E. van den Berg has supplied fruit and vegetables to the Swiss market since 1972. This year, a new milestone will be reached when a new building at the Prisma Industrial Estate in Bleiswijk, the Netherlands, is taken into use. In cooperation with sister companies Hoogsteder, Blue Sky Cargo, Greenery Southern Europe and Greenery Overseas, a distribution centre of 8,000 square metres and 1,250 square metres of office space will taken into use.
The first pile was placed in September, and according to Johan van den Berg – representative of the fourth generation – the construction is going according to schedule. “Fortunately, the weather was in our favour. The floors will be placed this month, and the building will then be windproof and waterproof. The gain will mostly be in efficiency, thanks to the additional facilities. For example, part of the DC will be certified for air cargo shipments. The current number of loading and unloading docks, 13, will almost be doubled to 23 at the new location, which will also be equipped with the latest cooling techniques and LED lighting, among other things.”
E. van den Berg can call itself a Dutch market leader on the Swiss market. “We supply both retailers and wholesalers, but we also provide the processing industry and caterers of daily fresh produce more and more. When the skiing regions open, we always see demand increasing right away. Regions such as Sankt Moritz, Davos and Verbier are popular destinations around the holidays, and we have been busy for these regions in the past month.”
The exporter carries a complete assortment, and vegetables are their biggest product group, followed by soft fruit. “As part of The Greenery, we have an extensive network of growers, and besides, we also work with external growers and suppliers. In total, the Swiss market isn’t even that big with a population of 8.5 people, but over the years we’ve created a good clientele.”
When asked about the trend on the Swiss market, Johan answers: “Just like in a lot of European countries, the fresh produce market is quite traditional in Switzerland. However, they’ve been frontrunners in organic products for years. The Swiss consumers have more money to spend on organic or fairtrade products in general. Traditional limes, for instance, have practically completely been replaced by fairtrade limes in Swiss retail. Besides, they have small-scale projects to grow their own exotic fruit and vegetables, such as ginger, and they’re doing trials with sweet potatoes and physalis. The Swiss market is suitable for experiments like that. From the Netherlands, we’re therefore always interested in new products, concepts or packaging.”
For years, E. van den Berg has also done transport activities. “We’ve been focusing on this more for about three years now, and we’ve started using additional cars for this as well. We have transport customers in Switzerland and the Netherlands, and we’re seeing demand for reliable logistical partners increasing. That’s why it’s an interesting activity for us to do.”
“The trailers are equipped with double cooling engines, so that products such as mushrooms, soft fruit and beans can be transported at the right temperature with tomatoes, for example. Last year, our trailers were given a new look with fitting images to create a better name for ourselves. To complete our new corporate identity, we also developed a new website. We’re getting good responses to this both nationally and internationally,” Johan concludes.