In the Netherlands the blood orange is very popular and is still a niche, while the common oranges are very sought after and widely known. "Our goal is to develop and increase the market share of blood oranges in order to become a reference point for the Dutch market," said Luca Pappalardo and Emilio Ganci, founders of the Amsterdam-based Sicitrus.
The crops are all from Sicily, from the Etna area, Paternò, Palagonia, Scordia, Lentini and Siracusa.
Emilio Ganci and Luca Pappalardo of Sicitrus
"Emilio and I have been living in the Netherlands for some time now. Our project focuses on three types of customers, namely Italians abroad who cannot find Sicilian oranges at competitive prices, Dutch people who already know the crop but cannot find it and the B2B sector. For the latter we are trying to promote Sicilian oranges to small entrepreneurs so they can diffuse the crops," said Pappalardo.
How does it work?
"We work with Italian and Dutch customers and the sales already take place before the pallet of oranges arrives. The reason we do this is to make sure that we are paid upon departure. In this way we reduce the risk of waste and we can guarantee the customer fresh oranges that are delivered shortly after the harvest", said Ganci.
"Ours is a method where we select the crops, create an online event and our customers can book and purchase in advance. This reduces the distance from grower to consumer and has a positive impact on the price of top quality products. The advantage for the grower is that we can guarantee an immediate payment because the customer pays directly when placing the order," added Pappalardo.
What about the delivery and logistics?
"The crops arrive from Sicily by truck or van. We have only been running the business since November 11th and the first delivery was scheduled for December 7th. There was a slight delay due to the snow in Italy, but we have now rescheduled so we can guarantee the upcoming deliveries," said Ganci.
The first pallet consisted of 15 boxes of Navellina oranges, of caliber 6 and 4, and 70 boxes of Navellina caliber 9 and 8, all of high quality. The pallet was filled with 100 boxes and the remaining 15 were offered to stores, wholesalers, individuals and small entrepreneurs.
Pappalardo and Ganci during the arrival of the first pallet in Amsterdam.
"The delivery of the first pallet, weighing 1,000 kilos, was carried out personally by myself and Emilio. For future orders it might be wise to outsource this to a third party. The orders and this first load exceeded our expectations. We will therefore have to make some adjustments to our organization and during the Christmas vacations we are going to address this," said Pappalardo.
Sicitrus is a long-term project. "Despite the pandemic, we expect to grow over the years. The expectation is that online sales will increase, as well as the sales of healthy crops. We currently supply our oranges to customers in the Randstad, particularly in Amsterdam, Haarlem, Zaandam, Amstelveen, Almere Stad, Leiden, The Hague, Delft, Zoetermeer, Gouda, Rijswijk, Rotterdam and Schiedam. We intend to expand in the future".
More information here: sicitrus.com/