team and a clear vision. We certainly do not want to become the biggest, but we do want to be the best in our specialist field. You cannot achieve this in a single day, but I am pleased with how the past five years have gone.

You still seem pretty active. Do you have any hobbies? I have always made time for hobbies. Some people say they are too busy, but I believe you are never too busy for hobbies. I go for an hour-long run during my lunch break. I do eat my sandwich at my desk. Lately, I

have started playing golf more often with my friends, but it is not something for which I would wake up. Most of all, I enjoy spending time with my family. Vacations are always a highlight for me. But my job is actually my favourite hobby. They are not yet rid of me! miguel@mgfruit.nl

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Nuts

Go Nuts! Focus on health drives demand for nuts There is no lack of attention for the nuts and tropical fruit sector. Primeur spoke to four nut traders and we discovered that this sector is flourishing. There is an ever-increasing focus on health and plant-based nutrition. This is making for an increase in the demand for nuts.

“I

t seems the dark period at the end of the year turns out to be the perfect time to eat nuts and dried fruit. Cashews, trail mix, apricots, and dates form the central part of this assortment. However, nut traders are increasingly supplementing their stocks with other items. These include superfoods, products with no added sugar, freeze-dried fruit and gluten-free granola.

ON THE RISE The health aspect plays a role in the popularity of dried fruit and nuts, says Laurent la Morella of Lorre NV. This company specializes in the supply of dried fruit, nuts and various specialty items. “It is on the rise. A handful of nuts per day is good for a bit of a change and your health in general.” Superfoods also have an influence. “These are used a lot in yogurts. Their effects, especially with regard to health, are proven,” says Laurent. He notices the public knows products better than was the case ten years ago.

Consumers are better travelled and are influenced by overseas trends. The tropical fruit and nut sector can be glad of this, as it increases their products’ popularity. “They are known and appreciated by everyone.” NATURAL Laurent has established that natural dried fruit and nuts are most popular. “Trail mix, nut mixes, all-natural nuts, pine nuts, apricots, figs and dates are best sellers. We sell less of everything that has something added or has a coating, such as roasted or salted peanuts, and chocolate-covered items. These are less healthy.” Lorre sells its products to wholesalers and market vendors under the Bingo Nuts brand name. They sell under private label to retailers. “The demand for dried fruit and nuts is increasing, so all the categories are expanding,” explains Laurent. Although more dried fruit and nuts are eat-

en at the end of the year, because it is colder and there are no summer fruits, Lorre does not have a specific Christmas assortment. “Our clients do not want it. There used to be more specific seasons. Ninety percent of our items are available year-round, so nothing special is done for the festive season. You see this happening more and more. It is not like people say, ‘Now it is party time; now we are going to buy nuts.’ If people feel like having nuts or dates, they simply go out and buy them.” ORGANIC DATES Last year, Lorre added fresh organic Medjool dates to its range. Laurent admits that this variety stores much better. That is in contrast to Bonbon dates, which are fresh, not dried, and are very juicy with a unique flavour. “Medjool dates are slightly drier, but still tender and can be kept for months.” Lorre gets its dates from South Africa, Israel and Jordan to offer an alternative to only the Israeli product. The season started later than usual last year. “Temperatures were too low in March and April, so the dates could not develop fully. The farmers could not make up for this delay, which resulted in a later harvest.” It also affected the dates’ sizes. “Because the dates hung on the tree for longer, they grew larger, so there were fewer small sizes available. That ensured it was a good year, but the entire volume’s average price was also somewhat higher,” says Laurent.

Dates are one of the long-running favorites in the Lorre NV range

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HEALTHY GROWTH Laurent certainly sees opportunities for further expansion of this product category. He also expects a normal, healthy growth. “The media is constantly busy with cooking shows. Nuts fit in there, and people know they are healthy. I think it will grow on its


own. I do not expect spectacular growth, but I also certainly do not think there will be a decline.” There are, however, always other aspects that can play a role. The trader has noticed that politics have a significant effect on prices and sales of all fruit and vegetables. He uses pistachios from Iran as an example. “These used to be the norm, but now it’s mostly the pistachios from the US that are used. This change is due to both aflatoxin as well as the political climate. That is something that sometimes plays a role,” Laurent concludes.

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WELL-FOUNDED ADVICE Marieke Rietsema of Delinuts has also noticed that many people are trying to lead a healthy lifestyle. “Nuts are well-suited to this. Delinuts uses nutritionists to map the products’ specifications. Here, market trends are observed.” Rietsema uses dried fruit with no added sugar as an example of what the market is demanding. “We deliberately look for and buy into such trends. For example, coconut chunks are naturally high in sugar and we also have a variety that has no added sugar.” However, the company can also do things such as advise hospitals on which nuts are better suited for, for instance, a high protein or fibre-based diet. “We support well-founded claims that we are allowed to make, based on EU legislation.” The market is also demanding products with lower sodium and fat content. FULFILLING MEAL OPPORTUNITIES “Nuts are often a good, healthy, tasty solution,” admits Rietsema. She has noticed that consumers still eat ‘clockless’ – they eat throughout the day and are always looking for a quick way to satisfy their hunger. “We try to find solutions with nuts for all the meal opportunities throughout the day so people can get that handful of nuts, as recommended by the nutritional centre. If you consider lunch, for example, you find that most people eat a salad or a bowl of soup. You could add bacon to this, but you could just as easily add roasted nuts. That is healthier and also adds flavour.”

Delinuts tries to get its clients – mostly specialty stores, nut sellers, and the foodservice industry - interested in this, by presenting them with innovative boxes. These boxes contain information and inspiration they can use to introduce these new products to consumers. The nut specialist expects to create growth with this. Rietsema sees that an increasing number of people are putting out nuts as a standard at cocktail parties. That is helping the nut market expand.

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Nussen INNOVATING AND INSPIRING Although cashews and raisins are the clear forerunners in Delinuts’ assortment all over the Netherlands, this company is always on the lookout for new products. Innovation and inspiration are central to this. “With this, we help our clients with nice new mixes, also in combination with fruit, so they, in turn, can surprise their customers,” explains Rietsema. For example, Delinuts recently introduced the Dutch apple pie mix, a mix of nuts and apple pieces. According to Rietsema, this combination makes it taste like apple pie, but healthier.

The company also regularly introduces new products such as apple chips, mushrooms, and freeze-dried okra. “This is an added range that continually changes. For example, we also have seasonal products. During the festive season, we added Christmas stars and truffle bonbons, as well as marzipan and candied cherries, and at Easter we have Easter eggs. We are now trying to find new products to fight those ‘January blues.’” HOMEMADE Alco Kappé of Allnuts is busy, and he has concluded that if he were not busy as a tropical fruit and nut trader, it would not be good. “From the moment it starts getting darker earlier, people start eating differently, and they snack more in the evening.” That benefits dried fruit and nut sales. Alco has noticed that home baking products such as cake flour, other flours and oats are becoming more popular. Just like granola, a product Alco also describes as booming.

“We have been making granola in-house, according to our clients’ specific needs,

Delinuts wants to find nut products for every occasion

for two months now. We have seen a lot of demand for this product.” He says the raw materials that are used and the way they are processed, make this granola distinctive. Also distinctive: Allnuts is one of the few companies that roasts its own nuts using in peanut oil. “I try to keep them as neutral and transparent as possible.” Alco admits additives are sometimes needed but avoids using these as much as possible. CLIENT-SPECIFIC Quality plays a major role in the range’s make up. This trading company tries not to get products for their clients based on price, but rather on the packaging, quality and the type of nut. “If you supply everything

based on price, you will have no permanent clients. If tomorrow, your client chooses a different supplier with a different product, packaging or lower price, you do not have a solid relationship.” This approach is leading to Allnuts increasingly being considered a brand. “People pay a little more, but also expect a little more, which, in my opinion, they get.”

Another aspect of this strategy is to serve the client in a tailor-made fashion. For example, Allnuts offers specific products, which are not included in the rest of the assortment, to exclusive clients on request. These often concern a particular item that the client wants to use, raw material or a specific type of packaging. Alco says this leads to an increase in demand. Allnuts has also noticed more demand from shop owners, canteens and consumers for 5kg bags. This size is not available in retail stores.

FREEZE-DRIED Allnuts’ client base is very varied and ranges from industrial clients like bakeries, chocolatiers and granola manufacturers to airline companies, snack factories and wholesalers. These clients’ needs are also very diverse, and this has ensured that Allnuts’ stock has changed over the years. As examples of the more unusual demands, Alco cites buckwheat flakes, hemp seeds (with permission, of course), white poppy seeds, dried black lemons and freeze-dried strawberries, blueberries and raspberries.

Dietitians advise eating a handful of nuts daily. Image: Delinuts

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Alco has seen an increased demand for freeze-dried fruit because these are preserved without using any sweeteners. “The advantage of freeze-drying is that, once you add moisture or you put the product in your mouth, the flavour immediately


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Freeze-dried strawberries, from which only the moisture has been extracted

returns. Nothing is added; only the water is removed.” Alco has also noticed that the assortment, in general, has changed. That is because the health aspect is getting more and more attention in the media. It therefore plays a role in the choice of products and ingredients. MONO PACKS Allnuts is in the last phase of developing new packaging. The company’s packaging is set to become 95% mono, thanks to the introduction of this packaging – labels, pots, bags and buckets – made entirely from polypropylene. “It is then easily recyclable. The problem with current packaging that seems to be eco-friendly, for example, laminated paper, is that it is just normal waste.”

Alco says the composting plants are also not yet equipped to deal with compostable packaging and it therefore ends up on the general trash heap.

EXPANSION THANKS TO POSITIONING “We are in a segment that is still growing strong,” says Jan Jelders of The Nut and Dried Fruit Company (NDFC). “There has been a shift in expansion in recent years. It has moved from traditional dried fruit and nuts, and combinations of these, to a higher demand for healthy food, healthy snacks, organic products, and calorie-poor, no added sugar items.” Jan points to TV cooking shows and the media attention to healthy nutrition as the driving forces behind these products.

