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FruitMasters achieves over €300 million in turnover and distributes €1.1 million in rebates

Fruit Growers Cooperative FruitMasters achieved a positive result in the fiscal year 2023. This was announced during the annual General Members Meeting held on Thursday evening, May 23, in Geldermalsen. Despite challenging economic conditions, healthy growth has been realized, and for the first time, a turnover above €300 million was achieved. Over the year 2023, €1.1 million in restitution was paid out to members.

To stimulate further growth, FruitMasters introduced the ambitious 'Healthy Growth 2030' strategy in 2023. This plan serves as a roadmap for developing a future-proof organization. At its core remains a cooperative characterized by a strong sourcing function and market-oriented sales strategy. One that can operate flexibly within a rapidly changing market. The approach focuses on responsible growth of commercial activities while simultaneously improving the returns for affiliated members. This is crucial as growers' earning capacity is under pressure due to enormous cost increases. Therefore, cost control, further automation, and digitalization are essential for additional savings. In January 2024, Carin van Huët was appointed as Chief Financial Officer, completing the management team.

The management of FruitMasters, consisting of Carin van Huët & Adriaan Vis.

Investing in the central service center
One of the key pillars in the strategy is the large-scale new construction project 'The Masterplan'. Efficiency, cost savings, sustainability, and scaling up are the way forward. Therefore, investments are being made in automation, robotization, and centralizing operational activities within a single closed cold chain on the premises in Geldermalsen. The construction, which started in the spring of 2023, is progressing smoothly and is scheduled to be completed at the beginning of 2025. The expansion and modernization enable the organization to better meet customer-specific requirements and availability, with the goal of providing the best service with the best return for growers and trading partners.

Market in focus
Providing the best service is crucial in a global market that is significantly in flux. On the demand side, the market continues to consolidate. Due to this consolidation, there is a demand for reliable partners with sufficient product availability. With a focus on further chain cooperation, FruitMasters has made significant progress by strengthening existing strategic partnerships and entering into new ones both domestically and internationally. This has led to sustainable growth across all markets. On the supply side, after a turbulent 2022 due to the war in Ukraine, a positive trend is visible with an optimistic market for many product groups.

Despite a mild summer with significant rain, the heat at the end of the season brought surprisingly early harvest times. The production of soft fruit started slowly, partly due to the cold and rainy spring with a lot of frost. In the heated strawberry crops, relatively high gas prices were still seen in the spring. Fortunately, the market remained reasonably stable. Cultivation remains challenging due to difficulties in protecting the crop. Insects cause a lot of damage because growers do not have or receive the right means too late. As the largest fruit growers' cooperative in the Netherlands, FruitMasters calls on the government for dialogue and to work together on a solution that guarantees the future of Dutch fruit cultivation. This all provides growers with a future perspective and encourages them to cultivate even more sustainably without endangering our food supply.

Joining forces and innovation
Last year, it was also announced that FruitMasters is exploring a possible collaboration with Cooperative Hoogstraten. In the coming months, forms of cooperation will be further investigated. BioMasters has been operating entirely under the FruitMasters flag since the fall of 2023. The integration aims to develop a 'Best in Organics' platform focused on research, new varieties, and marketing for organic products. A group of enthusiastic growers has already joined. The first year without the auction clock has shown that extended opening hours and improved service with a wholesale approach lead to stable growth. Furthermore, significant steps have been made with the market-oriented variety portfolio. For example, within hard fruit, the Wurtwinning variety has been launched under the brand name Bloss®. Also, in the 'Best of Berries' innovation program for soft fruit, promising varieties are included that will be introduced to the market for the first time in 2024.

For more information:
Deilseweg 7
4191 NX Geldermalsen
+31 (0)345 578 800
[email protected]

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