Sweet potatoes weren't always commonplace on supermarket shelves. Long before they were, Bel Impex's clients knew they could find this exotic product at this company. Bel Impex is an exotic vegetable, fruits, fresh herbs, sweet potatoes, root vegetables, and tuber specialist. They offer sweet potatoes from Honduras year-round.
Bel Impex sees tremendous growth opportunities for this product in the Dutch market. Particularly for the white and red-fleshed varieties. "Demand for these kinds of sweet potatoes is steadily increasing in the retail channel. Stores often already two-thirds of these. And only a third of the orange-fleshed variety," says Bel Impex's Peter van Teeseling.
"However, the traditional trade channel's strongly focused on the orange-fleshed sweet potatoes. That's a pity. White-fleshed sweet potatoes' uses are better suited to the Dutch taste pallet. Some ethnic clients also prefer these. We deal in well-known varieties like the Evangeline and Beauregard. They're not only GlobalGAP certified. Our farm in Honduras is the first with a social compliance program too."
"Sweet potatoes production has risen sharply in recent years. In Egypt in particular, cultivation has expanded considerably. Their sweet potatoes' average quality is also slightly higher than in previous years. We've been working with our growers in Honduras for a long time," says Peter.
"So, we provide a good quality product at a competitive price. There's usually a lot of focus on North American production. That's when the Spanish and Egyptian seasons end. But, import tariffs of 25% are now being applied. The demand for Honduran sweet potatoes is, therefore, skyrocketing."
Bel Impex targets larger and ethnic retailers, fruit and vegetable traders and exporters, and wholesalers in the ethnic channel. "The COVID-19 crisis isn't causing a lot of sales problems. It's mainly affecting supplies. Airfreight is especially severely restricted. That means we receive less supply of, for example, root vegetables. That doesn't apply to our imports of sweet potatoes and other products from Costa Rica. These include chayote, eddoes, and cassava. Their supply remains stable. There's a trade increase on the demand side, too," concludes Peter.