ABB Trading invests in new machinery

Wet start to blueberry season

Last week's rain meant the blueberry season started later than usual. "You cannot pick berries when it rains. If they are wet, they soften quickly. That is also why people need not wash blueberries", explains Fred Douven, owner of ABB Trading. "They are very sensitive to water and washing them shortens their shelf life considerably."

Low supply
There are only small volumes available at the moment. "There is a low supply, even from Portugal. The soil is good, but it is too hot at the moment, so there is little picking. We started picking in the Netherlands last week, but had to do so between showers." The frost in April also affected the yields of the Duke, an early season variety. "I estimate that there was a 20 to 30% reduction in the harvesting of that variety in the south of the Netherlands. In addition, some of the berries are smaller than usual. The rest of our varieties, like Draper, Liberty and Aurora fortunately received little damage."


This young business deals in blueberries and asparagus year-round. These get sorted and packed in Horst. "Fred and I bought the company at the beginning of 2015 and it seemed much too big. Now we have plans for a new expansion because we are growing so much", says Harry Jansen, ABB Trading's financial director. "We find it very important to invest in our people. They are the most important component of our business. You get the best results by treating your people well. We ensure they can work here throughout the year. In this way they build experience and get to know the product well."

Harry says that ABB Trading invested in a new machinery at the beginning of this year. "We have two of the same new packaging and sorting lines from BBC Technologies. At first, we had one with a conveyer belt, now we have two with double fillers. The machine can sort the berries according to different attributes such as size and other qualities." He admits that there is a growth in top seal. "At the moment, there is less and less packaging with lids. Many want to reduce the use of plastic. A label is placed on the package with a track and trace code. Everything can be traced back to the farmer." Apart from these lines, ABB Trading also has a line from Marco, which mean the company can also pack for third parties. After packaging the products are put into one of the cooling rooms. "We have various cooling rooms. One is used for quick cooling and ensures that 25 tonnes of fruit can be cooled from 20 degrees to 2 degrees within four hours."

The main competition for Dutch blueberries are Poland and Germany. "Their season starts are roughly the same time. If you are on the market with more suppliers ans big volumes, it is difficult to get a good price. We ensure that we deliver the best quality. Speed is also essential", says Fred. "If you ensure short lead times in orders, you ensure happy clients." Not relying on a single client is also important. " As a business, it is good to spread out your risks. In addition, there might be a good price at market at any given moment."

For more information:
Fred Douven
ABB Trading B.V
T: +31 6 520 55 496
Fabrieksstraat 6
5961PK - Horst

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