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Euro 2024 starts today! What does the industry think about their country's chance to win?

Tonight, the first match of the football Euro 2024 tournament will finally kick off the tournament. Our editors from the various FreshPlaza teams have asked a couple of people in the industry if they're offering or have seen any special promotions in relation to the European tournament, as well as ask them for a prediction of how their football team will do this year!

Belgium: Mixed feelings in Belgian camp
There are mixed feelings about the Belgian team's chances for the upcoming European Football Championship in Germany. "The expectations surrounding the Belgian team are limited. Our golden years are behind us, I fear," says Glenn Sebregts of BelOrta. "But that didn't stop Greece from winning in 2004 either, so you never know."

However, the cooperative does expect that an extra tomato will be eaten through the European Championship and they play on this with a SnEKbox. "We do think that there will be a limited amount of additional demand, as watching European Championship matches together leads to parties at home and parties at home are not complete without the necessary snacks. We have responded to this with our SnEKbox, available since this week. This packaging refers to the European Championships and is available with various products. Candy tomatoes, mix snack vegetables (including mini peppers, mini cucumbers, etc.), mix berries, cherries,... ", Glenn explains. "We have also linked it to a competition. Consumers can win a limited edition foosball table by participating in our competition."

Yet there are also Belgian traders who are a lot more enthusiastic about the Belgian opportunities. For example, Hans Vanderhallen from Coöperatie Hoogstraten expects that Belgium will become European Champion. "We will also deliver the top scorer and player of the tournament with Romelu Lukaku and Kevin De Bruyne respectively," Hans laughs.

The cooperative has also responded to Euro 2024. "At product level, there are some promotions that we are setting up together with the customer in Germany (Penny, Rewe & Edeka). This mainly involves playing with packaging. Whether we can sell extra during this period will depend of the results of the countries we sell to, supplemented with the climate. It hasn't really been BBQ weather lately, so let's hope for it."

England: "Let's get through the group stage first!"
Is football coming home? One trader has hopes of good results, but takes it one match at a time: "We don't really get on the back of it here in England, said Stephen Hedderly from Bedfordshire Growers. "But, if the weather is good, we make sure we have enough produce for BBQs as people tend to get together to watch the matches. Will England win? I would like to think so, we've been saying we're bringing it home for a while. They have a good chance, but let's get through the group stages first!"

The Netherlands: A victory for the Netherlands would be great!
Ralph van der Caaij, commercial manager of Terra Natura International (TNI) is a big football fan and he can't wait for the orange squad to show what they can do: "I'll definitely watch all the Dutch national team matches! I also try to follow as many interesting competitions from other countries as possible. From the semi-final onwards, I'm always fully involved and it gets really exciting! We also have one large football pool within Harvest House, Terra Natura International and all other BVs that all colleagues can participate in."

Despite the Netherlands not having a squad full of star players, van der Caaij still thinks the team could go far in the tournament. "We may not have the best football players at the moment, but a team really seems to be emerging. And you often see those teams go far in the European Championship. That's why I'm positive and I believe we can reach at least the semi-finals! In the end, we just go for the win! We all need to have that attitude. The entire country should radiate that. A victory for the Netherlands would be great!"

How did TNI play into the Euro 2024? With special packaging and displays for their snack tomatoes! "For Germany, our marketing team has developed special EC packaging and complete displays for snack tomatoes. Retailers always like it when they have something from the European Championships in the fresh produce department. Especially now that the European Championships are in Germany, they are very enthusiastic about the packaging. And of course, our orange snack peppers are always ready for the European Football Championship. Delicious as a snack during matches."

Poland: "Our chance to move to semi-finals are melting like ice in the middle of summer"
As part of Euro 2024, Polish exporter Genesis Fresh, based in Warsaw, is prepared for the football tournament again, Jan Nowakowski explains: "For this time, we've started our peppers' season two weeks earlier, so we are ready with our colorful veggies: red, yellow, green, orange and white. With many occasions, companies offer sweet snacks, like strawberries for the tennis Wimbledon championship. This is all fine, but we will try to go even further and encourage football fans to eat Polish peppers, especially the red and white colors, to support our Polish football team during the Euro 2024. With injuries of Lewandowski and Swiderski our chance to move to semi-finals are melting like ice in the middle of summer, but with fast recovery thanks to our crunchy and healthy peppers, we still have hope!"

Spain: "We trust in the Spanish team"
The Calanda DO Peac has had a powerful ambassador in Spanish football, coach Vicente del Bosque, who led Spain to be proclaimed world champion in the 2010 World Cup in South Africa after beating the Netherlands 1-0, and just two years later, in 2012, he once again elevated the Spanish team as champions in the Euro Cup by beating Italy 4-0. This year the competition will be played in Germany, which is the most important export destination for Spanish peaches, including the Calanda DO Peach.

