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Competing countries

Netherlands: “Increased competition will not harm processed food industry”

Holland’s frozen and processed food industry has to contend with increased competition from abroad. Countries like Spain, Poland and even Morocco are up-and-coming players on the European market. Most Dutch growers however, think they can withstand foreign rivalry.

Ben Messouad of Hortica admits the industry has become tighter. “It’s true countries like Poland and Morocco have made impressive progress on the market,” he says. “Costs are much lower in those countries.”

Still, he doesn’t fear the competition. Foreign produce, he claims, is no match for domestic crops. “Quality control is better here, there’s no fooling around. Customers know what they are getting.” Messouad thinks food safety is something that matters to consumers. And on foreign markets, he says, regulations are not that tight. Also, there is the matter of logistics. “Dutch service is better, we are better equipped to meet demands.”

Jean Paul Tacken of Taco Agro confesses to feeling pressure from Eastern Europe. “Over there, costs are lower, so obviously they can come in at a lower price.” He agrees with Ben Messouad however, that “Dutch quality and efficiency are better and both go a long way.”

Conventional versus organic produce

Organic food is getting increasingly relevant. The big difference, according to growers, is in the price. “Obviously organic produce is better for the environment,” says Ben Massouad of Hortica, “but it’s still up to consumers to determine if the food is actually healthier.”

According to Jean Paul Tacken of Taco Agro, conventional and organic cultivation are not that different any more. In accordance to food safety regulations, less pesticides are allowed, compelling growers to be more conscious about the way they cultivate. “They will never be interchangeable though, seen as certain fungicides are simply indispensable.”

Shifting range

The industry’s range has lessened somewhat. The consumption of canned food is down, that of frozen food up. Marcel van Rijsingen of Rijko says the one has made way for the other. Location, he says, is also changing. “The industry itself is shifting, but it’s also shifting away: to France mostly. Cultivation isn’t cheaper there, but more concentrated.” Rijko itself is riding with the tide. The company is active in Holland, as well as in France and Germany.

Another company seeking business opportunities abroad is Hans van Kemenade of Jakova. He specializes in onions for the processed food industry, and decided to import his produce from Poland. “In spite of the transportation costs it’s more effective to buy them there. Packaging happens in our own factory, where we can accommodate the customer’s wishes more specifically.”

Van Kemenade sees a rise in production in countries like Russia and the Ukraine. “Things are happening there. But it’s mostly for the local market, and doesn’t compete with our markets. Not yet anyway.”

European markets have seen a significant increase of frozen food products from Poland in recent times. Around 34,000 tons was produced in June alone, which is 85% more than in the same month last year. All in all, 2012 promises to deliver a much higher quota than 2011.

For more information:

info@jakova.nl

jeanpaul@tacobedrijven.nl

m.vanrijsingen@rijko.nl

info@hortica.nl

 

Source: fresh-market.pl

 


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