Posted on

Belgians spending on fresh organic food and drinks grew by 6% in 2017


The consumption of fresh organic food and drinks increased by 6% in 2017 in Belgium, while in the Flanders region, the increase was as high as 11%. Vegetables, fruit and potatoes continue to receive the greatest interest and represent 40% of the spending on organics. The share of people who buy organics at least once a week increased in 2017 and 90% of Belgians buy an organic product at least once a year. The market share of fresh organic food products increased from 3 to 3.2%.
The farm shop and the farmers’ markets are the channels with the highest percentage of organic products in the assortment, with one out of every five products being organic. The supermarket remains the main purchasing channel for organic products.

These results were recorded by GfK Belgium on behalf of VLAM. For this survey, the purchases of 5,000 Belgian households were continuously monitored. The table below shows the spending on organics in different regions of the country over a ten-year period.


Posted on

Russian imports of fruit and vegetables up by 17% in 2017


Russian imports of fresh fruit and vegetables have grown considerably over the past year. The total of 7.1 million tons arriving from abroad in 2017 constitutes a rise of 17% over the 2016 level. Nevertheless, this figure is still well below the 2013 level – the year before the trade embargo came into force – when almost 8.5 million tons of fresh fruit and vegetables were imported into Russia.  The recovery is due in part to the Russian Government lifting its own trade embargoes on various Turkish products in 2017 and also thanks to the arrival of record volumes of Ecuadorian bananas. There were also increases in imports from China, Egypt, Azerbaijan and Moldova.

Posted on

Overall turnover of Belgium’s association of horticultural cooperatives (VBT) remains stable

belgium frutas y verduras

The total turnover of all auctions affiliated with the VBT was very similar to 2016’s level, amounting to €944 million. This figure is 1.9% higher than that recorded for 2015 and 2.4% higher than 2014’s turnover. In the fruit sector, however, turnover in 2017 was up by 3.6% on 2016’s level. This rise was obtained in conditions of drought in the first semester, late spring frosts in April, a heat wave in June, moderate summer temperatures, high mid-October temperatures, and a particularly gloomy December. This led to a very volatile year in terms of supply, sales and pricing for many varieties of fruit and vegetables.

Fruit and vegetable production associated with VBT

Source: VBT

Posted on

30 year Biobest celebrations spark a lot of enthusiasm


During the weekend of September 8-10, Biobest celebrated its 30 year anniversary with a series of events in and around its Westerlo headquarters. Jean-Marc Vandoorne, Biobest CEO: “We’ve organized this celebration in honor of all the people who helped build Biobest into a leading global pollination and biocontrol company. Biobest founder Dr. Roland De Jonghe, father of commercial bumblebee rearing, endowed his team with a pioneering spirit. A large number of loyal customers and dedicated co-workers share the merits for a unique story of 30 years uninterrupted growth. Hence, an invitation to these people and their families, to celebrate, was well deserved.” More than 1500 people participated in the celebration weekend, and shared the drive to make Biobest even stronger to keep advancing towards a more sustainable agriculture.

Biobest’s international distributors gathered for international distributor days in Antwerp on Friday and Saturday. The event combined information exchange with time for networking and leisure activities. The group included a number of representatives from Biobest affiliates in various countries where Biobest has set up direct distribution activities. This group joined the Biobest employees for a huge birthday party in a festive tent, set-up at the site of the Biobest headquarters in Westerlo. Activities continued on Sunday, with an event for customers, employees and their families attended by around 1.000 people. A company tour, with supporting video presentations, a lot of activities for children, and of course, food and drinks were some of the key ingredients of a highly appreciated closing day.

Visitors also had the opportunity to visit the renovated offices. A major renovation had been undertaken to upgrade the Biobest offices, which had been completed just-in-time for the 30 years event.

CEO Jean-Marc Vandoorne: ”Thanks to our continued growth, there is a strong need but also the capability to invest in improved facilities. The new office floor at our headquarters is an important step that will enable us to further enhance our standards of service. We also have an ambitious program laid out for continued investments in our factories in Belgium and abroad. We are confident that this investment program will allow us to deal with a double challenge: keep up with rapidly growing demand and achieve a high standard of reliability of our production systems and supply chain. Our customers are counting on us to provide solutions allowing them to sustainably grow the healthy, high quality product that consumers expect. We are determined to help them succeed”.

 For more information, please contact

Posted on

Taiwan International Agricultural Week as an intermediary towards new south bound business opportunities


Taiwan possesses a variety of fruit and vegetable breeding and cultivating hinge techniques, and is also the leading country in agricultural research and development in the sub-tropical climate. We welcome you to the upcoming Taiwan agricultural week from 9th to 11th in November, to witness the extraordinary and advance Taiwan agricultural industry.