NDFC gains a foothold thanks to better positioning of nuts and tropical fruits

He expects this category to be able to grow more, but the presentation of dried fruit and nuts in the supermarket demands attention. “Looking at the section for fresh fruit and vegetables, you see it is nicely presented with good lighting. Dried fruit is often found somewhere on a shelf. Things could be done considerably better when it comes to presentation.” Although Jan does see improvements here and there, he indicates that there is room to improve retail sales by better positioning this product category. LARGE VOLUMES AS WELL AS SMALL RUNS Over the last three months, NDFC has invested in the possibility to process larg-

NDFC offers a wide range

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Nuts for, especially, their self-produced granola. He adds that this segment is growing significantly, in conventional and organic granola, as well as the gluten-free variety.

er volumes so they can not only provide wholesalers and specialty stores but the supermarket channel as well. A considerable part of this will come onto the market under private label and will be exported to France and the Netherlands. “This is growing, and we are going to focus more on it.” Besides IFS and organic certification, NDFC also recently acquired gluten-free certification. Jan says this certification is important

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SOLUTIONS At NDFC, taking care of things for their clients is the most important thing, and they like to try and find solutions alongside the client. Jan sees, for example, that many young people like making granola at home. They then have so much success in their social circle that they want to expand their activities. “We have our knowledge of granola, and they have theirs. We then sit together to develop a product and packaging. That is how you work together to find a solution.” Another solution the company has come up with is portion packs, which NDFC supplies to people who put together meal packages. “They are supplied with nuts, dried fruit, seeds, and herbs which they include in the

packs they deliver to their clients,” explains Jan. NDFC is always on the lookout for new products for their clients. Freeze-dried fruit and vegetables are a recent addition to their range. These products are used for, for instance, decoration, a titbit in an aperitif or as garnishing on a cocktail. In addition to marzipan products, special attention is paid over Christmas to product presentation, by offering them in gift packs. Jan says they have an extensive assortment, so when it comes to production, the company can supply large volumes to retailers but also has the flexibility to do smaller, personalized runs. To make good on these possibilities, NDFC will shortly be further expanding their business premises to 3,000 m². (MW) info@lorrenv.com sales@delinuts.nl info@allnuts.be jan@ndfc.be


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Avocado

Avocado replaces citrus areas in Mediterranean countries Ever since the avocado started becoming popular in 2014, sales of this product have increased by an estimated 60 per cent. Last year, 650 million kilograms were sold in Europe. This increase and the high, stable prices of the fruit have led to Southern European countries setting their hearts on the production of avocado. Spain is the best-known producer and a member of the World Avocado Organisation (WAO). Greece, Italy and Portugal have also started projects for avocado production in imitation of the successful model of Andalusia, according to WAO-CEO Xavier Equihua.

N

owadays, the avocado area in Spain comprises more than 15,000 hectares. As a result, the citrus area is under pressure and more growers are switching to the production of avocado due to the declining profitability of citrus. The pre-eminent European avocado-producing region is the Spanish province of Malaga in Andalusia, where 50 per cent of the total area can be

found. Continued expansion is difficult in that province, due to the bad water infrastructure. That’s why the production is expanding along the Andalusian and Mediterranean coast toward the provinces of Cadiz, Huelva, Alicante, Murcia and Valencia. The avocado area of barely 150 hectares five years ago is now estimated to be 800 hectares. More than half of the 50 million

The WAO was founded in 2016 and unites nine avocado-producing countries (Mexico, Peru, the US, Colombia, South Africa, Zimbabwe, Mozambique, Tanzania and Spain). Additionally, the organisation represents various trade countries, such as the Netherlands, Belgium, France, the UK, Norway and Sweden. The organisation’s current goal is to promote the general consumption of this fruit.

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kilos grown in Spain in 2018 was exported to the European Union, primarily to France, the Netherlands, Germany and Italy. OTHER MEDITERRANEAN COUNTRIES After Spain, Portugal is mentioned as an emerging production country, although it isn’t a member of the WAO. That’s also why there are no exact figures regarding the production and sales. It is estimated that Portugal has about 1,000 hectares of avocado production, mostly in the Algarve, in part driven by Spanish companies looking for suitable soils. One of the biggest avocado growers of Spain, Trops, recently expanded to Portugal, where they’re building a new warehouse in the Algarve.

The conditions in the South Italian regions of Calabria, Basilicata and Sicily are also considered ideal for the production of avocados. In Greece, the Nafplio region is mentioned as a suitable production region. Papastamatakis, formerly a citrus grower, invested in setting up an avocado programme ten years ago. The volumes are growing by 3,000 tonnes per year. Avocado is also produced in Antalya, in Turkey, and this area is accepted to be about 500 hectares.


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Disrupting the onion industry This Eqrader is sorting onions at high speed Croatia, a bit to the north, also appears to be suitable for the production of avocados. A married couple from California started a small production company there with seedlings from Sicily.

CONSUMPTION The avocado sector is experiencing a period of growth because demand for avocados continues to grow on the European market. The avocado area, which grows along with that demand, has record harvests every year. The EU is currently one of the markets with the fastest growing avocado consumption. The avocado consumption in the EU increased by 35 per cent in 2018 with sales amounting to about 650,000 tonnes. In the US, the consumption level is at more than 3.5 kilos per capita, although some estimates put that figure at 5 kilos. In the EU, this is just over 1.2 kilos (eight avocados per year). According to the WAO, it’s possible to further encourage the growth in consumption in Europe through promotions. To reach levels similar to those in the US and to provide all Europeans with avocados, a more than two million tonnes increase would be necessary. If demand for avocados continues to rise at the current speed, it would reach the level of the US within eight years, and demand would increase from 650,000 tonnes in 2018 to 1,100,000 tonnes. The European import of avocados appears to pass 750,000 tonnes in 2019.

In Europe, the avocado consumption is the highest among Norwegians with 2.44 kilos of avocado per head of the population in 2017. This is followed by the Danish (2.31 kilos), the Swedes (2.09 kilos), the Dutch (2.02 kilos), the French (1.86 kilos), the Swiss (1.74 kilos), the British (1.53 kilos), the Finnish (1.50 kilos), the Irish (1.41 kilos), the Belgians (1.24 kilos), and, in 11th place, the Spaniards (1.19 kilos). Consumption is still relatively low in the biggest European production country, Spain.

The WAO is trying to encourage the consumption of avocado in Spain. The organisation wants to increase the presence of the fruit as a basic food not just in supermarkets, but also in the catering sector. The WAO will make considerable investments to promote the avocado consumption among Spaniards this year, the aim being to reach the same consumption level as in France. Some promotions will be done in cooperation with supermarkets such as Carrefour and Eroski. The production and trade companies located in Malaga, and which are part of the WAO as well, such as Trops and Reyes Gutiérrez, experience all activity aimed at increasing consumption as positive. According to the WAO, consumption of the avocado in Spain will reach the same level as France within ten years.

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To p f r u i t

Brown marmorated stink bug fears threaten European fruit cultivation The brown marmorated stink bug (BMSB), or Halyomorpha halys, is causing damages worth millions of euros in southern European orchards, and the fear of a rapid spread of the insect is growing even the northernmost countries. However, the main ally of the BMSB is precisely the European Union, as the political authorities are doing everything in their power to deprive farmers of weapons to combat the insect.

M

ore precisely, on December 6th, 2019, the European Commission voted against renewing the authorisation of the active substances chlorpyrifos and methyl chlorpyrifos. The former molecule is the one that works effectively against the BMSB. In a few months the stocks of pesticides containing these molecules must be completely depleted and can no longer be brought onto the market. With regard to the two insecticides, the Commission proposal to not renew the authorisation was approved by a qualified majority of 19 countries, representing 68.34% of the EU population, while two countries representing 4.1% opposed, and seven abstained, representing the remaining 27.56%. THE SITUATION IN ITALY Italy is the European nation where the BMSB is the most widespread. Agrinsieme, the coordination centre that unites cooperatives and farmers’ representatives, esti-

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mated losses that amount to 500 million euro in the Emilia-Romagna region alone, one of the areas most affected by the insect. Bearing in mind that other regions, such as Veneto, Lombardy, Trentino, Friuli Venezia Giulia and Piedmont, have been heavily affected, it is likely that the total loss is close to one billion euros.

Pears, peaches, apples and kiwis are only some of the fruits affected by the BMSB, whose bite causes a deformation of the fruits that makes them unmarketable.

In the Emilia-Romagna region alone, the BMSB attacked all the main fruit crops, causing losses estimated at over 500 million euros, with production wastage ranging from 70-80% to 100%, with severe repercussions on the territory, on the related employment sector and, in perspective, on the competitiveness of the entire regional productive system; the sector, moreover,

has already been suffering the effects of an unimaginable environmental crisis for some time, the damage caused by adverse weather conditions and other pathologies on excellent products, without counting the inconvenience caused by a market that agrees on unfair prices for some products. “For this reason, it is essential to take action against the competent authorities of the European Union to review the ban imposed on the use of the only molecule able to combat the diffusion of the parasite, aiming to obtain a community derogation of at least two years,” explained Agrinsieme in a written note. However, even in the case of a derogation for Italy, it would still remain a major obstacle to the export of fruit and vegetables and their residues.

The Italian Minister of Agriculture, Teresa Bellanova, also spoke about the lack of authorisation for chlorpyrifos: “The refusal to authorise the use of chlorpyrifos, currently the only remedy against the BMSB, is a major error on the part of the EU. I am well aware that it is extremely important for producers and for the entire supply chain to have effective phytosanitary defence means to control the emergency, at least until alternative measures are available. That is why a national derogation is urgently needed. The BMSB is a European


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To p f r u i t

emergency, linked to the climate crisis, which is why we are asking Europe to make an effort, while we are already negotiating a derogation with Brussels.” THE SITUATION IN SPAIN The BMSB is an insect of Asian origin that was first detected in Spain in 2016, although its presence has been found in other European countries since 2004. Its diffusion represents a serious threat to crops. In Spain it is reported only in Catalonia so far, and it is still in the early stages of the infestation. However, the Catalan administration is already on alert and has already identified several measures to keep it under control.

Since 2016 it has spread throughout the Catalan coast and has already been reported in 35 municipalities of Girona, Barcelona and Tarragona. Last year a number of actions were carried out to reduce the expansion of the insect and to prevent or delay its arrival in agricultural areas. IRTA is conducting studies on the insect biology and on some ways to control it. The insect has also been monitored in different provinces to study its distribution through traps and aggregation pheromones, and the effectiveness of

the monitoring equipment for discovering the insect biology has been tested as well. It is a highly polyphagous species and can affect fruit, extensive crops and horticulture. This is why it needs to be monitored in all crops and, if a similar insect is found, it is absolutely necessary to correctly identify whether it is the species Halyomorpha halys, since it is quite similar to some autochthonous species in Spain. THE SITUATION IN THE NETHERLANDS AND BELGIUM The BMSB has been spotted sporadically in the Netherlands. Sightings were reported in the province of Limburg in 2018. Other provinces where the bug has been seen without significant damages are Utrecht, North Brabant and North Holland. Research centres asserted that the spread of the insect in a more critical manner is only a matter of time, as has been the case in other countries. The insect has also been sighted in Belgium, but no damage has been reported. One of the first sightings was in Sint-Katelijne-Waver near Antwerp. Pear growers in both the Netherlands and Belgium are worried because the BMSB is known to attack this crop in particular. It should also be said

that the weather conditions in these countries are different from the southern part of Europe, and this could slow down the spread of the insect.

