Uko Vegter, Fresh Fruit Express:
"Easy tasty frozen veg smoothies"
When vacationing in Brazil back in the nineties, Uko Vegter was firmly hooked on what he considered the best smoothies ever. Since that trip, Vegter wanted to introduce these to Holland, though it took him until 2006 before he was able to market the concept under Fresh Fruit Express. "We have been active with these concepts for years. At the time the smoothies emerged in the Netherlands, I decided to add one to our fast food express idea. Today, we even have Veggie Express for making vegetable smoothies, which are doing quite well.
Entrepreneurs from the hospitality and catering sector can order the required products at Fresh Fruit Express through wholesalers, which include Horesca, DeliXL, Stephanos, Makro and Sligro. There are seven different frozen food fruit mixes and three vegetable mixes. The basic juice consists of 100% apple juice and mango purée without further additives. "The idea is to mix this with a variety of ingredients. You add 250 millilitres of juice to a 150-grams bag of fruit or vegetables, mix these for about 35 seconds and then you have yourself a nice healthy smoothie. A smoothie contains at least 75 percent of the daily recommended amount of fruit, so we also help create the stimulation of fruit consumption."
The concept can also serve as a basis for a fruit milkshake, cocktail, dessert, appetizer or fruit shot. For a fresh Pina colada, to name just one idea, you can replace a portion of the juice by rum. In recent years, Uko has gained a lot of knowledge about the properties of fruits and vegetables. For a good tasting smoothie, the sugar level is very important, which in turn depends on the type of fruit and its origin.
Opportunities for vegetable speciality stores
Currently, it’s mainly the catering businesses that are using the Fresh Fruit Express concept, but Uko Vegter believes that the concept might be ideal for vegetable speciality stores. "Retailers can sell the bags to the consumer, but also offer ready-made smoothies. They look nice in the store, and perhaps the purchase threshold is lowered when the smoothies are already prepared and presented.”