Organized by MY EXHIBITION and with associated partners together, the convention withheld multiple themes, including the “Taiwan treasure: Antrodia cinnamomea theme.” held by Antrodia cinnamomea Association of Taiwan Treasure. The “IOT intelligent farming theme” held by UAS Industry Alliance Committee. The “Applied Cold chain logistics theme” held by Global logistics Council of Taiwan. The “Natural Organics theme” held by the Association of Taiwan Organic Agriculture Promotion. Altogether providing popular and eye-catching topics for the exposition, attracting buyers attention, therefore expanding business opportunities.

MY EXHIBITION stated this year’s main scheme will be focusing on “Sustainable Agriculture”. Besides of co-hosting the international forum on “Agricultural technology innovation and prospect – Cycle, Sharing and Intelligence” with Taiwan Institute of Economic Research, MY EXHIBITION also withhold the “Business model of LED plant factory in Taiwan” and “Cold logistics as solution in farming produce” seminar with the Photonics Industry & Technology Development Association and Global Logistics Council of Taiwan. To explore future trends with experts from all fields, and to assist all participants to create new commercial chains and to elevate agricultural market competitiveness.

During the exposition, related activities will be held. This includes “one-on-one procurement meetings”, “Innovative Products and Technology Presentation”, “VCA -Vegan Cuisine Award by TAW”, and a variety of interesting activities which will deeply promote marketing values for every exhibitor. MY EXHIBITION also reach out to potential merchants of the countries according to Taiwan’s “new southbound Policy” brought out by the administrator. Both the agriculture and fishery exhibits combined, inviting 350 international traders to Taiwan, boosting arrangements between participants. Attracting an estimate of 5,500 Taiwan and international traders visiting and facilitating purchase opportunities.

The 2017 Taiwan agricultural week is a platform which demonstrates Taiwan’s refined agricultural industry, in which connects global traders to elevate business cooperations worldwide. During the 3-day exhibition, guests can have entry by exchanging your business card at the counter, we sincerely invite you to join us. For more information regarding the Taiwan agricultural week, please refer to our official website – (

Posted on

EU North-Western potato area has increased, as well as demand

The total consumption potato area in North-Western Europe, the NEPG area, has been estimated upon 578.821 ha, which is 4.6% more than last year and 8.3% more than the 5 years average. All 5 countries increased their potato area with Belgium on top with 5.4%. 

The total consumption potato area in North-Western Europe, the NEPG area, has been estimated upon 578.821 ha, which is 4.6% more than last year and 8.3% more than the 5 years average. All 5 countries increased their potato area with Belgium on top with 5.4%. 

This is based upon the NEPG (North-Western European Potato Growers) country estimations. The NEPG emphasizes that this does not automatically means that the harvest will increase also as the yields per hectare are more important for the final harvest than the area.

Almost 750 thousand tons more potatoes are desired
Due to the growth of the processing capacity and the export of ready product outside the EU, the NEPG estimates that there will be an additional need for raw material of around 750.000 tons for next season. Especially the Belgium processing capacity is expanding so the extra area here is in line with the increased demand.

Too early to estimate the yield
According to the NEPG it is still too early to estimate a total harvest. The last weeks it was extremely dry, with often restrictions for irrigation. The soon upcoming harvest of the Belgium early processing varieties is estimated to be 20 – 25% less than last year. However in spite of the drought the main crop is in good shape, especially in the UK. With the actual returning of the rain showers there is secondary growth reported which will be monitored carefully.

The weather and growing conditions in the coming weeks will be the determining criteria, realizing that most of the kilos are growing in July and mainly August. At this moment all scenarios are possible.
By the middle of August the NEPG will do a more specific estimation based upon trial digs.