OTHER NATIONS: GEORGIA AND PORTUGAL In the last two years Georgia (ex USSR) has been intensively fighting the bug to preserve the huge hazelnut fields destined

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for export. A lot of attention has been paid in Georgia not only toward farmers, but also to the entire population because the insect is a problem for the whole society. Georgia has also been supported by the United States. In the last two years, Georgia has received 5.9 million euros from the United States to reduce the spread of the insect and has also received special equipment. Portugal is also very concerned. The climate conditions there are beneficial for the spread of the insect, which has been sighted for some years now. Researchers from the Portuguese Faculty of Science and Technology at the University of Coimbra are carrying out research and are also raising awareness to combat the insect. POSSIBLE SOLUTIONS Many nations are conducting research to tackle the BMSB. Since effective chemicals have been banned or are in the process of being eliminated, the only solution seems to be the biological approach through antagonistic insects. As the Italian researcher Michele Preti explained, “There are ongoing studies on the use of traps and pheromones mostly

in the United States, but now also in Italy. These pheromones are not those of a sexual type, but aggregation ones, and therefore the bugs that are found within a 50-60 metre radius are attracted to the trap. The ‘attract and kill’ technique (attraction and subsequent elimination of the attracted bugs) seems to be very useful for the reduction of the populations present in the environment, when performed on a large scale. In addition, there are light traps for capturing the bugs at night. Against this bug you need to combine a lot of weapons.” Preti highlighted the topic of useful insects: “There is much debate around the genus Trissolcus and the two related species, T. japonicus and T. mitsukurii. The data available so far have shown that the different species of parasitoids attacking BMSB eggs may be complementary to each other. Among the useful insects are Anastatus bifasciatus, which have given good results in Italy, but the research must go on in order to have more precise confirmation.” Anastatus bifasciatus – explained the expert Stefano Foschi – is a hymenopteran

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that in the past has already been evaluated by several researchers for its ability to parasitize the eggs of Halyomorpha halys. “In our case, by collecting samples of BMSB eggs on a national level, we realized that in our area, Anastatus bifasciatus showed a capacity for deactivating the Halyomorpha halys eggs that was higher than the average known so far. We performed more tests, and in all cases the percentage of parasitized eggs was very high.”

Another solution is passive defence through the use of nets on the orchards, with total coverage. These have given excellent results even if, once again, it should be stressed that they are not sufficient on their own, and neither is any other method of containment. They must be used with criterion and be integrated with other systems, including chemistry and traps, and maximum attention must be paid to timely closures, being careful not to leave openings at the top or bottom. (CR)


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Wholesale markets

Jiangnan fruit and vegetable wholesale market in Guangzhou

How European companies can be successful in China China’s population consists of more than 1.4 billion people and is still growing. Many people have recognized that China is a huge market with a lot of potential. In recent years the global trend of adopting a healthy lifestyle is developing rapidly and Chinese consumers are joining this health trend as well. Consuming more fruits and vegetables is part of this healthy lifestyle and therefore the demand for these products is increasing.

F

urthermore, with food safety being a problem in China in the past, Chinese consumers sometimes trust foreign food brands more than their own Chinese brands. Therefore, with an increasingly growing population to feed, the rise of food trends and trust in foreign brands, China is quickly developing into an important export destination for fresh produce. Even though there is a large demand for fresh produce from China, one should keep in mind that the market and its demands are still different from Europe. In order to provide more insight into this, we selected some tips and tricks for European compa-

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nies that are thinking of exporting to China.

TRANSPORT AND COLD CHAIN In order to export products to China, different options are possible, such as export by air, train or ship. Most export will go by ocean freight on ships, which is a good option for products with a longer shelf life as it is cheaper than the former options. The export distance to China is a bit longer than it is for other countries in Europe and this also needs to be taken into account when starting to export to China. For a lot of companies that are just starting to export to China, it is hard to predict what the perfect conditions are for exporting their products.

Therefore, when exporting to China for the first time, it is better to send a small shipment and see how it arrives. Then you can do a few more test shipments to explore what works best for you. When you are sure which circumstances are best suited to exporting your products, you can start sending bigger shipments.

Furthermore, because a lot of fresh produce needs to be exported within the cold chain, it is important to make sure the whole cold chain – from beginning to end – is running smoothly. In China, there has been a lot of focus on improving logistics and cold chain in recent years, but there is still a lot of ignorance on this subject from buyers or sellers in the market. This can be seen, for example, in the avocado market. Avocados are quite a difficult product to export, but also hard to keep fresh. Once they arrive in China, the containers are sometimes put back into cold storage too late, or the container is opened too frequently which can damage the quality of the avocados in it. As the exporter, it is important to keep track


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Hall 27 Stand A08

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ferent from those in the European market since not all European countries are able to export to China. In addition to this, there is a lot of local fruit on the market because China produces a lot of fruit domestically. You therefore need to know the seasons and competitors well and try to find the right ‘window’ to export your products. The first time your brand product comes on the market is also most important because it will set your price. If there is a lot of supply and you need to sell for a lower price, people will keep associating it with this lower price and see it as lower quality.

Last but not least, being visible in the Chinese market is also important. Not only through marketing, but also literally: visit the market a few times a year, so people know with whom they are doing business. Download WeChat, as this is right now the most important app in ChiDehezi’s new high-tech cold storage project in Shandong. Dehezi is one of China’s leading food technology companies na to make new connections and do business. Furthermore, try to build of these problems as well as try to instruct MARKET RESEARCH your own brand with its own logo, your buyers on how to best manage the That brings us to the next point: you need as branded fruit in China is selling better product. In this way you can better control to know your market well. Even though Chi- than unbranded. the eventual quality of your product when na is a large market, not everyone is waitit reaches the end-customer. One of the ing for your products. Without the proper HIGH REQUIREMENTS ways to keep track of your products in the market research in advance, you will be Besides knowing the market, even more Chinese market is to cooperate with a Chi- clueless in the Chinese market because it is important is to know all import regulanese partner. very diverse. Every city has its own market; tions for your exports to China. In China, while most people look at the bigger cities, the export requirements for most fresh CHINESE PARTNER like Beijing and Shanghai, the ‘smaller’ cit- produce are very high. Only the best prodWhen doing business in China, it is very ies, like Chongqing, Chengdu or Xi’an are ucts can be imported and most of the time convenient to work together with a Chi- also developing very quickly. In these sec- this complies with a lot of different import nese partner at the location. In many cases, ond-tier cities there are less players in the protocols. Furthermore, your growing base Chinese importers can understand English, market, which means there is more space and packinghouse need to be certified for though not all of them have proficient lev- for new players to gain some market share. export to China, if you do not have these els, and thereby cultural differences are not certifications, it will become quite hard always noticed or understood between the You should, however, still do research and to export to China at all. In order to reach participating parties. To ensure that there try to understand your market first. For these demands, make sure that you are are no misunderstandings, it is better to example, sweet fruit is very popular in Chi- aware of all the protocols and requirements have someone you trust that can help you na so if you want to sell sour apples to this before exporting. communicate directly with the Chinese market, your product might be of superior sellers and solve any misunderstanding quality, but no one will buy it. In addition, When you look at all these steps, it becomes from the start. A partner in China, who packaging is also an important aspect for clear that you can’t just enter the Chinese knows the culture and language, is thus fresh produce in China. As fruits are often market and expect your products will sell. very important. presents to give away to friends or family, You really need to study this market and the packaging is quite important. In Europe know the regulations well in order to book Furthermore, another reason why it might there is not a lot of attention for this since some success. However, it is not impossible be helpful to have someone on-site is if most people in the supermarket are not to succeed in the Chinese market, it might problems with the shipment occur. The looking for fancy packaging for their fruits just take a bit longer than most people partner in China can help you check the or vegetables. However, in China the pack- would expect. (MG) shipments alongside the buyers. When a aging needs to look good and be colorful; problem occurs, you are able to solve it just like a present. Besides this, the color directly through your partner. Further- of the packaging is also of importance. For more, with someone in China, you have a example, the color white is associated with better eye on the Chinese market. This way death in Chinese culture, therefore white you can have better insights into the Chi- packaged fruits do not sell well. nese market and better determine when to send new shipments. Furthermore, you need to know your competitors in the market, as they will be difAGF Primeur • Special Edition Fruit Logistica • 2020

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Company news

Patrick Brun, Anteus Fruits:

“Our German customers are demanding but loyal” Patrick Brun created Anteus France in 2006 in order to meet a specific demand originally identified on the German market: “After selecting the producers that matched my customers’ expectations, I started to export 100 % of my produce to Germany. Today the company remains 85 - 90 % active in this market. At the same time, we are looking to expand into France, Belgium and Switzerland while keeping a tight grip on the market. Indeed, we wish to continue to select our customers. They must adhere to our project with very specific requirements and manage a controlled growth,” explains Patrick Brun, director of Anteus France.

T

he company mainly works with products of Moroccan and Spanish origin. “Vegetables are the products that we work with the most. In the winter we offer tomatoes, peppers and zucchinis grown on our own farm in Morocco. Simultaneously, we have partnerships with producers in Spain for these same products, all packaged under our brand ‘Anteus Fruits’ according to our very strict specifications. This diversity in origin offers the customers an option, allowing them to choose the origin they prefer.”

“THE FRENCH AND GERMAN MARKETS ARE COMPLETELY DIFFERENT” While the French market is experiencing the emergence of a wide variety of labels that are referred to as “the third way,” such as Zero Pesticide Residue, Cultivated Without Pesticides, Bee Friendly, or High Environmental Value, to name a few, the situation on the German market is quite different: “The German market still has the classic labels such as Global Gap and IFS. Today, in the absence of these certifica-

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tions, it can be very difficult to export there. The Germans are very attached to these Patrick Brun (middle) with the director of Anteus Maroc (front) certifications, much more so and their agricultural engineer than the French. Often it is not possible to export without these certifications. In addition to this prompting supermarkets and hypermarconventional offer, there is of course the kets to increasingly favour the French oriorganic offer, whose market share in Ger- gin on their shelves, this is not the case for many is much higher than it is in France,” the German market: “The Germans are well explains Patrick. aware that the extent of their useful agricultural surface area does not meet the nationAccording to Patrick, quality and regular al demand for fresh fruit and vegetables. supply are essential conditions to be able Therefore, they have no problem supplying to supply his German customers with fresh the market using a variety of sources, proproducts: “It is very difficult to break into vided the quality is good enough.” the German market. Germans are very demanding when it comes to quality, they “MOROCCAN PRODUCTION GROWING IN want certifications and of course a good QUALITY” price. But once they are satisfied and con- Offering Moroccan products to the Gervinced of the quality and we are able to pro- man customers was not an easy task in the vide them with a consistent supply – which beginning. “In the past, Moroccan fruit and is extremely important for our customers vegetables did not have a good reputation - then they stay loyal. This is not always on the European market. We had to really the case with French customers: many of prove that we were able to offer our custhem will not only request a certain level of tomers Moroccan products that would fully quality but they will also try to satisfy them in terms of quality,” says Patbring the prices down as much rick. as possible. In fact, some don’t hesitate to go to a competitor According to him, the products from Morocfor a few cents, even though co are improving in terms of quality and are we’ve been doing business gaining new market shares every year. The together for years – a situation company is seeking to develop its producthat simply doesn’t happen tion of its Moroccan products through its with our German customers,” subsidiary Anteus Maroc. “The genuinely explains Patrick. premium-oriented customer is more interested in the Spanish origin. However, the Although a certain form of improvement of Moroccan quality, particuprotectionism of domestic larly in our company but also from a generproducts is clearly appar- al point of view, has led to a situation where ent on the French market, there is hardly any difference between the


Our mission To create as short a chain as possible, so the product can reach the consumer as fast and fresh as possible. Own cultivation We grow tomatoes with passion and know-how on 14 hectares in a sustainable environment! Vine Tomatoes, Cocktail Tomato and Cherry Tomato. Packaging With 5 modern packing lines, we package according to the client’s demands and expectations. All packaging types are possible! Among others: flow-pack, stretch wrap and top-seal packaging with desired film or labels. Trade Tomatoes, Belgian endive, eggplant, bell pepper, lettuce, cucumber, pears and apples... all fresh from the grower! Logistics Storage capacity up to 1200 pallets. State of the art conditioned warehouse. Own fleet of 10 trucks.

