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Photo Report Fruit Logistica 2017

Last week, Berlin was the centre of the international fresh produce sector for three days. Armed with camera, pen and notepad, the editors of AGF.nl and FreshPlaza combed the halls. All halls were visited systematically, all exhibitors had their photo taken, and all novelties were recorded. The three trade-fair days can be summarised by three trends: health, convenience and sustainability.

Those arriving in Berlin on Tuesday were lucky, as well as perhaps having a free hour or two to visit the historic city, the strikes at airports did not affect anyone. On Wednesday morning in particular the strikes by the airport staff were noticeable, especially in the relatively empty aisles. British companies were hit hardest. Staff were late and products did not arrive at the stands in time for the opening. Despite all this, the British were well-represented.



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That calm image changed in the afternoon, when the aisles were crowded with people. Fruit Logistica let us know that they notice a 5% increase in number of visitors and more than 3,100 exhibitors. On Thursday the halls were even more crowded. Due to the gathering crowds, you could hardly move in halls. Friday is traditionally a quieter day, and this year was no exception. Relatively empty stands and deserted aisles. Time to take stock of three long days.

The vegetable shortages on the European market caused by the cold in Southern Europe rumbled on during the fair, even though the situation has stabilised quite a bit by now. However, the iceberg lettuce prices of 20 euro per box and the unavailability of courgettes caused an extreme situation. Furthermore, importers indicated that many Spanish growers who normally supply cooperatives, are now marketing their products through their nephews or neighbours who are members of auctions, because of the high auction prices. 

Sweet potatoes and snow
The North American companies were grouped in Hall 23. A small number of traders could not make the trip to Berlin from the northern states of the US. Seattle Airport was covered in snow, which prevented aeroplanes from taking off. The Southern United States Trade Association (SUSTA) was not bothered by the snow. The association had its own pavilion this year, which had an abundance of sweet potatoes from North Carolina. And for the first time ever, the Canadian companies also gathered in one pavilion. Twenty companies from British Columbia, Quebec and Prince Edward Island presented their products. They focused on blueberries, cherries, cranberries, broccoli and potatoes.


Mixes and shots
In Hall 3.2, the majority of the Dutch companies were drawn up in battle array. The Dutch sector devotes itself to three trends. The first noticeable one is increasing the number of eating moments of fruit and vegetables. They no longer just focus on fruit with your breakfast muesli, but they now also focus on a mix of fruit to be eaten at dinner with meat or fish. Having a drink is now longer accompanied by fried snacks, if the sector has anything to say about it, but with a nice bowl of snack fruit and vegetables. And for those opening a packet of crisps, they can use healthy humus as a dip. 

The sugar and caffeine boost from a can of Red Bull is altogether wrong after playing sports. The juice industry offers a healthier alternative with so-called shots. The small bottles practically burst with vitamins, fibres and other healthy characteristics. Italian companies who want to hop onto that health train offer vegan and gluten-free products.

Click here for the photo report of Netherlands & Belgium
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Click here for the photo report of horticultural companies

Convenience and B2C
Convenience serves people. For many companies, this translated into composing vegetables packs for soup. Italian companies take it one step further. Practically every company processes fruit and vegetables into a product to keep down costs and increase opportunities for sales. The number of Italian companies that decided not to travel to the German capital was compensated by new entries. However, these new companies were grouped together in regional stands.

Informing consumers is also becoming more important. The exotics companies go all out in order to tell their consumers how to use their products. Mixed packagings play their part in that, but recipes and tools to cut the exotics as well. Informing consumers can be seen in other parts of the sector, too. While everyone is familiar with the cooking information for potatoes (waxy or floury), this is now also being done for tomatoes. Just imagine tomato specials for a summery barbecue, oven dishes or salads.

Even agriculturalists choose direct communication towards the consumers. They purposely aim at consumers through social media and other internet channels. Concepts are key in this. The Berlin fair has experienced a significant growth as regards horticulture in recent years. When the first larger cultivators became aware of the market and started travelling to Berlin, suppliers soon followed. By now, greenhouse builders, trade companies and technical suppliers are a permanent fixture in the convention halls.