Posted on

No shortage of banned fruit and vegetables in Russia

The embargo on EU and US products proves ineffective

The embargo on EU and US products proves ineffective

Despite the embargo imposed by Russian authorities on imports of certain products from the EU and the US, Russia’s supermarket shelves are teeming with apples, pears, peaches, apricots, cherries, tomatoes, aubergines, spinach and asparagus. By going through numerous intermediaries (as indicated by the accompanying documents), these fruits and vegetables make it through customs and phytosanitary controls. The exporting country, as indicated in the documents, is often one that has never previously exported to Russia, such as Liberia or Sierra-Leone, or one that does not even grow such products. For instance, Belarus is cited as a kiwi and pineapple producer.
Russia’s agricultural produce inspectorate, Rosselkhoznadzor, together with the customs office, has been taking to steps to detect such falsifications and is constantly adding to the list of “dubious” countries which are forbidden from exporting fruit and vegetables to Russia. These steps, however, are not proving very effective as each new ban merely leads to the emergence of new off-shore go-betweens.
Although the offices responsible for conducting inspections of imported produce regularly report uncovering containers of produce subject to embargo, this is mostly for show. Careful scrutiny of customs data makes it clear that these detected illegal batches are simply a drop in the ocean. For example, in the first five months of 2016, Cote d’Ivoire alone exported to Russia, Belarus and Kazakhstan more than 15 million tons of produce valued at almost US$100 million, and to Bosnia and Herzegovina 13.6 million tons worth US$13 million. Therefore, although Rosselkhoznadzor will continue trying to enforce the embargo, banned fruit and vegetables will still find ways into Russian supermarkets. After all, where there is demand, there will be supply. 


Posted on

Interpera 2017, International Pear Congress

The 10th edition of Interpera took place in Wenatchee in the state of Washington, USA. 
The congress has gathered more than 160 participants originating from 13 pear-producing countries: Australia, Canada, Chili, Mexico, Uruguay, New Zeeland, USA, Netherlands, Belgium, Italia, France, Spain and Bosnia. 
The states of Washington and Oregon are leaders in the US pear production especially in the Wenatchee and Yakima zones. 
A major meeting

This World Pear Congress has been co-organized by the Pear Bureau Northwest and AREFLH. Interpera is a yearly event. 
For growers and trading partners, it is a unique opportunity to share experiences on:
•    New pear varieties around the world
•    Production techniques
•    Improvement of pre-harvest and post-harvest quality
•    World trade
•    Consumption trends 

High-quality presentations have given an overview of the main specific problems for pears.  
The day after the congress was devoted to visit packaging units and orchards.

A developing and changing sector
The world production has been steadily increasing since 2002 from 15 million tonnes to reach 26 million in 2014.The world’s producer is China (18 million of tonnes) followed by Europe (2.400.000T), Argentina (860.000T) and the USA (830.000T). The world trade increased from 2,2 MT in 2005 to 2,7MT in 2015 whereas in Europe the trade reduced from 2.585.000T in 1995 to 2.394.000T in 2015 and 2.170.000 T in 2016. The trend is dominated by the Conference (18.000T in 2016), Abate Fetel (290.000 T) and Williams (250.000T).

A consumption growth still possible
The world consumption has increased since 2012 to more than 2kg per year and person. However, this phenomenon is unbalanced. For instance the Chinese consumption is 9,26 kg/pers/year and the Indian is 0,24 kg/pers/year. 

A larger varietal range
New promisinvarieties are arriving on the market. They are maingly red or two-toned. 
•    Spain : Celina, Carmen et Selena
•    France : Angelys
•    Netherlands and Belgium: Sweet Sensation, Xenia, Cepuna, Corina
•    USA : GEM
•    New Zeeland : PIQUA Boo

The next congress will be organized by a European country in 2018 or 2019. 

AREFLH (Assembly of the European Regions Producing Fruit Vegetable and Ornamental plants is a 15-years European association that was created by an initiative of Spanish, French and Italian regions to represent the voice of producing regions and producer organizations in Europe, with 20 regions and 23 producer organizations. Together they represent 40% of European fruit and vegetable production.
The main mission of AREFLH is:
•    to represent its 20 member regions and 22 AOPs, from 6 countries in Europe;
•    to defend the economic and social interests of the fruit, vegetable and horticultural sectors to the European authorities;
•    to foster exchanges of experience, partnerships and joint projects between regions and professional organisations;
•    to actively seek new solutions for the main issues which affect the future of the fruit and vegetables production in Europe.
Twitter : @areflh   @interpera    

The  Pear Bureau Northwest is a non-lucrative organization which promotes and develops the markets of Oregon and Washington pears. The pears coming from these states are distributed under the US Pears brand. 
Together these states produce almost 84% of national production and more than 94% of winter pears, except Bartlett, Bosc and Anjou pears. They represent also 92% of American exportations of fresh pears. 

The Pear Bureau groups 1600 producers and 50 stocking, packaging and expedition units. 
It co-organizes actions to increase the American fresh pear reputation and its consumption. In the internal market, selling managers work with national and regional retailers to create winning strategies.

