Last year, several European retailers indicated they wanted to stop flying in fruit and vegetables from overseas. That was a considerable switch for haricot verts and legumes, which were solely flown in. But, according to Mike Looije of FV Seleqt in the Netherlands, that change was made fairly quickly. "Within no time, everyone was responding by having the trade arrive, in bulk, via sea freight and packaging it here," he begins.
Portuguese Bimi crop.
"We're currently getting most of our snow peas and sugar snaps from Egypt. I expect we'll see a gap in supply sometime in March; then, we'll switch to Kenyan, Zimbabwean, and Zambian production and then back to Peru. From there, too, we bring all the snow peas and sugar snaps in by boat. The less air freight trend began in recent years."
"We switched almost entirely to sea freight last year. That's only a challenge for haricot verts. We now source these mainly from Senegal and Morocco and truck them in. Last year's absurdly high container prices didn't make it cheaper to choose sea freight. Now that those prices have normalized somewhat, it is becoming more attractive," explains Mike.
He says this year's legume market is the opposite of last year. "Then the market was flooded from week 3. That's not the case now; there's even been a big sugar snaps shortage. However, I expect this supply to fill out a little from this week. Fortunately, thanks to our stable partnerships, those shortages haven't affected us. We've even filled some demand from fellow importers here and there."
FV Seleqt's - part of Farmhouse International, a Best Fresh branch of companies specializing in exotic fruit and vegetables from its own farms - main products are haricot verts, snow peas, and sugar snaps. "Most of our sales go to Germany and Scandinavia," adds Mike, who calls the market for these products quite mature. "I think this category's sales to remain stable. You can easily conjure up a special meal using, say, bacon-wrapped haricot vert."
FV Seleqtis also one of the few Bimi® distributors in the Dutch market. "Those sold very well last year, but sales are a bit slower this year. Trade usually increases at Christmas, but current demand is very tame. Most of the Bimi® comes from Spain at the moment. We also have a Bimi® grower in Portugal, but they've had terrible weather, so we won't be getting produce from there again until the end of the month," says Looije.
"We used to fly in Bimi® from Kenya, but we want to become less dependent on that. We did a trial getting Egyptian Bimi® in via sea freight, and that went great. Customers still need to realize we can offer excellent quality Egyptian Bimi®; we're, nonetheless, very excited about it. Sea freight allows us to offer this product at slightly lower prices, which offers great promotional opportunities," Mike concludes.
FV Seleqt will have a stand at Fruit Logistica: Hall 3.2 - A50.
For more infomation:
126 ABC Westland
2685 DB, Poeldijk, NL
Tel: +31 (0) 174 91 54