Those entering the Jumbo Koornneef supermarket in Oud-Beijerland, the Netherlands, can’t miss the SanLucar shelves of fruit. The supermarket is one of the first shops that is ‘reaping the fruits’ of SanLucar’s start in the Netherlands. “We’re now providing a number of shops with daily fresh products, promotional material and shop guidance. We’re still doing all of this ourselves now, but as soon as we start with our partner for logistical services, we’ll be ready to start implementing this further on Dutch and Belgian shop floors,” says Daan van der Giessen.
SanLucar was founded as sales organisation by three Spanish growers and one Italian grower in 1993, and the organisation now has 2,500 employees. “With the shops, we focus on a noticeable presentation of fruit that is distinctive regarding flavour and quality. The shelf presentation should tempt buyers, quality and flavour of the fruit should bind customers to ensure repeat purchases,” Daan says.
Jordy Fakkel of Jumbo Koornneef, centre, Daan van der Giessen and Mohammed Iqachoura of SanLucar
“That’s why we’re really looking for an assortment that supplements the other shelves, and that’s also how we prevent having the same products. We make a difference particularly at the start and end of the season. For example, we had Tango/Nadorcott tangerine early in January, more than three weeks before the boom started. Within Europe, we’re one of the largest players in the field of Nadorcott and Orri tangerines. SanLucar is even the largest Orri grower in the Southern Hemisphere. Supplemented by Clemenules we can make a true difference due to our strict quality selection,” Daan says.
“The Dutch supermarket entrepreneurs we work with are very enthusiastic. They may often purchase part of their formula from other, ‘strange,’ growers up to a certain percentage of the turnover. The active entrepreneurs can be seen to look for limits in order to make a difference with local or other high-quality products,” the sales manager says. Besides the concept via Dutch supermarkets, SanLucar has four exclusive agriculturalists in their wholesaler’s channel with Vroegop and Fresh2You in the Netherlands and Superfruit and Sebrechts in Belgium.
The number of brands within the fresh produce department is limited. Yet Daan sees major opportunities for implementing the SanLucar concept in more supermarkets. “In the fresh produce category brands might not be common, but supermarkets are actually filled with them. But in fresh produce as most important category for supermarkets focus has become very price-driven. We believe things can be done differently. For instance, SanLucar’s total concept has already proven successful in Germany and Austria. When you have private label, you’re considered more a generalist, while you’re considered more as a specialist when you have a brand. We’ve noticed that in direct feedback given in the shops.”
Although SanLucar offers as many as 90 products from 30 countries, focus is mostly on citrus, grapes, soft fruit and exotics in the Netherlands, and stone fruit is added in summer. “We naturally would love to set up an entire department, but we’re now focusing on products with which we actually add something to the assortment regarding quality and flavour. We don’t want to replace any existing products, we want to make a difference. We don’t just want to be unique with our products, we also want to be unique with the service we provide, including shop guidance, tastings, POS material and special packaging,” Daan says. According to the sales manager, the consumer is prepared to pay a little more for that. “There’s naturally a limit to that, but a price that is 10-20 per cent higher is possible.”
“The few Dutch shops we now supply are provided with fresh produce using our own conditioned transport from SanLucar’s DC every day. Just because of word-of-mouth advertising from supermarket entrepreneurs we’re already getting more requests than we could’ve guessed. It went quicker than we expected, but it just proves something can really be built on when you have a brand. We’ve also seen it boosting the entire fresh produce department. In the end, the success can either be made or broken mostly by the fresh produce employees who are enthusiastic ambassadors of your brand. We’re now focusing on having a partner take over logistics, and then we can also continue growing in the number of shops we supply.”