Two months ago, Elite Foods moved to a larger location in Belgium. "We've grown tremendously in recent years, so we decided to move to a location where we could continue that growth in a stable manner," explains business manager Tuncer Akarca. With the move, the export company went from around 1,000m2 of floor space to almost 3,000m2.
But, points out Akarca, he had to slow things down recently. "I started in the Netherlands in 2000. Over time, we began working more and more with Belgian products, so, 15 years ago, we decided to move to that country. And things began happening very fast, perhaps a little too fast for our own good."
The company, which specializes in Elite vine tomatoes, could not quite keep up with its success. "Therefore, for several years, we've focused on good organization, with which we can continue growing, nice and organically. That still results in a good, stable, ten to 15% annual growth," says Akarca.
Tomatoes are Elite Foods' most important product group. "We trade all kinds of vegetables but are really strong in tomatoes. We sell mainly Elite TOV."
"Demand for these keeps growing every year. This year's prices are, however, slightly lower, which is, of course, difficult for the growers due to the high production prices," says Tuncer.
"Last year, the summer was dark and miserable, which resulted in 30% lower production. This year's sunshine and warmth mean more tomatoes. That, naturally, affects the prices." According to Akarca, the recent high temperatures and dry weather are not affecting supply. "However, the sun is ripening the tomatoes faster, so there are currently somewhat more smaller tomatoes."
Elite Foods works primarily with Belgian products. "I think about 90% of the products we export are Belgian, supplemented by a few Dutch vegetables. We export these mainly to Germany, which makes up 70% of our customer base. But we also have clientele in countries like Austria, Sweden, Romania, and Serbia," Akarca concludes.