“Our goal is to service the grower in selling and packing until the product is offered to the retailer,” said Fred Douven, CEO of ABB Growers.
The company started out supplying the United Kingdom. Then, operations expanded towards Eastern Europe, the Middle East, and the Asia Pacific, where demand is increasing. Consumers in China and its neighbours are shifting towards healthier and better-tasting food, and blueberries offer just this combination. The rising demand has resulted in a fast growth in market share.
ABB Growers can produce blueberries year-round due to its network of growers in Africa, South America, South and Eastern Europe, and Turkey. The company has invested in building relationships in different parts of the world, with a 19% increase in partners annually. To meet the increasing demand, investments have been made in a new packing facility, which can accommodate 120 tons of blueberries per day. The facility is said to be the largest and most efficient in the world.
The new packing facility can accommodate 120 tons of blueberries per day. // © Eurofresh Distribution Magazine
“The increase in consumption of blueberries is growing in every continent except Antarctica,” added Douven. “We see no competition from other soft fruit. The consumer buys both strawberries and blueberries. It is not a question of one or the other.”
When asked how Brexit will affect its operations, Douven is confident that the firm has ample time to adjust to the new policies, and is prepared to face the changes in export procedures. He also added that demand will not be affected at all.
ABB Growers is a Dutch company that began in 1985 with a focus on growing blueberries and asparagus. It has expanded its network globally by building strong relationships with growers through representation and fair prices. In 2014, the company diversified to sorting and packing the same products.