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two origins. A lot of customers who had previously been oriented solely toward Spanish products are now starting to buy Moroccan ones. This is the case for some clients dealing with luxury hotels. I would never have imagined that I would one day be able to sell these clients tomatoes from Morocco. Yet, they are gradually beginning to buy the Moroccan products. This year, based on a successful first experience, we have decided to introduce a very high quality Moroccan-grown pepper into the European market.” In addition to capsicums, Anteus continues to develop the production of other crops, such as the pumpkin in Morocco, and the cucumber and sweet potato in Spain: “Just like in most European countries, the pumpkin is gaining in popularity in Germany. Last year, we produced around 100 tonnes in the Rabat region of northern Morocco. The climate is very favourable to the development

of the plant. Furthermore, the quality of the soil is not impaired by intensive cultivation. This year, we are producing over twenty hectares, with a productivity rate of about 25 tonnes per hectare. We therefore expect to harvest nearly 500 tonnes of pumpkin, which will be available from March through April. Since the consumption of this product is not cultural, there are very few operators on the market. However, the quality is the same as those produced in Europe.” “We were one of the first to be IFS-certified at a higher level” As German customers attach great importance to traceability and food safety certifications, Patrick wanted to be certified as soon as the company was founded: “We were among the first to start with the IFS certification seven or eight years ago. At the time, only the retail sector was asking for it. So it didn’t concern us directly, but we decided to certify our production via IFS

at the highest level for our wholesale customers, for example. As part of our ongoing efforts to improve continuously, we have achieved the ‘Higher Level’ certification level of 99.03%. We have decided to be one step ahead of demand in this area in order to ensure that we do not close any doors in the future to customers who are looking for high-quality products.” The company, which is also Global Gap certified, advocates sustainable agriculture and integrated pest management: “We try to move toward zero pesticides while maintaining relatively high yields and a healthy product that tastes good. To do this, we carry out regular residue analyses and are continuously looking for new varieties that are easier to work with and require less treatment,” concludes Patrick. (AP)

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Trade

Egypt and Germany: Nations connected in trade Egypt; the land of pharaohs and pyramids, but also the origin of a lot of fruit and vegetables that are exported to Europe. To Egyptian traders, Germany is a market that holds great potential, given the fact there are tens of millions of consumers that have a taste for fresh fruit and vegetables. Getting their produce accepted in this region did take some effort, as quality had to improve.

F

or one particular trader who specializes in onions, Germany represents a market that can give a company financial stability once they manage to enter it. “The German market is a very important one, with loads of potential if you look at the numbers alone. Although the current situation in India has shifted our focus for now, think about the 80 million consumers you can

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reach once you enter the German market,” Mostafa Adel, International Sales Manager for M.M.A. Fresh Produce, explains. “And the best thing is; once you manage to enter the market, your product will be asked for on a daily basis.” This makes Fruit Logistica a crucial exhibition to attend, Adel thinks. “Fruit Logis-

tica offers great potential to reach these markets, as all large retailers will be there. People should try to make appointments with Lidl and BayWa, or find other companies that can lead you to the direct supply chain. German consumers consume fresh fruit and vegetables every single day, so the demand is unimaginable. In 2017, Germany imported 9.1 billion euros worth of fresh fruit and vegetables. As a trader, it would be great to get a piece of that pie.” GERMANY GIVES ACCESS TO OTHER MARKETS AS WELL Mazeed Produce is an exporting company that has recently started exporting to Germany. According to Reham Kamal, export


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ccording to Ivo Geukes, owner of GKS Packaging. “We saw the need to develop a dedicated machine”. We did not just modify any existing machine to achieve “acceptable” results out of compromises. Instead we have developed a dedicated machine to guarantee the best results with paper. The GKS design team did a fantastic job rethinking the machine basics, for a brief

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Not only is the machine especially designed for paper, also the CO2 footprint and the environment was taken into account. The film roll frame is completely constructed out of recycled ocean plastic, thus helping to reduce plastic waste. The complete machine is build out of recyclable materials. LEAF runs with all paper materials coated with minimum sealcoating on the sealing area. It can also handle paper mesh which can be in-line inserted and sealed.

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LEAF has an open modular design with most common and desired options already standard on the machine. For example: carrying holes, block bottom, inserting mesh material, splice table for fast paper roll change and automatic paper tracking. Join GKS in a sustainable and environmental friendly world and come see LEAF in action on the GKS booth (Hall 3.1, B-05) or Schomaker booth (Hall 9, B08). GKS Packaging b.v. Steenoven 18 5626 DK Eindhoven The Netherlands T : +31 (0)40 2095 040 W : www.gkspackaging.com

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Trade

Hans Korsten from Partners in Source

manager for the company, one should strive to reach supermarkets directly. “We’ve been exporting fresh grapes and oranges to Germany for about three years now. Sending to German supermarkets directly has meant that the quality of the produce had to meet high standards, but we’ve managed to get all the certifications for the process. For the next few years, our plan is to increase the volumes of fresh grapes we send to Germany.” There is another interesting attribute that Germany offers, Kamal feels. “German ports have direct shipping connections with other countries, through the important shipping lines. This makes trade by sea freight a lot easier and removes the need to use air freight, unless we’re talking about sensitive produce that has a significantly lesser shelf life. The German market is important to Mazeed, which is proven by the fact we’ve participated regularly at Fruit Logistica and other events. It’s a great way to establish

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long term business relationships for companies that are looking for a steady growth in terms of their export volume, like we do at Mazeed.”

INCREASING QUALITY In the past, quality has been an issue for Egyptian produce, Consultant Hans Korsten of Partner in Sourcing confirms. Korsten has made a name for himself in Egypt by handling the quality assurance and acting as a consultant for various fresh produce traders. “Egyptian farmers used to just plant their seeds, say some prayers and see what produce would come out of it. It’ll be no surprise that the quality of this produce was not up to par for export standards, let alone being able to export the produce to Europe. However over the recent years, a lot of the companies have shifted their attitude and hired experts, they wanted to learn how they could increase their quality and yield at the same time. It’s resulted in a boost in quality for a lot of the Egyptian

produce, which was necessary to be able to export to large premium markets like Europe.”

To achieve a new level of quality, a shift in mentality was needed on all levels of production within the company. “The guy in charge might want to increase the quality of his produce and enforce new working methods in the packing and/or sorting houses. The company then hires an external expert to lay out the new plans, but it’s hard to enforce this on the ground. This is where our company has made significant steps. It took a while to get used to, but the oranges not fit for export no longer find their way to the ports,” Korsten explains. “Defects are reported and can be checked on the internet, live, by customers in Germany or anywhere else in the world. This transparency that the companies I represent now offer has created a certain amount of trust. As long as Class I quality remains the norm for these companies, I expect Egyptian pro-


duce to become even more present in the huge European markets.” QUALITY IS MORE IMPORTANT THAN THE PRICE Although prices are always a factor when it comes to the trade of fresh produce, in Germany quality is valued a lot more, says Mai Yassin. She is the export manager for Egyptian trading company Stars of Export, who deal in spring onions, sweet potatoes and fresh green garlic. “Our company has sent produce to Germany since 1992, so we have a lot of experience in the market.

We’ve mostly sent spring onions and fresh green garlic to Germany and our dealing within the German market has always been very pleasant. The Germans put a high priority on the quality of the produce you send them. They’re willing to pay a slightly higher price if it means they’ll receive premium quality. Now that doesn’t mean that price is not a factor at all, but it’s lower on the Germans’ list of priorities.”

For Stars of Export, the Netherlands has always been one of their most important markets. Luckily, the Dutch requirements

for produce and packaging are very similar to those of Germany, which made it easier to enter the German market to begin with. “Packaging standards are similar between Holland and Germany, but the most important thing is everything must be accurate. The information on the packages, but also the length of the spring onions for example. It’s very nice to work with German companies, as they respect both you as a trader and the agreements you’ve made with them. The fact that we’ve never had any money issues when dealing in the German market is a great reassurance. As long as the quality of the produce is as good as you claim it is when making the deal, they will always keep their promises,” Yassin concludes.

The German market has been an important one, and will continue to be one of the markets that carries the most potential for Egyptian traders. One could even say the German and European markets have improved the quality of Egyptian produce indirectly, with Fruit Logistica being the catalyst to connect the nations in trade. (NP)

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Joris Schonk, Fyffes:

“For the coming years, we are ramping up our focus on diversification and innovation within the banana sector”

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The banana sector has been in the spotlight in recent years. Are bananas truly being threatened with extinction, or is further growth in banana sales still possible? We asked Joris Schonk, Commercial Director at Fyffes BV about this. Fyffes markets roughly 70 million boxes of bananas worldwide annually, making them the market leaders in Europe. There followed an interview over Fairtrade, sustainability, blockchain, and the increase in exotics. “The key to growth going forward is innovation and premiumisation.” How was 2019 for Fyffes? “The year 2019 was a reasonable year for us. Market prices were a little better than in the previous two years but could have been better. In our opinion, banana prices are still too low and generally, supply still outweighs demand. In the Northern European and Scandinavian markets, banana sales are dominated by fixed prices or contractual sales, which means the market effect is not as great as before. This is an increasing trend and at the moment it accounts for 85% of our planned volume.” What volume of tropical fruit does Fyffes market? “For bananas, the total volume is around 70 million boxes, of which we market 50 - 55 million in Europe. We also sell roughly 15 million boxes of pineapples and another 25 million boxes of melons on the North American market, where we are the market leader for this product.”

Has much changed since Fyffes became part of the Japanese company, Sumitomo? “In Rotterdam, little has changed operationally but we have gained Japanese colleagues in the business development and supply chain departments. Our strong executive board is as before. With Sumitomo as the parent organization, Fyffes is even better placed to continue with our strategy of expanding in different regions of the world as well as investing in both forward and backward chain integration.”

