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Bart Bruyninckx looks towards winter with mixed feelings:

"Mini chicory also noticing difficult market situation"

There has been a difficult market situation in the chicory sector throughout the season. Yet there are still businesses who continue to define themselves. Such as grower Bart Bruyninckx who is known in Belgium for the mini chicory, the chiconnettes. Around 2000 the chicory companies were going through a difficult time. Bart's father, Frans Bruyninckx, played into this by developing something new and exclusive: the chiconnettes. Bart says: "Despite the difficulties in the sector, keeps the mini chicory running well. The product is still selling itself."

He indicates that the calm market situation in chicory is certainly noticeable in his company. "You can see that the chicory sector has been struggling all season. I myself can't really complain. In regards to turnover, it is lower than last year, but that was a really good year for us. Perhaps this clouds my judgement a little. On the other hand we can see the influence of the general trend in food, which is stiffer than usual."

Bart explains that there is a large price difference between 'regular' and mini chicory. "If you compare it per kilogram, we're around two Euro more expensive than our colleagues." When asked whether there has been a lot more competition in recent years, Bruyninchx replies that this is true in certain periods. "There are some, especially during the holidays, who want to join in for a while. But they have to be able to sell it and find a supermarket who will sell it on. For the last four years or so there has been another colleague in Belgium doing the same as us, but other than that there are few year round suppliers. If you want to make volume, you really have to go for a long term agreement with a supermarket."

No interest in Holland
Bruyninckx has tried to sell the product in Holland. "But our northern neighbours are different. They prefer 'normal' sized chicory." The main sales markets are retail and catering. "The share of cooked product has increased in recent years," Bart indicates. "But only really in catering. Supermarkets prefer an uncooked product and like a full meal. Now and then we receive phone calls from companies who make meals, but it isn't usually long term."

The trader looks towards the winter with mixed feelings. "I expect there will be enough carrots, and of decent quality. I'm a little afraid of it. We feel it too when the sector isn't doing very well. On the other hand: one man's trash is another man's treasure, so we sometimes need failures to succeed." 

For more information:
Bart Bruyninckx
Bruyninckx bvba
Schuttersveldstraat 7
3272 Messelbroek - Belgium
T: +32 0032 475 / 842 759
F: +32 016 / 64 07 97

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