On 1 November, Central Produce started as a European sales office for a Costa Rican banana producer in Barendrecht, the Netherlands. The office is located in the logistical centre of Kivits Goes Handling. “The advantage is that we are cultivators ourselves, and we are in close cooperation with dozens of professional farms. Because of this, we are more flexible, and we can offer year-round banana programmes in various packagings. Furthermore, because of our low cost structure, we can offer the bananas for very competitive prices on the European market,” says Juan Pablo Salmón.
The originally Mexican Juan Pablo, previously worked for Hispa Fruit and Bakker Barendrecht. “But when this opportunity came along with an old contact from Costa Rica, I could not resist. Because we cultivate our own bananas, it will not be a problem to send weekly programmes of dozens of containers to Europe year-round. As everyone knows, the banana market is dominated by the major players, but responses have been very positive from the start, and we hope we can build something good with our no-nonsense way of working, personal contact and competitive prices.”
Central Produce focuses on retail and wholesale customers throughout Europe. “Bananas will be our primary product. We want to become an important player with that in Europe. This will only be green bananas, we do not yet have any ambition to ripen them ourselves,” says Juan Pablo. “We will start with two of our own brands, the Class I brand Mazai, and our own brand Central will be supplied as a premium brand.”
“We are Rainforest Alliance and GlobalGAP certified. In addition to bananas, we also supply pineapple, mango, lime and avocado. Last week, we received the first mangoes and limes, in addition to bananas. Next year, the first pineapples and avocados will follow. The start of our office was very positive, and we are facing the continuation of it full of confidence. It is all about contacts, and as a flexible player, we want to distinguish ourselves with those.”