It must be remembered that peaches are fruits rich in calcium, magnesium and potassium, as well as vitamins, and they have an interesting contribution of iron, making them a highly recommended food for athletes. "And even more so our Calanda Peaches, which, like our Spanish Selection, are the best in the world if you ask us," explains the president of the Peach DO. of Calanda, Samuel Sancho. "We trust our team, which faces Croatia this Saturday, and we hope they reach, at least, until the final."

Italy: "Italy will go far in the European Championship"
Everything is ready for the European Football Championship and preparations are in full swing in Italy's beach resorts. Gabriele Pagliarani, owner of the 'Tiki 26 Bagnino d'Italia' beach resort in Rimini, is focusing on quality fruit and has a close relationship with the Bernardi Ortofrutta company. "We have installed several televisions," he says, "so that the fans can watch the games on the beach."

Rimini beach: Pagliarani kicks a penalty with a smooth melon. But Bernardi blocks the shot.

"During this period we have started to harvest melons and watermelons, grown 300 metres from the beach in a perfect environment to obtain a high Brix level," explains Christopher Bernardi, owner of Bernardi Ortofrutta. "Our customers are retail chains, but we can also work with beach resorts, such as Tiki 26, that want to offer their customers quality fruit."

Tourists who are starting to flock to beaches all over Italy are getting ready to watch football matches while enjoying fruit cocktails and fruit salads, and this will be the case at the Tiki 26 beach resort. "In my opinion, Italy will go far in the European Championship," Pagliarani predicts, "but for the sake of superstition I won't say how far." And Bernardi is optimistic: "I think we will win. In any case, we will be cheering for both our national football team and our quality fruit and vegetables."

From left to right: Christopher Bernardi, Stefano Bernardi, Gabriele Pagliarani, Nadia Zonzini, Agnese Pagliarani

Turkey: "Maybe we'll reach the semi-finals, just like we did in Euro 2008"
Alanar's Yigit Gokyigit is a Beşiktaş fan and is looking forward to the EuroCup, with good hopes for good results: "I think Turkey has great young talents, which makes us hopeful, especially for future tournaments. An 18-year-old wonder kid striker of Beşiktaş, Semih Kılıçsoy, is a brilliant finisher with his powerful and accurate shots, uses his both feet well and has quick dribbling skills with his power. Playmaker of Turkish Nation Team, Arda Güler, another player with huge potential for the future, had a good season with Real Madrid. I expect those young stars of Turkey to lead team to qualify from the group stage, who knows, maybe we'll reach the semi-finals just like we did in Euro 2008. Turkish team has wonderful midfielders and goalkeepers as well. We will play a challenging game against Portugal, which is a natural candidate to win the tournament, but I think either Germany, the host team, or France are more likely to lift the trophy."

When it comes to demand for fruit, Germany has been a strong outlier and Gokyigit definitely thinks the EuroCup has increased this demand: "As Alanar Fruit, we have a huge demand from Germany this year for our fruits, both cherries and apricot. I believe this unique demand is mainly related to Euro 2024, which is going to be organized in Germany. Turkish people living in Germany are big consumers of Turkish cherries. I think they will be staying in Germany this Summer, rather than visiting Turkey. Of course, there will be visitors to Germany all around Europe this Summer. For all these reasons, we are working hard here in Turkey to fulfil the demand coming from Germany."

Germany: "We can go all the way"
Being the host country, as part of Euro 2024, the southern German soft fruit specialist Widmann Ltd. has launched a berry mix in a three-compartment tray. "Until a few years ago, we regularly launched a 3 berry mix. Recently, this product has been somewhat forgotten. We wanted to revitalise this item with our football mix for the start of summer - this time in a new combination of black, red and gold with our blackberries, raspberries and peeled physalis. The item has been very well received by customers. We are currently packing up to 50,000 trays of these every day,' authorised signatory Andreas Kreuzmair reports. Due to the high demand, supply bottlenecks could occur, the company emphasizes.

The berry specialist is cautiously optimistic about the performance of the national team. "I think we'll get through the preliminary round this time. With a bit of euphoria and momentum, we can go all the way to the semi-finals in our own country."

Speaking to the operators that are located in the south of France, they don't really feel concerned by the European cup. They also didn't have much to say about the topic. As such, no marketing operations from these companies have been implemented. There are two explanations for this; Operators are much more focused on the Olympic Games, which are taking place in France this year. This means that the European Football Cup goes a little unnoticed compared to the Olympics, which are more the object of marketing operations. In the South of France, rugby is dominant sport, not football.

That being said, marketing material has been spotted from an exporter in Germany. Using the French colors to appeal more to the French consumers. A picture can be found below.

Scotland: "We live in eternal hope"
There are no promotions as such in the supermarkets for fresh produce in relation to the football EuroCup, one grower emphasizes: "In Scotland, fresh produce is not really associated with watching football. Will Scotland win? We live in eternal hope."

Have fun with the Euro 2024 tournament, and good luck to everyone!