What is the share of the company’s own cultivation? “Fyffes sources 100% of our melons from our own farms. For pineapples, that is about 60%. It is lower for bananas as we have developed very effective partnerships with both large and small producers across several source countries. Fyffes has several plantations in Costa Rica and Belize and I believe that there is a possibility to add more of our own banana production in future. Recently, we have started growing avocados in Colombia, too.

Do you still see much growth potential for banana sales in Northwestern Europe? Or is it becoming more difficult due to, for example, competition from other fruits which are becoming more readily available year-round? “Banana imports to Europe have increased in recent years driven by higher production. There is always competition from other fruit, but bananas have been a steady product in supermarkets for many years. The advantage is that bananas have broad consumer appeal. Fyffes plans to build on this and to drive diversification and category segmentation. Our customer concepts for our clients and consumers includes so far singles, bananas for kids and sustainable packaging. We see a lot of potential in developing concepts which align supply and retailer strategy with consumer need. Our focus is on growing the banana category through innovation and premiumisation. We have developed a category plan which includes different expansion elements, adding value to the product and the shopping experience.” To what extent do banana diseases like TR4 and Black Sigatoka threaten the banana trade? “TR4 was found in northern Colombia last year and the fear is that it will spread to other parts of Central and South America. However, at the same time, I am very impressed with how seriously the authorities are taking the spread of this disease and, above all, banana production itself. The government has invested a significant amount of time and money in combatting the spread of this disease and protecting the plantations as much as possible. In addition, the investment provides for affected areas to be placed in quarantine in a controlled manner. To gain entry onto a farm you must go through a footbath, donning overalls and clean boots and having registered properly. I think this is partly why the impact on the total production of Cavendish banana is less likely to be the same as, for example, in the Philippines or China. In addition, other institutions are developing resistant or more tolerant varieties.”

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Benefits of TopTec ripening rooms • Constant temperature thanks to the Reversed Air System with EC fans • All bananas the same colour • Reduced loss of moisture and weight during ripening • Long shelf life and great quality • Energy effi cient due to unique Proba 5 software • 30% more energy effi cient due to unique tilt frame • Suitable for various sorts of banana’s, mango, avocado and other tropical fruit • Very low energy consumption, less than 90 Watt per pallet • Easy to clean and maintain without having to clear out the room • Short construction time through prefabrication of TopTec and “Smart” workflow • Simple mounting in new or renovated buildings • Our fans meet ErP 2015 standards Cooling Systems Holland uses natural refrigerants in it’s cooling cycle. Zoltstede 10, 8431 HM Oosterwolde • The Netherlands Telefoon +31 (0)592 530 310 info@coolingsystemsholland.nl

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How Fairtrade are your bananas? “Fyffes is the European market leader when it comes to Fairtrade-certified bananas. Around 15% of our total volume is now Fairtrade certified, part of this is being Organic also. In recent years, millions of dollars from the Fairtrade premium have been invested in the production areas where we source our Fairtrade bananas. These investments have a major impact. However, for us, Fairtrade is not the only label that stands for sustainability. For several decades, Fyffes has been contributing to a sustainable banana industry in many ways and we work with our producers on all levels to structurally improve the lives of people in our production areas and their communities. The focus is on health, education, culture, and sport. Fyffes has a clear sustainability strategy with pillars linked to the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals. In addition to that, we are active in many industry-related organizations that strive for sustainability, such as SIFAV, WBF, ABNB, etc. We have recognized that consumers, certainly millennials, are increasingly asking questions about our products. Our ‘Discover More’ campaign addresses this, providing clients and consumers with more insight into how our products are grown and the values and commitments behind that. Is that why you switched to blockchain technology? “Yes, we want to be entirely transparent

about our bananas’ origin, and we want to give insight into the joint efforts we make in the areas of people, nature, and the environment. There has been a lot of recent attention on the so-called externalities within agricultural production chains, including bananas – such as wages, water usage and CO2 emissions. That is why we have developed climate-neutral bananas in

partnership with the [Dutch] supermarket chain PLUS, and our technology partner Supply Chain Information Management (SIM). For this, the independent Climate Neutral Group calculate the CO2 emissions per box of bananas. In the first stage we compensate for these and our aim in stage two is to actively reduce them throughout the supply chain. Thanks to the blockchain developed by SIM, we can provide reliably information and transparency about the different stages in our chain to customers

and consumers. By scanning the QR code on loose bananas and entering the Fairtrade FLO-ID, consumers can follow the journey of their banana’s from plantation to their shopping basket. This begins at one of the 17 cooperatives in the Urabá region of Colombia where the bananas are grown. The blockchain contains information about when the bananas were harvested and includes socio-economic activities, certification and the CO2 footprint of each of the links in the chain. Our goal is to develop initiatives with our partners that will reduce carbon emissions throughout the whole chain.” Can we expect a further expansion of your portfolio? “As part of our diversification, we have developed an exotic range. This now includes plantains, red bananas, baby bananas, cassava, and soon avocados from our own production in Colombia. There is a significant growth potential in avocados and we want to expand in this market. A better supply-demand balance will develop on the avocado market in the long run but for now, this market is still demand-driven. The Fyffes ‘Discover more’ campaign will support this and lay the foundation for further innovations and New product development (NPD). You can expect to hear a lot from us.” (IH) www.fyffes.nl

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Organics

Spanish organic products are appreciated in Germany Germany is expected to remain the world’s second largest consumer of organic food; however, its own organic food production is growing at a slower pace than the demand, forcing it to rely mainly on foreign suppliers. This is an opportunity for Spanish companies in the organic and biodynamic sector, especially in Andalusia.

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panish fruit and vegetable exports to the rest of Europe have not stopped growing in recent years. In 2018, Andalusia shipped €1,543 million worth of products, which turned it into the main sales market in this region and the leader in national exports, with 42% of Spain’s total sales. Almeria is the province that accounts for the largest share, with more than half of the total (56%) and 862 million in 2018, which is more than double the figure of 2009, with an increase of 111% in the last decade. Huelva ranks second, with 348 million (22.5%), having also more than doubled its figure, with an increase of 150%. The third place is for Seville, with 109 million (7.1%) and an increase of 93%, and the fourth is for Granada, with 107 million and a 4% increase. The next in the ranking are Malaga, with 75 million and an increase of 402%; Cádiz, with 20.6 million and a 49%

rise; Cordoba, with 20.5 million (+1.3%) and Jaén, with 1.2 million. In Germany’s case, its fruit and vegetable imports have doubled in the last decade, increasing by 110% since 2009. The number of Spanish fruit and vegetable companies exporting to Germany has grown by 22% in the last decade, reaching a total of 487. Of these, almost two thirds (68%) are regular exporters (more than four years exporting). This is 28.5% more than in 2009 (73 more firms).

GOOD SPANISH “BIO” PRODUCTS In recent years, a number of Spanish organizations and institutions have been promoting and encouraging partnerships between Andalusian fruit and vegetable companies. In the organic sector, a Spanish delegation has held meetings in key cities such as Cologne and Dusseldorf with the support of the Andalusian Councils of the

Presidency, Public Administration and Interior. These have been organised through EXTENDA (Andalusian Agency for Foreign Promotion.)

The objective of these missions is to strengthen the presence of Andalusian products in the German market and establish links with importers and distributors working in the organic fruit and vegetable sector. The German organic market is the largest in Europe and the second largest in the world in terms of turnover, with a total exceeding €10 billion in 2017. This represents 11% of the global turnover generated by organic products, and 62% of the organic turnover corresponds to fresh products. In 2017, fruit and vegetables experienced increases in their turnover of 7% and 4.5%, respectively.

Andalusia is the leader in fruit and vegetable sales to the German market, with 42% of the domestic total. Furthermore, Germany is the number one destination for Andalusian fruit and vegetables, with €1,543 million generated in 2018. This entails that more than one in every four euros worth of AGF Primeur • Special Edition Fruit Logistica • 2020

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Organics

Andalusian exports corresponds to these products, with a 110% growth in the past decade.

ANDALUSIA, A SEA OF PEPPERS AND CUCUMBERS Spain exports mainly tomatoes, peppers, cucumbers and courgettes to Germany, with the country also being Germany’s main supplier for these products. In the specific case of Andalusia, the region sells mainly peppers to Germany, with €265 million worth of them in 2018, which is 17.2% of all sales and represents a 139% growth since 2009. In the same year, cucumber and pickle exports were worth €199 million (12.9%) and recorded an 81% growth; and tomato shipments were

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worth €198 million (12.8%) and recorded an increase of 42%. The fourth place was for fresh strawberries, with €135 million (8.7%) and a 24.8% growth. Next in the ranking are melons, watermelons and papayas, with €114 million, 7.4%, and a 134% rise; raspberries, blackberries with €108 million (+939%); blueberries, with €100 million (+1,080%); citrus fruits, with €77 million (+63%); pumpkins and courgettes, with €68 million (with no sales recorded in 2009); and dates, figs, pineapples, avocados, guavas, mangoes and mangosteens, with €44 million, 2.8% and a 439% rise. RELEVANCE OF ORIGIN AND PROXIMITY TO THE PRODUCER Data are scarce regarding the perception

of German consumers toward the Spanish origin of the supply, but several studies indirectly show that the country of origin of organic products does not seem to be a relevant aspect; however, the proximity of the production is taken into account, as stated by 87% of respondents in the framework of a study of the German Ministry of Agriculture from 2018 (Ökobarometer 2018). This would highlight the direct link between organic farming and its positive impact on the environment close to the consumer. The predominance in the organic food market of brands from associations and traders makes it difficult to clearly identify the producer’s brand or the origin of the product. With regard to Spanish fruits and vegetables, it is assumed that Spain’s reputation

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as an exporter in the conventional market applies also to its organic production. Most of the Spanish organic food production is intended for foreign markets, with Germany being one of its main destinations. As far as organic product exports are concerned, Spain ships mainly fruits and vegetables and is Germany’s biggest supplier. Together, Spain and Italy account for 85% of all German organic fruit and vegetable imports. In the 2015/2016 season, German imports of Spanish organic cucumbers doubled, while organic pepper imports grew by 14%, and those of organic tomatoes grew by 8% (latest data available) after years of setbacks.

NEW DISTRIBUTION CHANNELS Nowadays, German consumers expect to have access to a wide range of organic foods, and they also want them at stores they can trust. In that regard, organic supermarkets meet their expectations. However, these stores must face the competition from traditional retailers. The huge growth of organic production and consumption in Spain has boosted online sales nationwide. In other countries, such as Germany, the online channel is still residual for food, both organic and conventional. Most German customers buy food mainly in physical stores; nevertheless, the online demand for food is increasing thanks to the expansion of the supply. Currently, 6% of consumers claim to have bought organic food online.

