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Wim Menu, Onion Today:

“Onion Today is more than just a trade platform”

During the Dutch Landelijke Uiendag (National Onion Day) in August, the app Onion Today was introduced. As a farmer and former representative of a seed company, Wim Menu is very familiar with the Dutch onion market. He was surprised there wasn’t a platform to connect growers, processors and other peers. The app Onion Today makes this possible. “The Onion Today app is an ideal mix of market exploration and agrarian social media. A unique approach to the market, which has never before been applied.”

About 183 companies, including many growers, have now registered. “In the past few months, 36 parties have signed up for the app. Onion growers can personally see which purchasing parties are active in the sector, and they experience more selling moments. Buyers can search for companies supplying onions in a more targeted manner to meet their demand. Suppliers can market their products in a targeted manner as well. This has led to many people making new contacts. That doesn’t always result in direct transactions, but it does expand knowledge and the circle of acquaintances. That’s also one of the goals of the app. So that you don’t just expand your network during open days or meetings, but so you can do so every day, and in any place.”

“Besides, Onion Today isn’t just a trade platform,” Wim emphasises. “If a buyer wants to purchase a batch, it’s important he can see and feel this on site. Personal contact remains important. Everyone active in the onion sector can register. Growers can use the app to indicate which onions they have and how much volume they have, and they can give any information they wish to give. For growers it’s a unique opportunity to present their company. They can also indicate what sort of certificates they have. Because of that, they can expect more trade. Processors can see which onions are available near them at a glance, gaining more time to select a good batch. When the user’s smartphone ‘location data’ is enabled, the batch nearest to them is at the top of the list of offers.”

“The app shows stock market news from Goes, Middenmeer and Emmeloord. Additionally, a summary of concluded transactions, collected by Holland Onion Association, can be seen every day. In recent weeks, onion prices have hardly changed, but there’s quite a difference between the highest and the lowest prices on the market,” Wim continues. “But the app doesn’t just simplify the buying and selling process. All registered accounts can also communicate with each other. Users can send a message to all connected accounts at once, in a radius of up to 400 kilometres from their company’s location. This way, growers can offer neighbours their surplus of plant onions, for example, or ask them questions concerning production. A good network is always convenient, and offers new chances on the market, no matter how bad the onion market is at the time.”

The smartphone user can see on the app’s map where he is. The app can also show the route to the company the user is interested in. It’s also possible to apply filters in the search, so that the user can specifically search for red seed onions. “New options that will soon be added in response to users’ reactions will include growers being able to indicate the period in which they wish to add their supply. That way, buyers also know when a grower wants to do business,” Wim explains.

Onion Today can be used free of charge for a month. After that, it costs 6 euro per month to use the basic version of the app. For 12 euro per month, the user can add, and look at, an unlimited supply of onions. When asked if expanding to, for example, Potato Today is an option, Wim answers: “With this platform there are definitely opportunities to expand to other product groups, or to expand internationally. But you can’t do everything at the same time, and for now we’re working hard on making Onion Today better-known. And to be honest, I’m quite proud of what we’ve achieved in just a few short months.”

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