Since 2015 ZON has offered a package of Spanish vegetables at auction alongside the Dutch product in the winter period. The expansion with a Spanish package was motivated by a questionnaire among auction customers about how the auction sales could be set up better. One of the conclusions from this research was that a share of the buyers needed to be able to buy some products outside of the Dutch season in the calmer winter season.
"We collaborate with various Spanish cooperatives, that take care of a continued supply for the clock every day. Large customers mostly have their own import channels, but we foresee a need with Spanish product for the smaller German and Dutch auction buyers," says manager of auction sales Els van Herpen. To safeguard the quality of the Spanish vegetables 'Head of Quality' Piet Crienen is present in Spain during the winter season from November to March to check the product.
This season the volume from Spain is 15% higher in the first part of the season compared to last year. "What's new is that we have also started iceberg lettuce and we also entered a collaboration with a new cooperation for the supply of broccoli and cauliflower," says Els. "It's a very different season to last year when there were huge shortages with huge peaks in the price due to the extreme weather. This year the market hasn't had outliers like this so far, and the quality is thankfully good."
ZON tries to limit overlap with Dutch produce as much as possible. "Dutch tomatoes under light and Spanish tomatoes are both being sold at auction, but other than this we try to limit the period of overlap to one or two weeks at most. If there is need we would be open to further expanding the Spanish package. We discuss with our auction customers annually to inventory the needs. We aren't going to auction a product for which there is no demand, and we are taking their desires to the next season."
Outside of some Moroccan green beans and cherry tomatoes from Dutch growers the Spanish package is the only import product auctioned at ZON. Els would like to keep options to expand with fruit and vegetable products from countries of origin open. "But an important condition is that we can sell product continually and regularly. We like to see whether it suits our customers."
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