Exactly twenty years ago, Swiss entrepreneur Beni Dürr brought a very inexpensive flowfreezer to what was then Czechoslovakia, which, although almost new, was suddenly made redundant by the change in a company. The giant box was installed at the main site of his company Verdunova AG. For twenty years, the machine was in daily use, forming the central element in the freezing of fresh and preferably regional vegetables. "This 20-year-old machine would no longer be able to cope with last year's planned large harvest. It was therefore high time to give it a big brother. With the new Flowfreezer, also a product of the Swedish market leader Frigoscandia, we have been able to freeze 30 tonnes more vegetables per day since August 2020," Dürr explains.
The task of a flowfreezer is to freeze vegetables and fruits. This process is called 'Individual Quick Frozen (IQF)'. The individual cauliflower florets or carrot sticks should freeze loosely, not in a block. By circulating a -36°C stream of cold air, this task is accomplished, as it were in an Arctic storm, Dürr explains. "The IQF technology has the advantage that our products are very easy to portion, whether in the household or for manufacturers of convenience products, ready meals or in the catering trade. In addition, the individual vegetables can be combined into great mixes, even if the individual crops are not harvested at the same time."
Thanks to the new branding, the Ökostreamliner is now highly visible on the road. / Picture: Verdunova AG
Regionally produced vegetables in the foreground
Verdunova AG has most of its vegetable crops grown domestically. Only about five per cent are imported from abroad, mainly crops that cannot be grown in Switzerland but are nevertheless needed for a fine vegetable mix or even as a mono-product, such as hot peppers, sugar snap peas or even Brussels sprouts. "We get the latter from the region of northern France, near the Belgian border and close to the sea. We tried to grow Brussels sprouts in Thurgau. However, we found that we never get the very good quality, analogous to the import," says Dürr.
Impressions from everyday farm practice / Photo: Verdunova AG
Entry into online trading
Verdunova AG was founded in 1997 and over the years has developed into the leading producer of convenience vegetables. In addition to a constant expansion of capacity and product range, the innovative company also believes in short distances to the consumer. This is why the shopping concept Frau Knolle was created. "In our new factory shop, you can buy regional vegetables with all their advantages. The uncomplicated ordering takes place at the pulse of time via an online shop, and the desired quantity is made available for easy and quick collection."