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CHALLENGES OF THE GERMAN MARKET Some limitations that have an impact on Spanish exporters when it comes to selling their organic products in Germany are the importance of certification labels from private associations, the presence of consolidated brands and the low prices (especially in the discount channel). The logistics can sometimes be hampered by geographical distance, and problems in the transport of the products can be a barrier. However, with the current technology and advances in logistics and infrastructure, as well as the creation of new corridors, things are looking bright for the long-standing relationship between Spain and Germany. (EN)

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Wholesale markets

The heart of French trade

The future of Rungis and Saint Charles International Rungis and Saint Charles International are of utmost importance to the French fruit and vegetable trade sector. Both these trade centers were built 50 years ago and have enjoyed great success since. Hundreds of companies sell their wares at these two centers every day. Rungis and Saint Charles International are both investing heavily to ensure they remain at the center of the French market. The Rungis wholesale trading market is located just outside Paris. In 2018, more than 1.2 million tons of fruit and vegetables made its way through the centre. The 363 fresh produce companies based at Rungis have a cumulative turnover of €3.69 billion. While all kinds of fresh products are offered at Rungis, Saint Charles International specialises solely in fruit and vege140

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tables. There, over the same period, more than 1.7 million tons of fruit and vegetables were traded, good for €1.98 billion worth of revenue. This trading centre finds itself in the southern coastal region of Perpignan. SAINT CHARLES’ FATHER Anne-Marie Colom was around when Saint Charles International was founded. Today,

she heads up the fruit and vegetable company Marquillanes. It is thanks to this company’s founder, Paul Marquillanes, that Saint Charles International exists. “We call him Saint Charles’ father.”

Madame Colom shares the details of the events that led to the founding of the centre. “Fifty-two years ago, there were 21 importers of Spanish fruit and vegetables in Perpignan. Our stores were scattered throughout the city. The set-up was very impractical. When trucks arrived late at night with our supplies, the unloading was a serious inconvenience to the people living in our stores’ neighbourhoods. Paul Marquillanes gathered us all together and took the initiative to unite us in a profes-


sional organization, ‘le Syndicat National des importateurs-exportateurs de fruits et légumes frais en provenance d’Espagne,’ or rather the National Union of Spanish Fresh Fruit and Vegetable Importers and Exporters.” The union’s members started looking for a site on which to build their depots. They found lands belonging to a manor farm, called Saint Charles, in Southern France, which gave the centre its name. These lands were outside the city of Perpignan, ideally located beside a railroad and an onramp to the A9 freeway. “After the first two buildings, which included platforms, were completed, our suppliers were finally able to unload their cargo using palettes. This meant the trucks could be offloaded within 20 minutes. It was enormous progress. Before, it took two to three hours to offload a truck of clementines by hand, box by box, size by size. The platforms also made it easier to load the products before departure. Saint Charles was a big success from the start, and that success has since only multiplied.”

SPECTACULAR DEVELOPMENTS Over the years, the centre has expanded tremendously. “In the beginning, each importer had one room temperature area and one refrigerated area. Currently, all our buildings are fitted with cooling facilities and, thanks to Saint Charles’ growth, we have much more storage space. We have rooms with customized, product-specific temperatures too. The centre has attracted transport companies and the SNFC goods station was built and expanded.” In the SNFC station’s heyday, five trains a day would depart from Perpignan. “The train will now vanish; the only remaining line was used to supply Rungis. That makes no sense since it is important to protect the environment and to have a smaller CO2 footprint. The train decreases the number of trucks needed on the road and can significantly decrease transportation’s CO2 impact.” Madame Colom points to the increasing number of countries that are imported from as one of the most important develop-

ments in the history of Saint Charles International. “The increase is spectacular. In the early days, only a few Spanish products were imported at Saint Charles. The centre then opened its doors to Morocco, South America, South Africa, and all the Mediterranean countries.” The centre has also expanded its sales to various countries. “We currently sell all over Europe, both locally and outside of the European Union. We also sell outside of Europe to places like North America.”

MORE LOCAL CULTIVATION Besides overseas products, Saint Charles International is getting more local fruit and vegetables from Southern France. “Local growers were angry with us for a long time for building an import centre in the middle of an important agricultural region. They have since come to understand that they can bring their products to market very easily via our centre, thanks to all the logistical facilities we have to offer.”

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Wholesale markets International centre will keep growing and will keep meeting consumer demands and expectations.”

FROM PARIS TO RUNGIS In 2019, the Rungis wholesale market turned 50. That was widely celebrated by, among other things, breaking the world record for the largest table in the world. The history of this wholesale market, however, stretches as far back as the Middle Ages. Before the market was relocated to Rungis, it was in the centre of Paris.

Anne Marie Colom with her daughter, Anne Marie Girault-Colom.

Saint Charles International finds itself in a strategic position. “It is ideally positioned. Not just for all the trade routes to and from the South. But for those going in the northern and eastern directions of France and Europe as well. We are close to various destination harbours, such as Port-Vendres, Sète, and Marseille. Saint Charles International sells many products via these ports. Even some products that arrive at harbours in Northern France or the Netherlands are brought directly to market from our centre.” INDESTRUCTIBLE Madame Colom has confidence in Saint Charles International’s future. “The centre is indestructible. It will always be here. I have been here for more than 52 years and believe there will be continued developments. New import countries and export destinations will be added, and there will be more products that are cultivated sustainably, such as organic products. The quality demands will become stricter to provide guaranteed food safety to the end consumer.”

Many of the initial company directors at Saint Charles have since been succeeded by their children. “The younger generation is taking over. This is also the case in our business, where my daughter decided to join us a few years ago. Fresh blood and visions for the topic give the sector a new boost.” Madame Colom points to other development that has contributed to Saint Charles’ expansion. “Delegates of buyers from across Europe and, even, Asia visit Saint Charles International. They are looking for out-of-season fruit and vegetables, as well as products that are not found in their own countries. All the Mediterranean countries are interested in Saint Charles International, and this interest stretches worldwide too.”

Madame Colom ends her tale with a definite conclusion. “The people of the world will always eat fresh fruit and vegetables. Quality assurance systems such as IFS, Démarche Qualité Saint Charles, Organic Agriculture, and AEO are becoming increasingly important for the sector. The Saint Charles

In 1183, two buildings were erected in Paris to house a covered market. From the 13th century onward, a wholesale market for foodstuffs was held here three times a week. Through the centuries, these buildings were renovated and expanded. The activities also increased, and from the 17th century on, the market was held every day.

In the 19th century, Napoléon III decided to demolish the old buildings to make room for larger, more practical buildings. These were built in the form of ten metal pavilions with large glass walls. People called these the ‘Les Halles centrales.’ These were used until the beginning of the 20th century.

In the ‘50s, President Charles de Gaulle decided these halls had to make way for roads. This was then realized in 1969, and the wholesale market relocated to Rungis, seven kilometres south of Paris. An excellent choice – the market finds itself close to the highway and the Orly airport. There was also room to grow. The market covers an area of 234 hectares. REPRESENTATIVE Sixty years ago, the three Meseguer brothers left Spain to sell the citrus from their region in Les Halles, as the wholesale market was known then. Nowadays, their company, Ets Meseguer, finds itself at Rungis and is still active in the import and sales of

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Marquillanes’ storage

citrus. Benoît Maillard-Guillon, who works at Ets Meseguer, emphasizes that Rungis occupies a unique position in the French fruit and vegetable market sector. “Rungis’ strength lies in the fact that it is entirely representative of the situation on French markets in general. It is a good indicator of quality as well as volumes. You can see which products are reaching the end of their season, which products are only just coming onto the market, and which products are in high demand. Everything is present and available, even unique niche products. You just have to walk around at Rungis to get a picture of the total available supply.” Benoît has worked at Rungis for 13 years now. Through the years, he has witnessed many changes. “The situation has worsened as far as logistics are concerned. The train link between Perpignan and Rungis was stopped as the traffic situation around Paris became more complicated. However, when you consider the infrastructure and the state of the buildings, there have been positive developments. Everything has been renovated, and many new warehouses have been built. Continual investing is taking place.” MAJOR PLAYERS Benoît adds that many companies have changed ownership in recent years. “It is not difficult to find successors. Rungis is a

brand. It is a strategic location for the major players with various branches in France, and the market stands remain very popular.” Although most owners weren’t succeeded by family members, in many cases, the companies’ original names have been preserved. According to Benoît, these large players are taking over more of the market trade in conventional products. Despite this, he is confident that the smaller businesses can handle this development. “There are many big restaurants in and around Paris. These will ensure small companies that offer very specific products, such as herbs and edible flowers, will remain afloat. Restaurant owners are interested in this type of product, and as long as they stay at Rungis, the supply will continue.” Another development that Benoît points out is that an increasing number of greengrocers and wholesalers buy at Rungis. “These traders operate as vegetable farmers and wholesalers at the same time.”

FUTURE-PROOF The centuries-old Parisian wholesale market has, time and again, proved its ability to stand the test of time. Even today, Rungis is fully committed to becoming future-proof. Semmaris, the organization responsible for managing the wholesale market, has several running projects aimed at achieving this.

Examples of this are the construction of energy-neutral buildings, loading poles for electric vehicles, and a pavilion of organic products. This pavilion was opened in 2016 and covers an area of 5,600m2. That makes it the largest organic sales warehouse in Europe. According to Stéphane Layani, the wholesale market president, this organic pavilion proves that Rungis is capable of adapting to the massive evolutions in food consumption. This organic warehouse also fits in with Rungis’ goal to make its product supply more sustainable. It is not the first such specialized warehouse at Rungis. In 2013, a pavilion, dedicated to gastronomy, was opened here.

Since 2015, Rungis has housed ‘Rungis & Co,’ a cooperative between businesses and young companies that put their heads together to consider the future of the wholesale market. Start-ups that form part of Rungis & Co have already come up with solutions such as how businesses can use their waste matter in a meaningful way, and how to remotely control the cold stores’ temperatures. (ET)

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Convenience

Rapid rise of fresh convenience goods benefits the German catering wholesale trade

“Supply and demand of processed fruit and vegetables will increase steadily over the next few years”

Mustafa Topak, CEO of Topak GmbH

In most Western European countries, fresh convenience goods have been an integral part of the permanent range of products for years. Both in food retailing and in the catering trade, sliced and processed fresh products are a lucrative and growing product segment in which high profit margins can be achieved.

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t the same time, the segment is also rapidly gaining importance on the German fresh food market, although the choice is still limited compared to the surrounding countries. Due to the shortage of personnel and the flourishing domestic gastronomy sector, the demand for convenience concepts will continue to rise in the coming years.

However, this trend also creates new growth opportunities, as well as a new vitality in the German wholesale markets. Until a few years ago, the convenience selection on the German market was almost exclusively limited to peeled potatoes and onions, as well as pre-cut salads and cabbage vegetables. In recent years, however, its market share and range of products has increased dramatically, as was emphasised at the first Convenience Forum in Hamburg in the summer of 2018. According to the data at that time, there is still a great

potential for growth in this distinct market segment. Accordingly, speaker Michael Möhring (Erfa Food Service) had a clear message for the attending trade audience: “The convenience industry offers growth opportunities for flexible suppliers in the out-of-the-home market. A wide selection and uncompromisingly fresh goods, but also an acceptable price-performance ratio are the most important requirements of this new market segment.”

