The Belgian cooperative supplies tasty tomatoes and berries the more sustainable way.
“We’ve changed from plastics to cardboard as all of our strawberries customers are asking for plastic-free packaging,” said Luc Bruneel, sales and marketing manager of the cooperative. However, Hoogstraten also still uses recycled and biodegradable plastics: “It is up to the customer to decide whether they want less plastics or plastics-free packaging,” said Bruneel. Taste is the other major priority for the cooperative. “Our 200 growers invest heavily in new technologies in order to be more sustainable and provide year-round products with the same quality,” said Bruneel. “The Home of Quality” is the main message conveyed by Hoogstraten, which is globally renowned for its guarantee of taste, freshness, shelf-life and colour. “We promise balance and progress. In order to stimulate consumption, Hoogstraten producers are aware that bringing flavour and taste are the keys,” said Bruneel.
€300 million turnover and first carbon-neutral packing station
The cooperative’s annual turnover totals around €300 million, equally divided between berries and vegetables, tomato, bell pepper and cucumber. Berries are supplied all over Europe, from March until December. Tomatoes are mainly delivered to Northern Europe. Belgium represents about 30% of the turnover. Hoogstraten’s growers are aware that future growth must be linked to greater sustainability. Indeed, cooperative member Den Berk is running the first carbon-neutral packaging station in Europe, which uses solar energy, water reuse and a co-generation plant.