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Valon Bahtiri, MitroFresh:

“Switch from mushroom importer to producer”

Significant volumes of Eryngii, Enoki and Shimeji leave the building of MitroFresh in Maasdijk, the Netherlands, every day. However, buyers are mostly located abroad. “We can guarantee wide availability because we started a joint venture with one of Asia’s largest mushroom cultivators. Our sales double annually, and that is mostly due to Asian mushrooms, which make up about 80 per cent of our assortment,” says Valon Bahtiri from MitroFresh.

MitroFresh moved into the building in Maasdijk in 2015, but it is already too small. “We extended our packing line, so that we can now pack at customer level. Small packagings are in demand, and we can also make many combination packagings.”

“Over 80 per cent of our sales is export. France and the UK are our biggest buyers, but we also have customers in Belgium, which has a larger mushroom culture than the Netherlands. The Netherlands mostly buys white mushrooms, applications of Asian mushrooms are not well-known. But we are working on that by, for example, giving cookery demonstrations,” Bahtiri continues.

By now, the Russian Chanterelle season has ended, but the American and Canadian seasons will probably last until the end of January. The Portuguese season will start much later than usual. Dried mushrooms are also becoming more popular. “For example, the cep season is going very well. Prices have increased significantly on the market because of shortages.”

MitroFresh has started building a second nursery in Kosovo, where production is expected to start in February 2017. “We will then have a capacity of eight tonnes per day. The product is the same as the Asian product, but logistical costs will be much lower. By opening this nursery, we will do better in freshness and we will be able to anticipate the market quicker. This is also the direction we want to head in. I expect increasingly less space for distributive trade because of limited margins. That is why we have chosen to function as producer and service provider towards our customers,” Bahtiri concludes.

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Valon Bahtiri
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