There's a noticeable lack of demand for sliced fruit and vegetables, including onions. That's due to the ongoing corona crisis. The demand from certain hospitality branches, however, continues. That's according to René and Anthony Mol of Mol Fresh Food in the Netherlands. These brothers' revenue has decreased considerably because of The COVID-19 troubles.
René and Anthony Mol.
COVID-19 hit the Netherlands in March 2020. Soon after, the company's turnover quickly plummeted by 30%. It has since leveled off to between -15 and -20%. "Given the circumstances, the hospitality industry is struggling. But the demand from fish wholesalers, pizzerias, and, of course, the retail sector, continues," says René.
"It's precisely in these times that our broad sales market benefits us." Of the onions Mol Fresh Food processes, 80-90% remain in the Netherlands. The rest goes to its neighboring countries. "Scandinavia and Belgium are attractive markets. Germany is still lagging a little when it comes to sliced fruit and vegetables," Anthony adds.
The pandemic presents challenges in both production and trade. "Our staff still only work with face shields or masks. They also stand back to back at the machines as far as possible. That's to reduce the risk of an internal outbreak," says René. Fortunately, there's been none so far. We take most of our orders by phone. It's currently very tricky to visit us or for us to receive customers."
Mol Fresh Food offers a complete assortment of sliced onion products in all colors and sizes. "We try to process as few imported onions as possible. This year's Dutch onions supply is above average. That makes it all the more unfortunate that most of the hotel and catering industry isn't buying," continues Anthony.
Specific demands from high-end hospitality segment
The company doesn't do only mechanical onion processing; they also focus on packaging. "It's important that our onion products can keep as long as possible. And we want to continue investing in that. However, there's still no good packaging alternative to plastic," Anthony says. Expanding the product range is another recurring focal point. "Requirements are becoming increasingly specific, especially from the high-end hospitality segment. They often want slightly thinner rings or cubes. This trend will probably only grow in the future," concludes Rene.