An overview of what VLAM noticed during the Fruit Attraction and PMA

“Chicory is becoming increasingly popular in the US”

Late October everyone was working hard to promote our potatoes, fruit and vegetables. VLAM was part of the Fruit Attraction in Madrid from 18 to 20 October, and we were also present with our fruit and vegetable sector at the Fresh Summit PMA in New Orleans from 20 to 21 October. It was therefore quite challenging for both visitors and exhibitors to divide their time between the two partially overlapping fairs, according to VLAM.

VLAM’s stand at the Fruit Attraction in Madrid.

Fruit Attraction next Fruit Logistica?
Fruit Attraction Madrid is a growing fair for the fresh produce sector. This ninth edition also proved that it has become a permanent fixture, with visitor numbers of 68,000 professionals. VLAM was present with three potato companies and eight fruit and vegetable exporters.

VLAM booth growing along with the fair
This year, the Fruit Attraction reported 1,500 exhibitors from 34 countries, an increase of 20 per cent compared to last year. The number of visitors also increased by 17 per cent, good for as many as 68,161 professionals from 110 countries. The fair has clearly put itself on the map as one of the most important events in the fruit and vegetable sector. It’s therefore not surprising it’s compared to the Fruit Logistica more and more. 

For some years, Fruit Attraction has been on the agenda of both the potato sector and the fruit and vegetable sector for VLAM. The growth of the fair also reflected itself in a larger VLAM stand: two new export companies signed up, so that VLAM was given 27 m2 of additional space.

This year, the VLAM stand had a more spacious product presentation, and exporters could meet their customers in their own space at the booth. The cheerful lounge gave sector representatives the opportunity to meet their colleagues. 

For the potato sector, Pomuni, Binst Breeding & Selection and Bart’s Potato Company participated. From the fruit and vegetable sector, Boussier, Calsa, DBS Agro, Demargro, Devos Group, Vanco, Vergro and Vervaeke were present. 

Export to Spain
In the last two years, the Belgian export of fresh fruit to Spain has experienced a rising trend. In 2016, the exported volume amounted to about 77,000 tonnes. During the first seven months of 2017, VLAM exported 45,000 tonnes.The increased export of pears in particular is noticeable, although export volumes of apples have also increased.

The export of vegetables also has a positive tendency, 2016 might have been less considerable than 2015, but in the first seven months, increasing export volumes were reported again. Leek, tomatoes and butterhead lettuce are the most important export products that were shipped to Spain in 2016. The greatly increased export of mushrooms is continuing in 2017. Volumes of chicory remain stable. According to Spanish figures, Belgium is the ninth supplier of fresh fruit, after more southern countries such as France, Costa Rica, Italy and Portugal. For vegetables, Belgium is the sixth supplier after Morocco, France, Portugal, the Netherlands and Peru.

The Belgian export of potatoes reported a record year in 2016, with an export volume of nearly 140,000 tonnes. The export of potato preparations has the largest share in this with 90 per cent, and has seen a considerable increase over the years. The success of potato preparations on the Spanish market is still continuing, the first seven months of 2017 had higher volumes than the same period in 2016. The export of consumption potatoes, on the other hand, has decreased over the years, and amounted to 12,500 tonnes last year. The next edition of the Fruit Attraction is planned for 24-26 October 2018.

The Belgians were also present during the PMA in New Orleans.

Americans enjoy Belgian chicory
New Orleans was once again the backdrop for the annual Fresh Summit PMA trade fair in the United States on 20 and 21 October. The fair welcomed nearly 20,000 professional visitors. VLAM was present with export company Orca and the BelOrta auction, and they treated visitors to surprising vegetable snacks.

Premium quality, perfect taste
The PMA fair didn’t have many European exhibitors this year. VLAM was only joined by the Netherlands and Italy from Europe. The VLAM stand was completely dressed up by the campaign ‘Premium quality, perfect taste - Straight from the heart of Europe, co-financed by Europe. The trend for ecological products was noticeable at the fair, with additional attention paid to organic products and sustainable packaging, among other things.

Chicory is much beloved by Americans, and the product was given a lot of attention in the product exhibition at the VLAM stand: besides traditional chicory, miniature chicory and radicchio were also present, and various types of packaging were presented. Celeriac and newcomer friseline were also draws at the VLAM stand. Additionally, leeks, sprouts and a broad range of bell peppers were in the spotlight.

Chicory export to US
The export of fresh vegetables to the US is fairly stable. Chicory in particular is popular, it was good for 71.2 per cent of total Belgian vegetable export to the US last year. Celeriac, onions, scorzonera and leek also do well in the US. Belgium doesn’t export fresh fruit to the US. Mexico is the most important supplier on the American market, both for fresh vegetables and fresh fruit. The next edition of the Fresh Summit PMA will take place in Orlando on 19 and 20 October 2018.

Source: VLAM

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