“Having only started up in 2007, Hillfresh today is among the largest fruit and vegetable importers in Europe”, says account manager Paul Postema. For most of its trajectory, Hillfresh has had to deal with difficult market conditions. “It has made us innovative and enthusiastic. We always see a challenge.” Paul Postema notes a strong demand for taste from the market. “When we programme our products, taste is our priority because if the flavour is good, the consumer will repeat the purchase.” Together with the WUR University and breeding companies Hillfresh is developing a taste model for melons that can be used to screen breeding lines objectively for taste.
The importer of fresh fruits like melons, kiwi, grapes and citrus and vegetables such as tomatoes, peppers, lettuce and broccoli is mainly focusing on retail for sales. Other trading partners are wholesalers and the processing industry, mainly for convenience products. Coming from Spain, Israel, South and Central America and Africa, their fresh produce is sold in all of Europe. Another key point at Hillfresh is corporate social responsibility. Paul Postema: “The basics we have covered with standards such as GLOBALG.A.P., BRCI, or Cedex, but from retail we also see the need for attention to social and sustainability aspects.” Strongly socially committed, Hillfresh engages in several projects like the one in Peru, where alongside local authorities they invest in a clinic for pregnant women, or the partnership Hillfresh has with a producer in Namibia for solar energy.”