"Alexis Cordero and Dennis Bartels: "We believe in year round cherry sales at retailers"

Netherlands: Fruto del Campo starts importing Chilean and Argentinean cherries

The busiest time of the year has started at Fruto del Campo in Maasdijk. The company has received the first cherries of shareholder and producer San Francisco Lo Garces, the largest Chilean cherry producer and exporter. Fruto del Campo works together with fruit importer Norton Folgate from the United Kingdom when importing and has a logistics partner in LBP, where the fruit is stored and packed before it is distributed to European retailers.

Dennis Bartels with the first cherries

"We can floor it," say director Alexis Cordero and salesman Dennis Bartels. "We have developed a unique concept. In the past, customers had to purchase complete pallets of fruit, there was often a surplus and stocks had to be maintained. Now they can determine their own volumes. Cherries are packaged according to customer specifications and delivered directly from our growers. This makes it easier for customers to supply products year round. "In the United States, San Francisco Lo Garces has a sales office under the name of Forever Fresh. We make up the European sales office here in Maasdijk."

"Besides cherries, Lo Garces also produces stone fruit, kiwi, grapes, apples and citrus. Especially the cherry production is growing fast. The company has its own production of 6 million cartons in Chile. The company produces fruit on an acreage of 2,800 hectares, of which 1,500 hectares are in-house and 1,300 hectares are under contract. In the past few weeks I visited our European retail customers together with the grower. The chain can not be shorter. Within a day we have filled the orders in packs of 150 grams to 2 kilos," says Alexis Cordero.

The cherry supply from Chile is expected to be 30-40% lower than usual this season, due to rain and cold weather. "The season has started later and is expected to finish earlier. During the peak of the season, supply will be about the same," says Alexis. "We believe that a lot more cherries can be sold in the winter. At the moment, the majority of cherries are sold mainly for Christmas and hardly any after that, therefore you need to create demand."

Although the volume of Chilean cherries will be on a much lower level this year, the importer expects no drastic price increases. "A country like China pays top prices in some cases, but the European market does not pay excessive prices. The prices are expected to be slightly higher than other seasons. We do have set agreements on the volumes that come to Europe; in these cases we are talking about really high quality fruit. We would also like to support the retailers with promotional materials."

Fruto del Campo also offers Argentinian cherries, but these volumes are incomparable with the fruit from Chile, according to the director. "Argentina is not allowed to export to China; it also has much lower production. Our ultimate goal is to offer cherries all year round. We get cherries shipped in from Canada, Europe, South Africa, Chile and Argentina. There are still short periods inbetween, but we do everything to fill those up, "concludes Alexis.

For more information:
Alexis Cordero
Dennis Bartels
Fruto del Campo B.V.
Honderdland 244
2676 LV Maasdijk
Tel: 0031 174-613287
Mob: 0031 653-241 807

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