Food Freshly AFC Ltd was pleasantly surprised by the lively interest in its products at this year's Fruit Attraction trade show in Madrid. "There weren't that many people there, but it went much better than expected, as we reached many potential customers despite the low number of participants," said Alberto Labrado, sales manager for Spain and South America.
"People approached us specifically and knew right away what we stood for." This refers to the antioxidants that Food Freshly develops at its research facilities in Bielefeld, Germany, and that are attracting international attention. Alberto Labrado and Benjamin Singh, Technical Sales Manager, talked to us about this, as well as IQF avocados and goals for 2022.
Innovative antioxidants for IQF avocados.
As the summer progressed and vaccination rates increased, things also improved for the Bielefeld-based company. During the lockdowns, the existing business was stable, while Food Freshly was primarily limited to existing customer projects at the time. But with the lockdowns, many more customers, including those from other countries, were able to resume operations, whereupon sales figures continued to rise, especially in retail as well as catering.
"With our antioxidants for IQF avocados, we represent an innovation for the industry. Everything used so far has been a simple mixture of different fruit acids. Particularly in South America, many farms had problems with this, as the acids affected the taste and thus the quality of the avocados. Through our product, we can remedy this situation, as the structure, color and taste of the avocados are retained after thawing," says Benjamin Singh. According to Singh, there has never been anything like this before. Producers from South America have expressed particular interest.
Most important product: the apple
However, the antioxidants are most in demand for fresh-cut apples. According to Singh, this will remain the case: "Apples are particularly susceptible to oxidation, as can be seen from the fact that they turn brown within a few minutes." Singh sees a similarly positive development for avocados. He says there is also an increasing need for an antioxidant in these exotics. "Avocados will become our second most important product." Growers of potatoes and cut lettuces can also rely on Food Freshly's agents.
In addition to the laboratory operation in Bielefeld and the production facility in Hamelin, the company also has branches in Italy, Canada and Spain It is also conceivable that another branch could be established in Colombia or Peru, as the avocado sector is particularly large there.
Long delays in availability
To manufacture its products, Food Freshly sources raw materials from a wide variety of regions around the world. The sharp rise in raw material prices since a year ago, as well as the container freight rates, which have also risen, in turn caused immense delays, which in turn was reflected in the low availability. Failed shiploads and ships that were not allowed to dock posed just as big a problem. "We are now running larger inventories to meet the demand for our products. Especially going into winter or Q1 2022, we want to try to keep our inventories high to meet the increasing demand."
At the same time, Singh is sure it will be "back to normal" soon. "The Fruit Attraction was already a positive signal, after all, it could have been a total bust. But you can see that people's confidence is coming back. If Fruit Logistica goes well - despite the unfavorable time of year - then I think we can all look to the future with great confidence."