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BFV – Dole China on the 10 year anniversary of Truval Conference Pears in China

BFV – Dole China on the 10 year anniversary of Truval Conference Pears in China
Photo: BFV

On January 22nd, 2011 BFV and Dole China held a joint official opening ceremony in Shanghai to receive the very first container of Truval Conference Pears – the very first western pear to be officially imported to China, after years of negotiation between the two countries. To celebrate this landmark occasion both Dole China and BFV will launch 2021 as the official 10 year anniversary year of this historic partnership, and at the same time celebrate 50 years of diplomatic relations between Belgium and China.

Since that moment, 10 years ago the BFV-Dole partnership has gone from strength to strength, as Europe’s number one pear has gradually captured the hearts of Chinese consumers all over the country. Even with other pear varieties having become available in the years since, Truval Conference Pears is recognized by both Chinese consumers and industry experts alike as the number one western pear reference in the Chinese market.

This partnership of Dole China, one of the leading fruit importers and distributors in China, with BFV, one of Europe’s biggest grower co-operatives and biggest supplier of Conference Pears in the world, has proven to be a match made in heaven as it was able to plan, market and promote the Conference Pears gradually in all major markets and regions across the country. This strategic approach has proven key in educating consumers and professionals with the unique smooth taste of the Conference Pear variety and in managing to exponentially increase its year-on-year sales volume this past decade. In this aspect Dole and Truval’s efforts did not go unrecognized as they were awarded with the Marketing Campaign of the Year at Asia Fruit Logistica in 2017, noting both BFV and Dole’s efforts in the past decade in running a highly structured and consistent campaign in China to educate professionals and consumers about Conference pears, demonstrating how to best organize logistics, store, handle, taste and enjoy the fruit.

Mr. Terry Chan, General Manager of Dole China reflects as follows on the historic past decade; “I believe this 10-year journey is just a beginning for both of us. With the joint efforts and cooperation from strength to strength, we will cheer for the next brilliant decade soon.“

Mr. Marc Evrard, Commercial Director at BFV looks on both the past and the future: “This achievement is clearly a testament to the faith, persistence, commitment and teamwork for all involved in the BFV & Dole China partnership, without whom introducing a new product in a new market would not have been possible. At the same time we look forward to celebrating many more such milestones together in the years and decades to come.”

To celebrate the momentous occasion of both the 10 year anniversary and 50 years diplomatic relations between their two countries, BFV and Dole will host a wide range of events and marketing initiatives to both trade and consumers. In addition, a brand new Truval Conference Pear gift box was launched last month to key retailers highlighting Belgium’s and China’s unique cultural bond to wide acclaim of the sector. The near future also holds other exciting prospects for the BFV-Dole partnership as not only will they further market other varieties such as Sweet Sensation, but preparations are in the works for the launch of the exclusive Red Conference Pear varieties

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First Belgian cherries of the new season are for the healthcare heroes from Sint-Trudo hospital in Sint-Truiden

First Belgian cherries of the new season are for the healthcare heroes from Sint-Trudo hospital in Sint-Truiden


Sint-Truiden, June 2, 2020 – After this Pentecost weekend, the first Belgian cherries from Hoepertingen (Haspengouw) were auctioned at BFV in Sint-Truiden and donated to the healthcare heroes of the Covid-19 department of the Sint-Trudo hospital by fruit grower Theo Jammaers. The cherries are from an early tunnel cultivation of Bellise and Samba, the new early maturing varieties in cherry cultivation. These varieties have firm flesh and a sweet taste.

For health reasons, Theo had to quit the fruit company Fancy Fruit a few years ago, which he ran with his wife Marleen. During that period when he was hospitalized in Sint-Trudo hospital, he was very well cared for by the hospital staff and now he has the opportunity to give something back to them. Cherries have always been his favorite fruit and he never misses an opportunity to introduce others to his passion.

Theo set up the tunnel cultivation ten years ago to offer early cherries as a first at the Plant Days of Castle Hex in Heers, during the second weekend of June. This year everything is different, but together with the good weather and the beautiful region, Haspengouw, it is good to enjoy juicy Belgian cherries!


For more information, you can contact:
Karel Belmans,
Field Coordinator BFV

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World pear leader supplies optimum quality

World pear leader supplies optimum quality

BFV increases its portfolio of successful brands and supplies 120,000 tons of exceptionally high quality pears.

