"Children are more easily persuaded with soft fruit"

REO Veiling grows in strawberries and other softfruit

The REO Veiling is mainly known as the auction for open field vegetables, but in recent years this has clearly changed. Strawberries in particular have become more popular in the last decade. This product is supplied quasi year-round, and is now in the auction's top five in terms of revenue. "Growers who have traditionally been growing strawberries, have specialized even further and expanded as well, but several greenhouse lettuce and fruit vegetable growers also switched to strawberry cultivation, and we're seeing an increase in other soft fruit as well, such as raspberries," says Dominiek Keersebilck, commercial director of the REO Veiling.

"Compared to last year, a 13% increase in volume is observed," Dominiek continues. "At the moment, we're at 2.8 million kilos of supplies so far this season. When it comes to buyers, about 50% is destined for the domestic market, and 50% for abroad. At certain times, the export share is even 60%. We are pleased to see the share grow, so we can really play a significant role in supply to Belgian retailers."



Three brands
"We're in a unique position with three brands. Tomabel growers supply over half of the strawberries to the auction. Over the past twenty years, they've become a permanent fixture. Strawberries are also sold under the Flandria label. And since this year, we've also had strawberries under Fine Fleur. These are specifically the authentic field strawberries, which are available for a limited period of time."

Not just in strawberries, but also in other soft fruit varieties, REO Veiling is gradually developing. "We're still small in raspberries and other berries, but there is increasing interest from growers to produce soft fruit. We can only applaud that. Soft fruit is truly a rewarding product group, with which children are also more easily persuaded than with other fruit or vegetables."

Potential
Higher supply in soft fruit, he says, doesn't have to cause negative pricing. "Especially when you look at the latest GfK figures. Some fruit varieties are struggling, but a clear increase is noticeable in strawberries. In Belgium, we eat 1.7 kilos a year on average. Five years ago, that was 1.5 kilos. And more families are buying strawberries as well. Last year, the penetration was 74%, while five years ago it was less than 70%. With raspberries, the penetration was 23% last year, so that means there's still a potential for 77%. Perhaps the higher prices in stores cause people to hesitate when buying raspberries, going for other products instead. But it's definitely still evolving."

For more information:
REO Veiling
Oostnieuwkerksesteenweg 101
8800 Roeselare - Belgium
+32 51 23 12 11
www.reo.be
info@reo.be

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