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Pieter de Jong, KakiFresh Nature:
"Kakis are a real turnover maker for retailers"
HillFresh International has been focusing on supplying fruit and vegetables towards the international retail for year, but is now focusing on their own cultivation with subsidiary KakiFresh. "We see so much potential in kakis that we want to be able to control the entire chain," says director Pieter de Jong during the Asia Fruit Logistica. "Our goal is to always be ahead in developments concerning this type of fruit. Whether it is in the area of varieties, harvest methods, cultivation areas or innovation in the area of packaging or promotions."
"Within Spain we have own cultivation in both Huelva and Valencia, with which we spread out the climate risks. In total, around 90% of the kaki cultivation takes place in Valencia, but Huelva is the main cultivation area for us. "We start the harvest in Valencia at the end of September but we want to have that region harvested by the end of November, due to the increase risk of hail and frost. We then switch to the production in Huelva, where we harvest fresh kaki fruit until January. We have developed our own cultivation (methods) with low trees and place the harvest directly in the crate, instead of directly into the barrel. As of the coming year we will also have organic kakis in our assortment."
Pieter de Jong during the Asia Fruit Logistica
European market towards limits
"Kakis have fairly grown in Europe in recent years. A production of around 400,000 tonnes is expected for the 2017/2018 season in Spain and as a result of the new plantations the production in the season 2020/2021 is expected to reach towards 650,000 tonnes. The result is that Europe will reach its limits as far as consumption is concerned. The participation in Asia Fruit Logistica therefore emphasises our global ambitions," says Pieter. "There is also still a lot to be done to raise that consumption. This is why we offer our customers countless sales supporting promotion. We even developed our own-brand kaki cutter, which easily cuts kakis into parts."
"Retailers like to work with kakis, as they really are a turnover maker. It comes on to the market when there isn't too much supply of competing summer fruit, are versatile and easy to consume. The product also lends itself to everything: in salads, on sandwiches, grilled and as a jam. In the Baltic states the consumption of kakis is now the highest, but before the boycott, Russia was worth 20% of the volume. You can also see that the United Kingdom has gone through their biggest growth spurt, whilst Germany is still in the middle of it. The Dutch market for kakis is also increasing," says Pieter.
According to the expert, the Asian market also offers a lot of perspective. "The kaki is originally from this region. The consumption in Asia is even at a level around 1.7 kg per capita, compared to 350 grams in Europe. However, those in Asia are used to the smaller sharon varieties and still have to discover the Rojo Brillante variety. But customers in the Middle and Far East love them. Unfortunately there is no protocol with China yet, that would further lighten the pressure on the European market, but there is hard work being undertaken in this area in Spain. The responses during the Asia Fruit Logistica were certainly promising," concludes Pieter.
For more information:
Pieter de Jong
Publication date: 9/13/2017
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