The outlook for the coming pomegranate season in India is particularly good. Exports of the established Bhagwa pomegranates are generally from November to March. "Indian pomegranates are slightly higher priced when sold, but those who value quality and taste are usually willing to pay this higher price. This is because with a Brix value around 15+, the fruit performs very well compared to pomegranates from other countries of origin," reports Jaswinder Singh Bhamra, direct importer, sales representative and managing director of RhineLink GmbH, based in Hamburg. This year, he will also offer pomegranate seeds in 150- and 250-gram trays for food retailers, as well as flyers in bulk (1 and 3 kg) for the industry.
Fresh pomegranates will be offered mainly in 3.5kg cartons under the Isa Fresh private label. The goods are available in calibration 9, 10,12,14 & 16.
The Indian grapes from the own brand ISA Fresh are still an established product branch, even in the event of fluctuating market prices. The grapes of the Thompson, Sonaka, Super Sonka and Shard varieties are available in 10x500g trays and loose in 4.5kg boxes.
Increasing demand for mangoes and sweet corn
In addition to pomegranates, mangoes also continue to gain importance, Jaswinder continues. "From mid-March to June, we offer Indian mangoes of the Alfonso and Keser varieties, both as flyers, and we are seeing increasing demand in European markets. Although this is an extremely sensitive product, we have now succeeded in delaying fruit ripening somewhat and extending the shelf life by ten days after arrival. Our fruit purees and concentrates for the industry are shipped by ocean freight, unlike fresh produce."
In addition to Indian mangoes, RhineLink GmbH is also involved in importing Nam Dok Mai mangoes from Thailand.
Vegan and health-conscious consumers are demanding untreated and pesticide-free produce, according to Jaswinder. "We have recognized this trend for us and are responding with new product lines, such as our fresh sweet corn as well as sweet corn kernels. Both products are 100 percent pesticide-free: in practice, this means that the product undergoes strict quality testing before it leaves our production site at origin and is loaded. We are finding that our product is well received in the fresh market," says the fruit trader, who also offers baby sweet corn in bulk as well as small containers.
Rhinelink GmbH's sweet corn range consists of fresh sweet corn, sweet corn kernels and baby sweet corn.
In order to also meet the still increasing demand for edible avocados, Rhinelink works with producers in East Africa, whether Kenya, Tanzania or Rwanda. Jaswinder says, "East African avocados have quickly established themselves in Europe, which is reflected in an increasing demand for both Hass and Fuerte avocados. The Kenyan government is also trying to target exports by only giving its green light once the DMC values, ripening and calibration of the fruit are right. We offer not only the conventional ready-to-eat avocado, but also organic avocados as well as processed goods for the guacamole industry."
Hass -Avocados are available from March until August and the variety Fuerte from February until June.
The wide range of products offered by the company, which was founded in 2016, is rounded off by coconuts and mini vegetables as well as chili. "We want to continue to meet the needs of a changing and emerging market and are therefore looking for new, surprising products. Through our roots and over three decades of industry experience, we have built up a network of reliable partners and can therefore connect both sides, whether buyers, supplier or other collaborations and inquiries," says Jaswinder.
Tofu (l) and Indian coconut pieces. RhineLink GmbH also strives to meet the trend towards vegan products and meat substitutes and therefore also offers tofu tempe, both organic and conventional.
Jaswinder Bhamra form Rhinelink GmbH ( M) with Carles Marti Inglada and Charles Martin Sousa from CMR Group in Barcelona.
Photos: RhineLink GmbH