FROM SEASONAL PRE-CUT VEGETABLES TO PACKED FRUIT SALADS AND MUSHROOM MIXES Nowadays, the majority of the fresh product range is available in convenience form as well. However, not every convenience product was a hit right from the start. Fruit salads and pre-cut fruits in particular saw difficult market launches, the management at vitasafe LLC recalled. This Southern German company has been specialising in the

production and marketing of freshly cut fruit for some ten years now and initially placed twelve innovative taste variations on the market. Despite the enthusiasm shown by the food retailers, consumers were reluctant to buy: “We had simply gone too far in our euphoria.” In recognition of this, things were turned back to a product that almost everyone knows (as a canned product), namely the “pineapple cylinder.” Since then, vitasafe has been producing this pineapple cylinder fresh and without the addition of preservatives, atmospherically packaged in a cup and with a minimum shelf life of 7 days at the point of sale. “This item was accepted by the customer immediately.”

There have also been a lot of changes in other market segments in recent years and one example of this is the mushroom sector, said Uwe Buschhaus, the specialist mushroom wholesaler of the company of the same name. “The demand for ready-to-cook mushrooms in mixed packaging is increasing year by year, mainly in the catering and cash & carry sector. And not just the standard mixes, but more unusual mushroom exotics as well.” On the part of the supplier, it is crucial to react flexibly to the needs of AGF Primeur • Special Edition Fruit Logistica • 2020

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Convenience

Stephan Junker, Go Fresh GmbH:

“Market will develop into further refinement of convenience” Stephan Junker took his first steps in the convenience sector as early as 1995. In the following years, the trained chef worked in the neighbouring country of the Netherlands, among others, also gathering know-how in the field of fresh convenience. Finally, in 2011, he founded the company Go Fresh, based in Geilenkirchen (close to the Dutch border). His main customers include well-known airlines (Fly Catering) as well as the restaurant and hotel industry in Germany and abroad. Junkers observes that there is currently a shortage of manpower in every single area. “Fewer and fewer people want to learn how to cook: this is contributing to the fact that the demand for ready-tocook fresh products tends to increase; these require little time to prepare. After all, unskilled workers must also be able to simply put these products on the table. Although the purchase prices are higher, less man hours are required this way.” The convenience supplier of the first hour sees some positive developments on the German market. For example, he sees an increased demand for forgotten and rediscovered vegetable crops such

the bulk buyer, Buschhaus emphasises. “For this reason, we deliver up to 10 or 12 different varieties in mixed packaging, to order.”

LOCAL-FOR-LOCAL PRODUCTION IN EXISTING FRESH FOOD MARKETS The strong focus on fresh convenience has a major impact on the existing fresh food trade and creates new marketing opportunities for existing wholesale stores in Germany. Certainly, at the smaller, locally oriented trading areas, a growing number of wholesalers is trying to close this relatively new market gap. This is also taking place in light of the fact that the original distribution of unprocessed crates is no longer sufficient to assert oneself on the market. Fresh convenience offers retailers the opportunity to 148

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as parsnips, especially in the upscale gastronomy sector. “We are working with a partner who not only peels and cuts these vegetables, but also pre-cooks and tastes them. This further refinement of fresh convenience will, in my opinion, gain in importance in the years to come, so that in the end we can offer the consumer an end product instead of a semi-finished product.” Despite the increased demands on convenience products, the shelf life and the logistics chain are still decisive. “Compared to the Netherlands, the transport routes in Germany are, of course, much longer. It often takes two days before the products are in the central warehouse and then another day before they reach the stores. Getting the shelf life under control is still the biggest challenge in the fresh-cut industry.”

Stephan Junkers (right) and his team from Go Fresh

With vegetable products, we are staying away from pre-cut salads, but are instead focusing on cabbage and root vegetables, trying to achieve a higher level of refinement. 40 per cent of the production is done by hand and about 60 per cent by machine; the demand is strongly dependent on the respective clientele.” sjunkers@go-fresh.net

Fruit products are the top priority in Go Fresh’s own production. Up to 75 per cent of the products manufactured are fruit products. “Both in gastronomy and in Fly Catering, fruit salads, as well as mono-products such as pineapple, grapefruit and orange slices, have always been an integral part of the demand.

further explore local products and it creates higher profit margins compared to the standard range. On the part of the customer, there is the advantage of local supply, which has the benefits of shorter transport routes, as well as a larger flexibility within the local production, and a better product quality of the marketed product. This means that on the market side, the local-for-local production of convenience products is mainly recognised as advantageous.

More and more wholesalers believe in the potential of local convenience production and are opting for this market segment, either on a large or modest scale. At the Frischemarkt Bremen, a brand-new production facility (6,000m²) is currently being

completed, where Topak will soon produce and trade fresh convenience goods for the northern German region. “We recognised the convenience trend early on and have developed our production capacity step by step in parallel with the daily expansion of our product range. At the moment, our daily product turnover is about five tons and we will triple this capacity through the move,” says company owner Mustafa Topak. (HH) michael@moehrings.de info@vitasafe.de info@speisepilze.eu info@topak.de


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Kaki

Spanish kaki: From boom to drama The Spanish Rojo Brillante kaki production has recovered this season and amounted to around 450 million kilos. This follows a 2018-2019 season with losses of more than 50% due to the impact of weather adversities like hailstorms and frost.

A

lthough prices in the previous season remained acceptable due to product shortages, the 2019-2020 campaign will come to a close with disastrous results that had already been predicted in previous years. Kakis have gone from being a profitable alternative to other crops, such as oranges or mandarins, to becoming a risky activity in just a few years. Was too much kaki planted without planning? Would the opening of new markets and the promotion of the fruit’s consumption be one of the keys to prevent this sector from going under?

Kaki cultivation has grown at a dizzying speed in Spain, especially in the province of Valencia, where the production has gone from 4,000 tons in 2000, grown exclusively in the county of La Ribera del Xúquer, to around 450,000 tons across Spain in 2020. This means that the size of the production has multiplied by more than one hundred. This year, a lot of kakis have been 150

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left hanging on the trees because it has not been profitable to harvest them, as no one seemed to show interest in buying them. The situation for many Spanish producers and marketing companies working with this product is dramatic. Aware of the fact that there is more fruit available than last year, the large retail sector started pushing purchase prices down. “Many growers panicked and soon started to yield and sell very cheaply. The consequence of this has been a collapse of prices in just a few weeks since the beginning of the season,” says Eduardo Cifre, a Valencian producer and exporter. At the beginning of December, purchase prices at origin already ranged between 5 and 7 cents per kilo, when the production costs alone amount to around 25 cents per kilo. According to Eduardo Cifre, marketing companies have also been in trouble. “Marketers have been dealing with margins of between 1 and 2 cents, so a single claim can spoil an important part of the campaign.

The situation is very tense, both between producers and trading companies as well as between trading companies and the large retail sector. The fact is that most supermarket chains have maintained the price of kakis on their shelves at the same level as last year, thus obtaining higher margins.”

“This year there have been no hailstorms or frosts or major pest problems, so there has been a good harvest. We were very happy with the quality of the fruit,” says Pascual Prats, president of the Spanish Kaki Association. This association is formed by 45 companies that account for 53% of Spain’s total kaki production. The Region of Valencia is the most representative producing area, accounting for around 91%, followed by Andalusia and Murcia. This year, some producers from Aragon and Catalonia have also joined the association. This season, the association launched a sales strategy that allowed it to distribute its entire production in a profitable way, deciding to forgo marketing the second-class kakis if necessary, in order to regulate the market based on the demand. “At some points of the campaign, it can even be necessary to stop sales altogether until prices recover a little,” he said.


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Van der Plas currently produces an impressive amount of 25 different sprout varieties

Visit us at the BIOFACH, stand 5-111

Discover our sprouts on: www.vanderplassprouts.nl/en

1721 PT Broek op Langedijk - The Netherlands +31 (0)226 33 29 99 - info@vanderplassprouts.nl

Fräulein –

oder die Geschichte einer Liebe auf den ersten Biss. Treffen Sie den Entdecker der deutschen Apfelentdeckung auf der Fruit Logistica 2020: Mittwoch, 05.02.2020 09:30 – 10:30 Uhr Elbe-Obst Vertriebsgesellschaft mbH (Halle 20, Stand B-05) 11:00 – 12:00 Uhr Obst vom Bodensee Vertriebsgesellschaft mbH (Halle 20, Stand B-11) 13:00 – 14:00 Uhr M.AL. Marktgemeinschaft Altes Land GmbH (Halle 20, Stand A-05) 16:00 – 17:00 Uhr Obstgroßmarkt Mittelbaden eG (Halle 20, Stand B-07) Donnerstag, 06.02.2020 09:30 – 10:30 Uhr Obstgroßmarkt Mittelbaden eG (Halle 20, Stand B-07) 14:30 – 15:30 Uhr M.AL. Marktgemeinschaft Altes Land GmbH (Halle 20, Stand A-05) 16:00 – 17:00 Uhr Elbe-Obst Vertriebsgesellschaft mbH (Halle 20, Stand B-05) www.fräulein.de

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“There are producers who are already uprooting their trees because they have lost too much money and some marketing companies are at a high risk of bankruptcy. The prospect is that there will be many non-payments to producers this campaign,” says Eduardo Cifre. “There is a lot of despair and tension in this sector, to the point that some would like it if frosts and hailstorms were to be recorded again so that prices can improve.” “If there were more open markets, there would not be enough kakis to supply them” The opening of new markets seems to be the priority for Spanish kaki exporters. “Spain is the world’s largest exporter of kakis and we have to take advantage of this to prevent the markets from becoming saturated and have our product lose value. The expansion of the kaki acreage happened very quickly in this country, and the growth of the demand couldn’t keep up. Now the production growth has stopped, and the nurseries have not sold any kaki seedlings for a couple of years, but the production of the younger plantations is still increasing. That is why we believe it is essential to find new markets on time,” says Pascual Prats.

“In a year like this, with such an abundant kaki production, it has become clear that Spanish exporters need to find as many additional markets as possible for this product,” says Juan Carlos Martínez, man-

ager of The Natural Hand, a Valencian company that forms part of the Spanish Kaki Association and is a pioneer in the export to overseas markets.

