"Organic is becoming increasingly attractive, and with this new company, we want to focus entirely on the organic market," begins Jordi van den Bosch, who has been Freeland's General Manager since January 1. He is referring to this Dutch company's new organic branch, Freeland Organics, which was started last year.
"Aside from last year, organic trade grows nicely annually. We're very optimistic about its future, especially since consumers are increasingly focused on their health and aware of what they eat. So, there's more demand for unprocessed vegetables, and organic's retail share will increase. We hope to take a nice step with open-field vegetables and become a regular player in the organic market."
Jordi van den Bosch of Freeland Organics
Germany and Scandinavia
Freeland Organics, active throughout Europe with primarily open-field vegetables, see this growth mainly in Germany and Scandinavia. "When it comes to organic trade, Denmark and Germany are particularly progressive. Retail demand is high there," says Jordi.
Freeland does not yet see the economic troubles being reflected in sales. "We work mostly from demand, so due to various influences like weather conditions or political influences, sales differ every year." However, he has noticed rising grower and transport prices are leading to some buyers choosing to do business a little closer to the source, to make things slightly more cost-effective. "It's mostly the growers that are having a tough time. We try to buy as much as we can to get through this together."
Freeland Organics wants to work more from a fixed base - regarding sales and certainly also cultivation - in addition to day trading. Jordi sees this as important for organic products. "For our imports, cultivation-wise, we make deals well in advance. But in organic, we also try to link more local fixed purchases to fixed supply. Because, besides onions, organic open-field vegetable supplies can sometimes be low. It, too, is subject to the weather. We're trying to find a balance between fixed sales and day trade," Jordi explains.
In addition to pumpkins, onions occupy a prominent place in Freeland's range of outdoor vegetables
Local and imports
Onions and pumpkins enjoy a place of prominence within Freeland Organic's open-field vegetable range. The trading house tries, as far as possible, to purchase these products from Dutch and German growers. When gaps occur between Dutch storage onions and the new onion sets crop, Freeland Organics diverts to Egypt for purchasing. Jordi indicates that there are some challenges ahead for Dutch storage onions. Early sprouting is expected, and the larger sizes are lagging due to last summer's drought.
Freeland sees growing interest in pumpkins
Regarding pumpkins, Van den Bosch sees supermarket interest rising, with pumpkins highly sought after for meal kits. "You can find more and more Hokkaido in stores. That's why we want to focus more on that pumpkin. We want to do our part." Again, Freeland imports Egyptian pumpkins only when local pumpkins are not available. "As long as there are Dutch and German Hokkaido, we take those,” Jordi continues. “Once that's no longer the case, we begin importing." He adds that importing from Egypt entails a different way of working because communication, documents, and certificates can sometimes take slightly longer.
Freeland sees that certification, particularly, is playing an increasingly important role in organic trading. "Buyers want to know where products come from and who produced them. There's a noticeable trend: origin and producers are garnering more attention," Jordi concludes.
For more information:
Jordi van den Bosch
7821 CE Emmen