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Edwin van Leeuwen, Yex:

"The trick lies in introducing Bahri dates to Western European consumers"

This week, Yex added a new product to its assortment: Bahri dates. "Healthy Easter eggs," jokes this Dutch company's commercial director Edwin van Leeuwen. Last week, the internal kick-off was held at Best Fresh, and colleagues were updated on the product while enjoying a Bahri date quiche.

"Athos, our grower in Peru, is behind us starting with these dates. He also cultivates pomegranates, figs, golden berries, and avocados for us. He mentioned that he was greatly expanding his Bahri date production and asked if we saw opportunities to sell these to our customers," Edwin says.

"I was initially a little skeptical, but when I tasted the samples we received, I was won over. I was really surprised by the crunchy bite and fresh, sweet flavor. Now I can get my clients excited about Bahri dates, too. I see good potential for the product as, for example, an energy boost when exercising."

"Our ethnic buyers are all familiar with these dates, so much of our supply will go there. The trick will be to introduce this product to Western European consumers. We receive the first air freight shipment today and can, thus, start the season early. We'll follow that up with sea freight, then we'll have Peruvian Bahri dates available until week 22," explains Edwin.

"We should get about 400,000kg this year, making this start-up year worthwhile. Most sales will be through wholesalers, but about 80% of the retailers we work with have already said they'll take Bahri dates. So, we expect to co-supply many of our customers in the Netherlands, Scandinavia, Eastern Europe, and the German-speaking countries."

"And the Peruvian season will probably become a prelude to a broader supply. When Bahri dates are available, we want them in our range," Van Leeuwen says. "That's why we're talking to many growers in other countries of origin, like Namibia and other African countries. We also want to expand the date assortment to include Medjoul dates, among others."

Yex packages its Bahri dates loose per 4.5 and 2kg and in 12x320g clamshells. According to Edwin, a seasonal launch price of €10/kg will not deter customers from purchasing this product. "Dates are always pricey, but you get to buy an exclusive item," he concludes.

For more information:
Edwin van Leeuwen
120 ABC Westland
2685 DB, Poeldijk, NL
Tel: +31 (0) 174 479 100 
Email: [email protected]

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