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Belgium: Colruyt tests new collaboration directly with potato producers
Colruyt is the first distributor in Belgium to initiate a cooperation with potato producers. Nine producers, working directly with Colruyt, have just planted 5,000 tons of potato plants. Colruyt says that through the project, they want to “offer their clients potatoes that are of an even more stable quality, aim for a fairer price for producers and reduce imports of potatoes into Belgium.”
The 50 hectares of early potatoes were planted in March and April by 4 producers in sandy or silty soil in West Flanders. Meanwhile, late potatoes have just been planted over 70 hectares of silty and loamy soil in Wallonia. The fields will be closely observed by specialists.
The potatoes will be commercialised as of September this year under two own-brand references (Everyday and Boni Selection Frites) in 5kg sachets in 78 Colruyt Meilleurs Prix (Best Prices) stores across Belgium.
The Colruyt Group is the first to initiate such a collaboration with potato producers in Belgium, who normally don’t get very much contact with supermarket chains. The selection of potato varieties best adapted to the Belgian soil and climate was made by Colruyt, the producers and a potato plant supplier. Rony Neufkens, Head Vegetable Buyer at the Colruyt Group, says that “We were pleasantly surprised by the enthusiasm with which the producers launched into this pilot project with us.” He says that they aim to prolong the local potato season and reduce the amount of potato imports.
The project will be evaluated in the spring of 2018, once the season is over. Every factor will be analysed, from the partnerships with producers to client opinions on taste and quality. If the pilot project is deemed a success, they will expand with more producers and varieties of fresh potatoes. The potatoes would also be included in the Colruyt Groups other food companies.
Publication date: 5/18/2017
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