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"Niels Borgers: "We see our future as an independent service supplier"

United Fresh Services wants to take banana sector to a higher level

In July last year Niels Borgers started a new banana ripening company: United Fresh Services. Since January this year he has been running the company with his brother in law Tim Priem. The independent banana ripener is located in the Agrarisch Logistiek Handelscentrum in Ijsselmuiden, and has been operational since mid November. "We see possibilities to bring the banana sector to a higher level by way of a better real-time availability of chain information," says Niels.

Dedicated partner
His father's name, Hans Borgers, is irrevocably linked to bananas. Now that Niels has started his own ripening company, it seems the apple does not fall far from the tree. "I have every faith in the future. A conventional market like the fruit and vegetable sector could use some young entrepreneurs," says Niels. "United Fresh Services is purely a lending ripener. In the past banana ripeners mainly used margins with their own trade, but I believe this trading mentality is decreasing, and more work is done based on set prices. I see the future of our business as a 'dedicated partner' in the market. Retailers want a centralised approach and United Fresh Service can offer this." 

Niels is closely following the development that retailers such as Morrisons and Edeka ripen more themselves. "But the question is whether this will happen in Holland. The general preference here is that the ripener is a reasonable distance from the DC. The retail scene is also so competitive that I wonder whether people want a huge investment in a ripener. A retailer mainly focusses on the consumer. This focus determines the culture of an organisation. United Fresh Services is good at ripening and all aspects surrounding it. I think it would be more obvious to choose a 'dedicated' partner in this situation instead of doing everything in the chain yourself. United Fresh Services sees more in collaboration. The retailer can provide the purchasing themselves and outsources the other tasks to other parties. The unique support in importing, ripening, packaging, stock management and export completes the services. This means we provide the full picture for customers."

"The big advantage of this service is that we retain our independence. We talk to both buyers, suppliers and producers and are not tied to one retailer. Using this concept, a supermarket can easily do business with a country like Ecuador, after which we take the rest off their hands," says Niels. "We aren't as involved in the actual banana price, because we mostly work with service contracts. In this way the quality bananas find their way to the consumer, through supermarkets, markets, wholesalers, the food service sector and the processing industry."

According to Niels the young company distinguishes itself through its transparency. "United Fresh Services is a service provider and can show how much it will cost per service. If you need it to cost less, you can go somewhere else, who makes up for it with their trading profit, but we won't be a part of that. We are also in a central location, at which we have a good logistic service supply with Wezenburg Transport. It's all saved mileage. A large part of Germany is also very accessible from this location. We have also invested greatly in our automation, with a hyper modern ripening system. What is unique to this is that it isn't related to the cool technical installer, but to an independent software party, which means we hope to keep ahead with the latest innovations."

Niels also sees possibilities for ripening kiwis, mangos and avocados in the future. "I have a background in bananas, but the tests with installations have already proven that other exotics can also be ripened in it. But regardless of ripening developments, it is important to us that we continue to think with the customer. The only threat to us that I can think of is losing our independence, for instance if we are the owner of the product besides being a service provider. As an independent service provider United Fresh Services can serve everyone, whether they be retail, wholesale or food service!"

For more information:
Niels Borgers
Tim Priem
United Fresh Services B.V.
Spoorstraat 26
8271 RH, IJsselmuiden
Tel +31 38 337 27 10
Fax +31 38 337 27 19

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