“Half of the world’s markets are still closed to kakis, a fruit that can travel far without problems. If there were more open markets, there would not be enough kakis to supply them.” Around 80% of the fruit sold by The Natural Hand is shipped overseas. The firm is present in markets such as Singapore, Hong Kong, Malaysia, Indonesia, Canada, Brazil, Saudi Arabia, Dubai, Kuwait and Jordan. At the moment, their negotiations are moving forward in India, Thailand, Japan, South Korea and China, hoping to be able to have an export protocol soon. India, Thailand, Japan, Vietnam and especially China are the main targets of kaki exporters, but there is also interest in South American countries such as Peru or Colombia, and also in Dubai, in the Middle East. “We have shipped test containers

to India with very positive results and we have received visits from Indian importers to take steps in the creation of an export protocol. We also asked the Ministry of Agriculture years ago to open the Chinese market, which has the greatest potential in Asia, given its purchasing power. Unfortunately, this process is taking a long time and we receive no financial support from public administrations for carrying out trade missions between importers, exporters and inspection technicians from both countries,” says Pascual Prats. “We would like to do things like Chile or Peru, opening markets in a quick and efficient way,” he said. Juan Carlos Martínez also agrees with Pascual Prats, highlighting the potential of Japan, which is not often talked about. “We believe that Asia has great potential for kakis, especially China, Japan and India. Japan – which has a free trade agreement with the EU which doesn’t apply to fruits – is the country with the highest number of registered kaki varieties, making them very

Pests, a growing concern Another concern of Spanish kaki producers is the incidence of pests, which is increasingly threatening. “We are worried about pests such as ‘cotonet’ or whitefly. The European Commission is increasingly limiting the use of phytosanitary products, while the EU negotiates its own trade agreements with Mercosur and other third countries with much lower standards in this area. We would like to compete on equal terms; otherwise, our agriculture is in serious danger,” said Pascual Prats.

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Kaki knowledgeable about this fruit, and it is also where the highest prices are paid. Our Rojo Brillante kaki has no presence in this market, but we know that the consumers there like it. The fruit would arrive when the domestic campaign came to an end, so there is a window that we could be taking advantage of,” says Juan Carlos Martínez. “Our political representatives should work harder to help exporters to open new markets, even though they say that this is something that depends solely on us,” he said. Francisco Sánchez, manager of Onubafruit, the second-grade Huelva cooperative which is the leader in the production and sale of berries, as well as the largest kaki producer in Huelva, with a production of 10,000 tons this season, is also expanding in Asia, where it has been growing for several years. “We want our kakis to reach China soon, given the great potential there is for this product there, although we would like the help of the Ministry of Agriculture to speed up the processes to open an export protocol. There are talks about the opening of other Asian markets, such as India, but the latter’s purchasing power and infrastructure cannot be compared to China’s.” HOW COULD SPAIN, THE LEADING EXPORTER, BETTER PROTECT THE PRICES? The Spanish Rojo Brillante kaki campaign lasts from mid-September to late February, and although some may think that the season could be extended with new varieties,

Juan Carlos Martínez says that “the Rojo Brillante is the only one that is guaranteed to have the right flavour, quality and firmness to be exported over long distances.” “I think that if the Spanish kaki sector joined forces, forming a sectorial board that brought together private companies and large cooperatives, as well as the Spanish Kaki Association and the Protected Designation of Origin Kaki de La Ribera del Xúquer, among others, we would be able to defend the product’s prices without problems,” says Juan Carlos Martínez. Spain is a leader in the production and export of kakis, a crop that is mainly grown in the province of Valencia. This should make it easier for producers to fight together for the setting of minimum prices. “If we don’t join forces soon and change our mentality, there is no future for this prod-

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uct. The fact is that, unless there are weather issues, we will have the same situation again next year. In France, they have managed to protect their producers from situations like this by setting minimum prices to ensure the profitability of the production, so why can’t we do the same here?” (JP)


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Avocado

Tracey Davies, CEO Halls:

“Currently the business is transitioning towards a majority Hass production” The Halls’ commercial team is geographically located across the UK and the European continent, Africa and now China. This team has had many knowledgeable years in the avocado market. Tracey Davies, CEO at Halls said the effect of continuous communication and a closely collaborative team allows the company to best prepare for what the future seasons, months and weeks hold in store in this dynamic industry.

ers to experience avocados and begin their love affair with them,” explains Tracey.

The volumes in 2019 have been approximately 25%/30% down on 2018 and prices have hit new record highs as the demand continues to grow and with it the challenge of sourcing good quality avocados yearround.

FUTURE DEMAND When looking at meeting future increased demand for avocados, Tracy said, “Sustainability for the agricultural industry at large should be at the top of our agendas. This goes hand in hand with water sustainability and the global warming of our planet, many small things add up to major changes and if we all play a part in the small changes we can make a positive impact on our planet’s sustainability.”

Leigh Green, Marketing Manager with Tracey Davies CEO

“T

he stark contrast in volumes and pricing from 2018 to 2019 highlighted the twenty-four-month cycle of the avocado industry. From a challenging year of excess in 2018, to a year of scarce supply of our green gold in 2019. The imported

volumes into Europe during the summer of 2018 (350,000t when we add Peru, South and East Africa together) really stretched the whole European market and prices did come under significant pressure, but it did allow the opportunity for far more consum-

To ensure they will have enough trees in order to meet future demand Halls have partnered with Du Roi in developing the DuRoi Halls clonal tree nursery for premium trees to enable them to supply their grower partners and their own farms with trees and so far have been on track with meeting their business plan for this venture. Avocado trees were produced and sold during the 2019 season with 2020 looking promising to meet growers requirements. South Africa is coming out of a drought situation and the world climate in general is becoming very unpredictable but Halls’ farms are situated in the summer rainfall

www.fruitlogistica.com 5 - 7 februari Hall 1.2 / stand C-10

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region of South Africa which puts them at an advantage of using rainfall for irrigation. “In order to deal with drought situations, we have put several measures in place such as; harvesting rainfall into our dams which are fully lined with an HDPE Geomembrane, we have installed our new plantings with a low float drip irrigation system using about 50 to 60 % less water than traditional irrigation systems. We also ensure that we continuously remove any alien vegetation plants which use about double the amount of water that indigenous plants would.” GREENSKIN/ HASS/ NEW VARIETIES The greenskin cultivars still make up a significant portion of many growers’ portfolios and Halls have endeavoured to be a strong greenskin marketer.

“Currently the business is transitioning towards a majority Hass production. We have new projects both at our own Halls farms and our grower partners, which will increase Hass production significantly over the next 5 years. “We also have several rootstock trials underway at our Avocentral farm where we perform new farming techniques and avocado research and development. OPENING NEW MARKETS “The SAAGA industry plays an important

role in meeting geographical challenges and opening markets for the South African industry and we work hand in hand with them to overcome these challenges. Halls Fresh Produce Head of Technical, Dr Tracey Cambell, has taken the lead with respect to threats associated to Ambrosia beetle (Polyphagous Shothole Borer) and set up active monitoring and sampling for this pest that could have a devastating impact on the industry and she is the Regional representative on the SAAGA board. “WAO plays an important role in growing consumer demand in Europe and we are an active member of WAO, we believe that meeting our consumers’ needs is central to the future growth of our industry.”

When it comes to partnerships, Tracey says a trusted relationship with people who are ethically aligned with the company’s values is critical for Halls. With their focus on avocados 365 days a year, Halls works with a well-established network of grower partners in Africa, America and Europe in order to ensure a seamless supply throughout the year.

“EVERY DROP OF WATER MATTERS” “With sustainability being so critical for the survival of our planet and longevity of the agricultural industry, our plan is for our brand to be fully aligned with the term “sus-

We know how to keep it cool! warehousing

tainability” through our initiatives. We have launched our “every drop of water matters” campaign through video infographics to talk about feasible and practical water sustainability initiatives. We are implementing the WWF water risk analysis tool in order to assess the short- and long-term water risks. “We have embarked in biodiversity projects from our insect populations to the foliage that supports them. Our living soils is a part of our farming practices that will gain much more momentum in 2020.”

Halls will also be adapting the use of drone flights which allows for assessment and monitoring of tree health status and upgrading their canal systems which will help in eliminating any current and future leaks and seepage on waterway systems.

“The reuse and recycle initiatives that have been taken up with great enthusiasm from our employees across our group will set a new standard within our business. We have launched our 100% biodegradable packaging in France and hope that the consumers will embrace this initiative.” (NMcG) leigh@halls.co.za

www.freshconnection.be

Hall 26 D-15

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To p f r u i t

Cameron Carter - Seeka Australia:

"We will see a steady increase in volumes over each season ahead as more production comes online" Seeka Australia are looking forward to a good kiwifruit season despite the very hot and dry conditions. "We are delighted with the kiwifruit fruit set in Australia. The early view of the crop is good. The weather however is very hot, and dry and there is a long way to go to get to harvest. So we are cautiously managing the fruit numbers and irrigation to give ourselves the best chance of a good harvest," explained Cameron Carter, Sales Manager at Seeka Australia.

T

he volume of kiwifruit exported from Australia depends on the season. If the crop is light then Seeka export less, if it is a bumper crop then they will export more – somewhere between 30 and 50 containers mainly to the European market. In addition to current production Seeka has 63 hectares in development that may be 3 to 5 years from production. At the moment it is only the green Hayward variety which is grown in Australia, but new varieties are in development.

A couple of years ago PSA was discovered on Seeka's Australian farm and is still present. "It is having little to no impact on the mature Hayward orchards, but is making the new developments more challenging. We have adapted our development processes to minimise the impact of PSA," said Cameron.

RICO® The Rico® pear was officially launched in 2018, after many years of trials. Seeka has been appointed by the master licensee APAL and the Rico® VMT team to market the variety. "The product is a PVR variety, with a small number of growers in the club, some with special capabilities – like post harvest or marketing – with the limited volumes it makes sense to combine the volumes to a size where we can embark on export programs," according to Cameron Rico® is a cross between Corella and Doyenné du Comice, bred in Tatura, Victoria by the Department of Economic Development, Jobs, Transport and Resources. "Branded and commercialised by APAL as ‘Rico®’, the pear has a fine texture with no grit, deep green colour and attractive blush, sweet juicy flavour and can be eaten firm or softened to appeal to a wide range of consum-

ers. It also is proving to yield well in the orchard compared to traditional red blush pears."

Seeka currently has around 16 hectares in development in its own orchards, and approximately 10 hectares within other growers in the Rico® club. "We will see a steady increase in volumes over each season ahead as more production come online. Next year we are forecasting a volume of 73,000 cartons of Rico® pears, this represents a 25% increase in marketable volume from the 2019 season. Asia will be the main target market." (NMcG)

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www.fritsfruit.nl Import – Export – Top fruit & Soft fruit

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Editing: Luisa Heim Hugo Huijbers Izak Heijboer Martine van der Wekken Cristiano Riciputi Melanie Groeneveld Edith Novoa Aurélie Pintat Thom Dobbelaar Joel Pitarch Elselien Treure Annika Durinck

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Primeur • English Edition • Fruit Logistica 2020  

Independent magazine for the fruit and vegetable trade | Since 1986

Primeur • English Edition • Fruit Logistica 2020  

Independent magazine for the fruit and vegetable trade | Since 1986