Posted on

VII International Berries Congress to take place in August in Mexico

The 7th edition of the International Berries Congress will be held between 9th and 11th August 2017 at Expo Guadalajara. One thousand attendees are expected at an event which will bring new know-how and training, while showcasing the latest trends in varietal innovation and technology. Once again the congress will be coordinated by the National Exporters Association of Mexico (Aneberries). Over the course of these three days, attendees will be furnished with the latest information regarding the emerging markets, berry production technology, post-harvest handling, and TLCAN, as well as other subject areas related to exploring new approaches for Mexican and global agriculture.

Mexican berries ranked third in fresh produce exports

Mexican berries have been seeing constant growth and have today become Mexico’s third biggest income generator in agricultural exports, worth an average of US$1.6 million according to figures from the Economy Secretary in 2016. The Director General of Aneberries, Juan José Flores García, confirms this trend: “We are only below the numbers generated by tomatoes and avocados. We create over 210,000 decent jobs with social responsibility, and all on just 30,000 ha where the berries are grown, mainly in the states of Michoacán, Jalisco, Guanajuato, Colima, Baja California and others. The sector is expected to continue seeing solid growth thanks to the diversification of markets.”

Aneberries was founded in 2009 to bolster the Mexican berry industry into one united, organised and specialised association. It was also created to represent the common interests of a professional group so as to enable them to reach and maintain their utmost potential and prestige in an orderly, profitable and sustainable way. Currently, the 21 leading companies in the sector form part of its directory. Together, they account for 85% of the Mexican berry industry.


Posted on

Award for Best International Initiative for Marketing Fresh Produce to Children

The “Kids Are Our Future” award, sponsored by The Embassy of the Netherlands in the UK on behalf of the Dutch fresh fruit and vegetable sector, will be presented at The London Produce Show and Conference on June 8.

Produce Business UK and The London Produce Show and Conference have launched an international competition that will award one company or marketing organisation with its first annual International Award for Marketing Fresh Produce to Children.

The “Kids Are Our Future” award, sponsored by The Embassy of the Netherlands in the UK on behalf of the Dutch fresh fruit and vegetable sector, will be presented at The London Produce Show and Conference on June 8, during the Keynote Breakfast Session at the Grosvenor House Hotel in Mayfair, London.

“With all the troubles around the globe, one thing that unites us all is that everyone wants their children to grow up strong and healthy …  and that means more consumption of fruits and vegetables,” said Jim Prevor, editor-in-chief of Produce Business UK and the founder of The London Produce Show and Conference, now celebrating its fourth year.

The competition will celebrate the organisation that has delivered a real stand-out campaign to promote and increase fresh produce consumption to children, with messaging that resonates across all borders. It is open to suppliers of produce as well as international marketing groups, retailers, foodservice distributors/operators and charitable/government entities.

“It’s important that children from a young age learn to eat a healthy diet with plenty of fresh fruits and vegetables,” said Martijn Bergmans, Agricultural Adviser at The Embassy of The Netherlands in the United Kingdom. “As The Netherlands is a large exporter of fruits and vegetables, we are keen to see how operations within the produce industry in all four corners of the globe utilise their marketing prowess to encourage children to increase their intake of fresh produce.”

As a showcase of global leadership in efforts to increase produce consumption in the younger generation, this competition will celebrate the winning organisation’s industry-leading marketing activities and inspire their peers to improve their own marketing endeavors to raise awareness and make fresh fruits and vegetables more attractive to children.

The deadline for entering your organisation’s 2017 promotions into this year’s first annual International Award for Marketing Fresh Produce to Children is midnight on May 26.
The contest honours the best marketing promotions from all segments of the fresh produce industry — from growers/packers/importers/exporters to retailers/foodservice operations/distributors to trade associations, marketing groups and charitable/government entities.
The criteria for the award is based on originality, creativity, call-to-action, execution based on budgetary constraints, and significance of results. Examples of possible promotions — commenced within the past 12 months — can draw on, but are not limited to, the following:

Use of social media to encourage families with children to buy fresh produce and cook healthier food
Cause marketing campaigns
Point-of-sale signage
Kid-specific web pages
Produce supplier collaboration
Kid-oriented recipes
Vouchers/coupons and promotions to encourage purchase
360-marketing strategy oriented toward produce for children
Educational and consumer outreach programming
Involvement of registered dietitians
Nutritional information
Tips on choosing, storing and cooking specific produce items
Day-part marketing to encourage produce at breakfast, lunch, dinner and snacking
Efforts before, during and after back-to-school periods
Outreach to classrooms/community
If your organisation has conducted a successful promotion over the past year, and you would like to nominate your campaign to win the award, click here.

For more information, email