Since the start of Fruit cleaning service (the sister company under Fruitful-Berries) at the beginning of March this year, both growers and traders around the world have been able to find the company easily. "We have been approached from various corners and partners all over the world to offer help with soft fruit with a quality problem, a "no thank you" will hardly ever be heard from us, we always know how to find a home for it," says Maxim De Roeck.
Robbert Leisink, Maxim De Roeck and Kevin Smedts
"The service we offer in combination with Fruitful-Berries remains unique. We make a clear distinction between class 1 and 2 fruit, and every KG, small or large, will be reimbursed. Not a single KG of fruit comes to us that we consider to be worth 0. We think that is disrespectful to both the grower and the entire industry surrounding him."
"Last summer, the industry paid a very reasonable price for the class 2 fruit, especially for blueberries, because the volumes harvested in North America which are deliberately grown for this sector were significantly lower. As a result, there was a lot of demand from the frozen food department, and during certain weeks, prices were paid even close to the class 1 segment. During the huge peak in Eastern Europe around week 33/34, there were also growers who temporarily switched to machine picking and sold everything for the industry department through us," remembers Maxim.
"The blueberry market is currently making a transition towards overseas fruit, and at the start of this season, we are experiencing little to no quality problems. As soon as the season really gets going around week 44, there will, unfortunately, be more problems, and then, of course, we will be ready where and when needed. Of course, a container with a temperature and/or CA problem is a disaster for both grower and end customer. With our construction, we can offer the grower the best possible solution via Fruit Cleaning Service and possibly still help the customer in question with replacement class 1 fruit via Fruitful-Berries."
"But it is not only the growers who know how to find us; traders and even retailers call us to process a few inferior and/or rejected batches for the industry", says his colleague Kevin Smedts. We feel a certain kind of appreciation for this kind of work, many companies would be too quick to "dump" a rejected pallet and say goodbye to it while we roll up our sleeves and get every cent out of it that can be made. Benefits for the whole chain!"
The overall set-up of both our companies feels correct, and our people are full of expertise and passion for soft fruit, and that good feeling flows through to both growers and end customers. We see the European soft fruit consumption increasing by 7% this year, and as soft fruit specialists, we are happy to continue contributing to this growth.