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Belgian strawberries in the spotlight during trade mission to Norway

Belgian strawberries stole the show at a royal visit to Norway. VLAM joined hands with fruit & vegetable exporters and cooperatives to promote exports of Belgian strawberries during HRH Princess Astrid's visit to Norway (16-19 June).

Pictured from left to right: An Gilops, Jan Jambon, Princess Astrid, Filip Fontaine and Lode Ceyssens. Photographer: Alexandros Giagiakos | Copyright: Pixel&Co.

Belgium has a long tradition of growing strawberries, is strongly committed to technical innovation and breeding, and also boasts a favourable climate. All this makes for strawberries that are praised worldwide for their quality. Nowadays, Belgian strawberries are available all year round thanks to different cultivation methods that vary according to the season (exposed winter cultivation, heated greenhouses, plastic tunnels, open field cultivation) and the use of various strawberry varieties, each with unique characteristics. Finally, the service and customisation provided by our cooperatives and exporters also contribute to the reputation of our Belgian strawberries, 70% of which are exported.

Neighbouring countries are the main customers, but strawberries also find much wider sales. Norway has been the eighth-largest export destination for our delicacy for some time. Exports to this northern country amounted to over 4.6 million euros in 2023 (see Figure 1), accounting for an export volume of 1 million kilos.

Norway is also our second export destination for strawberries outside the European Union with a 31% share in 2023, up 7% compared to 2022 (see Figure 2).

Strawberries are a very important export product to Norway for the Belgian fruit sector. Norway, with its 5.5 million inhabitants, is a modest market, but Norwegians have high demands on quality and health. With premium quality and strict food safety rules, Belgium can meet these demands without any problem. Belgium is therefore one of the top three suppliers of strawberries to Norway.

During the princely mission to Norway, our Belgian fruit sector is strongly represented by the presence of VLAM, our three major Flemish cooperatives and about six fruit exporters. VLAM is always looking to strengthen our existing outlets with campaigns that support our exporters and our product locally. For this, Princess Astrid's visit to Norway is an additional opportunity.

Not a one-off promotion
On Monday 17 June, in the presence of HRH and the ministers present, VLAM offered a cocktail with surprising strawberry snacks to Norwegian customers and prospects. The rooftop bar at the Radisson in Oslo is a prime location to showcase the qualities of Belgian strawberries. The strawberries also shone at the official reception on Tuesday.

In addition, VLAM wants to work out a three-year promotional programme on the Norwegian market with a focus not only on strawberries, but also the other quality fruits and vegetables from Flemish soil. For instance, our exporters and auctions see opportunities for asparagus, berries, Conference pears, peppers, leeks and other top products. Here, VLAM focuses on buyers, tastings, fair participations and advertisements in specialised magazines. It provides individual exporters with opportunities that are too much of an effort for them to handle themselves.

Retail tour in Oslo.

For more information:
Liliane Driesen
Tel.: +32 0479 98 99 45
Email: [email protected]

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