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Rob Langeveld, GreenS & SaladS:

"From vegetable processor to tailor-made vegetable studio”

The global pandemic forced GreenS & SaladS to re-orientate itself on the market. "We've changed course," says Rob Langeveld. After a long career in the fresh sector - including in cheese, chicken, and ready meals sectors - he took on the role of sales director at this Dutch vegetable processing company. Though Rob no longer considers it as such. "We see ourselves as a custom vegetable workspace of note."

"I met Chris de Jong through my previous job at Bieze where, every day, he supplied fresh raw salads. We're now building GreenS & SaladS sales together. We started by doing extensive market research. And we listened closely to and consulted with our customers in the various segments about their wants and needs. That was also done at product level."

"In other words, what requirements must products meet to be processed as a raw material, for example, in a meal, snack, or fresh, healthy sandwich? We then strategically decided not to directly supply the retail sector much. Companies such as Hessing, Vezet, and Heemskerk are much more efficiently equipped for that. We choose to fill in products and concepts that those parties lack or cannot fill in for retailers," Rob explains.

"We can, however, do so as a tailor-made vegetable studio. Our focus has shifted to a different part of the market - wholesale, hospitality, and industry. Fortunately, sales in the out-of-home channel are picking up now that, particularly, eateries have reopened and are running at full capacity. Regular wholesalers' turnover is increasing again, too. And we've partnered with new market players that serve the out-of-home channel."

"Verstrade, a relatively new business that serves restaurants and greengrocers, is such a platform. Hospitality customers and specialty stores can easily order products via this platform. They have many specialists, so they can offer an elegant, flexible logistics operation, in addition to being an ordering platform. That's interesting for bringing relatively smaller volumes, along with other suppliers, to clients every day. We don't have any field representatives, so we have to work smartly with partners. We can then hitch a ride with an existing partner's package," says Rob.

"Verstrade's groupage lets us serve the hotel and catering industry and greengrocers in the Netherlands and Belgium. Things didn't get off to an easy start due to the pandemic, but the ball's rolling now. And we want to participate in new developments like this. Our revenue levels have returned to pre-COVID levels. And we've reached critical production mass, which, in turn, provides scope to participate in these new developments."

Other uses and consumption moments
"Last year, we also grew significantly within, especially, the industry segment. Most of our industrial buyers produce ready-meals and snacks or value-added items. We now regularly supply several meal manufacturers and will soon be supplying a large snack manufacturer. In consultation with these customers, we have the opportunity to deliver customized processed, uniquely packaged goods in the right weight," says Langeveld.

"If we want to increase vegetable consumption, we'll all have to change how we use and eat them. Think vegetable breakfast products, or snacks with vegetables as an ingredient, but also vegan products with vegetables. These suit these new developments perfectly. We, too, are working on developing new products that fit in well with these trends." 

GreenS & SaladS is currently focusing primarily on the Dutch market, but, according to the sales director, its neighboring countries offer opportunities too. "We, along with suppliers like Willem Dijk AGF, are already orienting ourselves to other markets and market segments. In recent years, they've made significant steps into, for instance, the German market. Germany is still lagging in terms of pre-processed vegetables," Rob continues.

"But that market will develop further in the coming years. We want to enter the market more broadly. We can sometimes do that independently, but we also believe in partnerships. Collaborating with Willem Dijk AGF typifies how companies can strengthen each other. We're also putting a lot of effort into online promotion through social media, among other things. That's bearing fruit and eliciting spontaneous reactions."

Expanding its organic range is another of GreenS & SaladS' focal points. "We're SKAL-certified and already work with a few organic parties, such as BioNoord and Botmas, whose vegetables we process," says Rob. "But we can definitely take that to the next level. The demand for PlanetProof products is increasing. For example, one of our clients is a caterer who demands this of the fruit and vegetables. We consider it a great opportunity to meet that requirement."

"After all, we want to unburden our buyers. That means carefully washing, processing, and packaging the correct products every day. We process the products according to the customer's specifications and pack them in the desired packaging. We efficiently produce volumes of all sizes, to order, six days a week. And each client can use a specific desired order-delivery time," Rob concludes. (IH)

Rob Langeveld
GreenS & SaladS
+31 (0) 622 497 128 


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