Starting your own business in the export of exotics during COVID times sounds like a challenge. Nevertheless, according to Tim Struckman of Exotic Roots, it is precisely now that offers opportunities for a start-up. The first shipment arrived on September 23rd 2020 and the young company is developing rapidly. Next month, Exotic Roots will move into new premises in Nieuwerkerk aan den IJssel with its own cold storage.
Exotic Roots offers exotic fruits and vegetables, cooperating with growers and partners, mainly from Africa and India. "At the moment okra, but also haricot verts, pods, sugar snap peas and baby corn are part of the main assortment. This week we will also receive Indian Badami, Alphonso and Kesar mangos, which we will have available until the end of June," says Tim. "In addition, we offer a wide range of specialties from Dutch soil."
The company mainly supplies (catering) wholesalers, supermarkets and independent toko's. "Most customers are in the Netherlands, but we also have customers in Ireland, Scandinavia and Germany," says the importer. He wants to make the distinction based on service and personal contact. "I speak to my customers every day and I can switch quickly." If customers place an order on Thursday or Friday, it will be prepared in India on Saturday and the shipment will be boarded on Sunday and delivered on Monday. "
"The air cargo capacity has been a challenge in recent months. Availability is still scarce and prices are extremely high. This has a significant impact on the purchase price," says Tim. "For example, organic exotics are very scarce at the moment. Organic is an important spearhead for us in the long term. We will be developing biodegradable packaging for this, among other things."
With its own brand 'Taste it', Exotic Roots hopes to achieve further awareness of the exotics on the European supermarket shelf. "At the end of this month we will be introducing a new packaging line. Our aim is for consumers to come into contact with exotics that they would otherwise never buy. We are still small in size, but our ambitions are great. In five years' time we want to be the market leader in the packaged exotics we carry!"
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