The Dutch onion sector now seems to be embracing optical sorting after all. Before the fair, it had already been announced that an exporter would start using an optical sorting machine, during the fair another announcement followed.

Selling a greenhouse at the fair? Not preferred
This year, the organisation devoted more space to horticulture, and on the first floor various tech halls could be found: 6.1, 7.1 and 8.1. There was not quite a run on it yet, in part because horticultural suppliers continue to prefer the Dutch Hall with its full-service concept. Despite that, more and more cultivators who come to fair specifically for the technologies, know how to find these halls.

It is not a fair to present an unlimited number of novelties for horticulture, but it is a fair where business is done. Not that this was needed this year, as suppliers, and greenhouse builders in particular, are already extremely busy. Schedules are completely booked till after the summer at the earliest, but in most cases, they are fully booked for the remainder of the year. “When someone rings us, we first ask them whether they are already our customer. If they are, we listen to what they want. If they are not yet a customer, we actually do not even go to that trouble,” a greenhouse builder explains. “We are too fully booked.”

Click here for the photo report of Netherlands & Belgium
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Click here for the photo report of Latin America
Click here for the photo report of Germany
Click here for the photo report of China
Click here for the photo report of all other countries
Click here for the photo report of horticultural companies

Organic, regional, sustainable
Organic and sustainable are important to Italian companies. On the German market, regional products are becoming more important. When possible, traders are dedicating themselves to this trend. Just like Germany, Peru is dedicated to regionally cultivated strains, and hopes to profit from government support.

There is also more room for organic products. French companies are joining the organic trend. Within the organic sector, many products are being rebranded as super food. Presented in an eccentric packaging, the proactive health aspects of products such as turmeric and ginger is emphasised. Organic is conquering a permanent place in the assortment of many traders, and with the large number of cultivators switching, a large increase in supply is expected in about two or three years.

As regards packaging, these have to be as customisable as possible. Besides, packaging has to look natural, retain the freshness of the products, and if possible, it has to be recyclable. The positive Belgian exhibitors also displayed the most novelties in packaging and varieties. Two large auctions presented their novelties in a separate space, or Innovation Wall.

Click here for the photo report of Netherlands & Belgium
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Click here for the photo report of all other countries
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New hall not successful?
Two years ago, the Russian boycott decided the mood among Belgian traders, but by now, the majority of the sector appears to have processed this loss. Some individuals wistfully look back to the years in which Russia was a large buyer, but the largest part of the sector has turned towards new horizons. New sales markets in, among other countries, India, China and Brazil make them hopeful.

Whether the South Africans will look back on the fair positively or not, will have to be seen. The South African pavilion used to be in a well-visited hall, but this year the stand was in Hall 11.1. A new hall, but it was relatively inaccessible: tucked away below Hall 11.2 and at the back of three halls. The South Africans went to a lot of trouble with their new stand, and other companies in the hall had hoped for many visitors due to the presence of the South African companies, but they were disappointed.

Looking for new markets
From the Far East, more than 80 Chinese companies presented their goods. The international ambition of the companies is sky high. For example, one of the largest machine builders presented an entire machine line at the stand. Within China this company has built plenty of these machines, but they are now focusing on Europe, South Africa and South America.

Mostly exporters were present at trade level. Ginger, garlic, pomelo, apple and pear were the most important products presented here. Some have already crossed the border and have a network, others are relative newcomers. Except for some companies, they all have small stands. Just like the Chinese, the Israeli companies are also looking for new sales markets. The companies are trying to tap into markets in North America, the Middle East and the Far East. The country also presented many technological solutions.

Click here for the photo report of Netherlands & Belgium
Click here for the photo report of Spain
Click here for the photo report of Latin America
Click here for the photo report of Germany
Click here for the photo report of China
Click here for the photo report of all other countries
Click here for the photo report of horticultural companies

Publication date: 2/16/2017


 


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