As an importer of exotics, Ive Lambert of Belgian company Starfruit has a good view of the global market. He sees that clients are sticking more to certain calibres, and in light of the growing world population, he advocates a global approach to export the right calibres to the proper markets.
“It’s getting more and more difficult in recent years to sell different calibres on the market. The customers are focusing more on fixed calibres. It used to be that, for instance, you’d get a container with sizes 6, 8 and 10, and by adjusting prices, you could control the client’s demand a bit. That’s becoming increasingly difficult, but that also makes the market more challenging.”
What is the solution for this problem then?
“We have to ensure that import and export are more in line with each other. Now it sometimes happens that shipments enter the market at dump prices, or they are completely lost. We can’t keep that up in the future. Especially with a growing world population, we need to limit food waste. That’s possible through better communication between the exporter and the importer. We have to look at an earlier stage and how we can distribute the calibres, and only import those calibres that can be sold in Europe and beyond. The other calibres need to go to other markets.”
Can you give an example of how this should be done?
“Take Belgian top fruit, the small calibres have been going to Scandinavia for years, because those markets prefer the small sizes. So we should say to exporters in the southern hemisphere that those small sizes had better be exported to these markets, instead of to our part of Europe. We have to manage that globally. In the future, food waste will really become an issue, because the world population will continue to grow, but the earth isn’t getting any bigger. If demand goes up, products will also become more expensive, so we have to deal with this through better distribution.”
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