Healthy eating is currently enjoying a lot of attention, partly due to the global pandemic. Yet this attention is nothing new. The Dutch company, Explosive Foods has been responding to this trend with fresh, exotic fruit and vegetables since 2016. It also offers frozen organic fruit, coconut products, and young jackfruit. These can be used in smoothies, salads, and vegan meals.
Explosive Foods is an import/export business with a broad fresh, exotic fruit and vegetable assortment. It also offers a wide range of products for the processing sector. "In 2016, we started importing organic frozen coconut water and flesh from Thailand. These are popular juice and smoothie ingredients," says director Daniël Penturij.
"We not only have coconut products. We have frozen fruit, like pineapple cubes, strawberries, blueberries, and banana slices too. We also offer frozen dragon fruit puree. We get this product from South America. It's used, for instance, for dragon fruit bowls, a popular breakfast dish. Our entire frozen range is organic, something our customers require."
"COVID-19 has positively and negatively affected the entire sector. We're lucky that our sector has products people will always need. Nevertheless, the sales of our frozen products did dip. We supply the processing sector throughout Europe. It, in turn, supplies the hotel and catering industry. Sales continued but to a lesser extent. The hospitality industry will be allowed to reopen in many countries at some point. Then we expect the market to get a boost and to surpass its previous purchasing level," says Daniël.
Frozen young jackfruit
"We only recently added frozen young jackfruit to our assortment. Immature jackfruit is a fantastic meat substitute. Its flesh structure resembles that of real meat. And, prepared correctly, you can serve a nice, tasty meat alternate. It's becoming increasingly popular. Certainly, now that vegetarian and vegan options are getting more and more attention. We get our young jackfruit from Thailand. We sell it as a semi-finished product."
"We deliberately choose Thai jackfruit. That's because of its quality and definitely its flavor. We tested jackfruit from other countries, but our clients prefer the Thai variety. In Thailand, the product is mainly grown for the fresh market. But once a year, our growers harvest and freeze young jackfruit. We can, therefore, offer young jackfruit all year round."
"People want more than just organic"
According to Daniël, young jackfruit is so popular because of increased consumer awareness. They're more conscious of their health, as well as the environment. "People want more than just organic. Organic doesn't automatically mean something's environmentally friendly. People want more unprocessed food and less fish and meat. Fruit and vegetables fit perfectly into that scenario."
"There's a call for local products too. However, as an exotic product importer, that doesn't worry us. There's a demand for exotic products. But you can't grow them in Europe. So, you have to get them elsewhere. For now, we don't anticipate any problems in that area. Also, consumers want to get rid of plastic. That's something else we're working hard on. There are some great developments within the company. We hope we can introduce them soon."
"We have buyers in almost the whole of Europe. We've noticed that Spain and the Czech Republic are well ahead on the road to a healthier vegetarian or vegan lifestyle. France, too, is moving in that direction. England buys a significant amount of coconut water. Our coconut water and flesh are unique. These products are never heated or treated; they're very pure. They're much healthier than the long-life pasteurized versions. Our coconut products are a little more expensive than the storable ones. But, it's a wonderfully pure product," concludes Daniël.