While ready-to-eat avocados have been and will likely continue to be a “key driver for our growth” for Dutch importer and distributor Nature’s Pride, the company continues to seek out similar opportunities for added-value creation.
Speaking with PBUK during the Amsterdam Produce Show & Conference last month, Nature’s Pride marketing manager Jan Willem Verloop said ready-ripe avocados and mangoes were booming; a trend that was unlikely to let up.
“If you look at penetration levels for avocados for example in Germany and Holland, it’s just over 25% of the households that buy one avocado a year. There’s still big upside potential for those product groups,” Verloop said.
“We are extending the product line for example with kiwifruit; that’s a new addition which works out quite well. Some big retailers are picking that up and putting it in their assortment,” he said.
Does this mean a lot of the European market is selling hard kiwifruit that isn’t ready to eat?
“That’s our perception, yes,” the executive replied.
“Of course in Europe you have some big countries of origin, the big suppliers, but also retailers are looking for alternatives.
“It’s a big product group itself so you see that there also is room for other references; it’s the same in avocado.”
He said that another big product assortment that is booming is berries.
“We entered that category in 2014 and since then it has been growing steadily. Especially blueberries, of course, is something that like avocados is a big trend,” he said.
“Innovations don’t always have to be big – for example turmeric is gaining popularity, many food bloggers talk about it. So we stepped into that, found a good grower and brought that to market in an attractive packaging; that’s more of a quick reaction to what we see around us.”
A key theme at the Amsterdam show was innovation, and not just through the introduction of new products or packaging but addressing the conditions that are conducive to innovation. We asked Verloop what this meant for his company.
“Our philosophy is to have the optimal chain from tree to the shelf, so we really work together closely with our growers and also with our customers,” he said.
“Internally that means we are improving our supply chain management process to make the supply and demand fit in well together.
“One of the innovations we are currently working on is a supplier portal where suppliers fill in all the information – the volumes, the documents – to make the whole supplying part more data-driven and also more efficient,” he said.
Nature’s Pride sources from more than 50 countries with a plethora of fresh produce items on offer, ranging from French or Ecuadorian kiwano through to Colombian passiflora (passion fruit, maracuyá and granadilla) and ready-to-eat golden papayas from Brazil.
This was the company’s first time exhibiting at the Amsterdam Produce Show, which was in its second year.
“Last year we came here and just checked out the place, the venue, the organization and we liked the setup so we decided to be an exhibitor this year,” he said.
“With all the sessions and the presentations, that’s different – it has a really international feel to it, and if you compare it with Berlin Fruit Logistica or Fruit Attraction it’s very small-scale but it has a quality attendee list so that’s promising for us.”