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Kris Indestege, AgroFresh:

"New legislation may provide more opportunities for pre-cut vegetables"

Cofru and AgroFresh are two separate businesses that are run by the same family. Cofru was launched in the late 1990's to handle export going to Germany, and AgroFresh was founded ten years ago to serve the Belgian hospitality and catering sectors. Cofru mainly focuses on fresh fruits and vegetables, while AgroFresh supplies pre-cut, pre-packaged fruit and vegetables. The fresh produce is purchased together for both companies from growers, auctions and at the early market. 

Kris Indestege: "We founded AgroFresh because we did not only want to focus on Germany, we also wanted to have a strong presence on the domestic market. At this time we are still quite active on a regional scale, especially in the eastern part of Limburg. There are more than enough opportunities for growth within Belgium."

Each company has a different target group, so the goals of each company are also different, "Our slogan for AgroFresh is: 'The better greengrocer', so we are focusing on top quality and service. The AgroFresh products do run at a higher cost but our customers know what they are paying for. We have loyal clientèle, they obviously appreciate how we operate."

"We also have loyal clientèle with our Cofru company as well. The approach is just a bit different. This target group is more concerned with price. Quality is still important, just not the most important thing. Suppose that both target groups want to buy a head of lettuce, the hospitality sector will want a heavier head of lettuce and the German wholesaler won't mind as long as the price is good. A catering company looks at it differently because with a heavier head of lettuce they can garnish more plates."

The future
In the coming years the focus will mainly be on expanding AgroFresh in Belgium. We added a second line of products which is not fresh produce and eventually want to deliver all our products, just as a wholesaler and Sligro do, but on a smaller scale. We are working together with a fellow wholesaler. In the future we may also add meat and fish products. Delivering the best quality is of utmost importance to us. So we have high standards for all our products."

2005 to 2015
In the ten years that AgroFresh has been around the demand for pre-cut vegetables has shot up, "When we opened we did not have our own cutting plant. Shortly after our opening we started purchasing slicing machines and we get great use out of them." Kris expects to see more growth in the pre-cut, pre-packaged sector, "The Belgian government is busy introducing legislation around the 'witte kassa' (white cash register) and we think this could have a positive effect on us, seeing opportunities for pre-cut vegetables. Hospitality business want to save, so more convenience with certain products is important. This legislation may have a negative effect on the hospitality sector itself, but we will have to wait and see what happens."

For more information:
Kris Indestege
Cofru nv
Gaspeldoornstraat 23
3650 Dilsen-Stokkem
Tel: +32 (0)89/76.15.58

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