With 120,000 tons of pears, BFV represents more than a third of Belgium’s production. Its CEO, Filip Lowette, has confirmed the more acceptable price levels recorded this year compared with the 2018/2019 campaign, which was affected by heat and drought. The Sweet Sensation pear is the only variety registering a poorer season, with a 50% reduction in the harvested volumes. BFV enjoyed a good season, with a 40% increase in turnover during the last trimester of 2019 compared with 2018, thanks also to the more balanced EU crop, which totalled around 2.1 million tons. BFV increased its supply of organic fruit to 5,000 tons, with 245ha of certified orchards and more under conversion.

Belgica, Morgana & Joly Red rising stars

The Belgica variety propelled BFV once again to a successful start to the apple season, with 2,000 tons marketed at a good price, due to its splendid fruit quality, colour and taste. Introduced four years ago, Joly Red is the second youngest variety club. It appeals to consumers in the Middle East and Far East due to its attractive flavour (Envy and Fuji type), high levels of colour (80% red) and sugar (+15º brix). Morgana is the latest variety club, launched by BFV in 2019, and with 40ha planted so far in Belgium. Its superior eating qualities are positioning it in the higher segment of the apple market. Significant volumes will be offered from 2020 in partnership with Melinda in Italy, Krings Obstbau Vertriebs in Germany and Margraeten Fruitveiling in Holland. Jonagold and Jonagored are still the major apple varieties at BFV. The smaller calibres of this season make it more suitable for export markets like India and the UK.

BFV’s berry success story

The firm continues its strong growth in the berry and cherry category, with 3,000 tons of strawberries and 3,500 tons of cherries (+50%) marketed in 2019. The cherry season runs from mid-June until mid-August, with the main varieties being Kordia, Regina and Sweetheart. Every fruit is graded and hydro-cooled using Unitech technology. Strawberries are supplied for over 9 months from March, combining all growing systems of soil, covered and hydroponics.

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Belgian pears closer to Brazil entry

Earlier this month an extensive delegation from Brazil, led by Minister of Agriculture Blairo Maggi, visited Belgium. Among items on the agenda for the visit was market access for Belgian pears.

The Belgian Fruit Auction (Belgische Fruitveiling/BFV) is optimistic about soon gaining market access for its pears in Brazil.

Earlier this month an extensive delegation from Brazil, led by Minister of Agriculture Blairo Maggi, visited Belgium. Among items on the agenda for the visit was market access for Belgian pears.

During a breakfast meeting in Brussels, Marc Evrard, commercial director of BFV, which is Belgium’s largest top fruit cooperative, made the case for admitting Belgian-grown Conference pears into Brazil.

The BFV is understood to anticipate shortly gaining market access.

While making the case for allowing imports of Belgium’s Conference pears into Brazil, BFV commercial director Marc Evrard (left) gifts a box of Truval pears to Blairo Maggi (middle), Brazil’s Minister of Agriculture, and Mr. Odilson Silva (right), Secretary of Agribusiness International Relations to the Minister of Agriculture.

According to a recent USDA Gain report, EU pear exports to Brazil were down in the 2015/16 marketing year (July/June) due to lower production in Portugal. Despite the low harvest of Rocha pears in Portugal last year, EU exports to Brazil in 2016/17 are expected to slightly increase, it said.

Three years ago, Dutch Conference pears gained access to the Brazilian market. Although still small scale, exports tripled to 200 tons in 2015/16 and are expected to grow further this year, the report said.

Table from USDA Gain report ‘EU-28 Fresh Deciduous Fruit Annual 2016’

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BFV: fruits of perfection

Screenshot 2016-09-02 at 5

Leading Belgian firm confirms excellent season for new Sweet Sensation pear and Belgica and Joly Red apple varieties

“The three varieties are proving a big success on the Belgian and German markets, where they have achieved good quality positioning,” said Filip Lowette. The Conference pear export season ended in mid-June with record export volumes: 105,000 tons were sold, 5,000 tons more than last year. BFV has strengthened its position on the Belgian, European and Chinese markets too, with sales of 10,000 to 15,000 tons per month. The company has also been able to respond to all the additional demand from European volume retailers interested in Belgian fruit. The 2015/16 apple season saw 95,000 tons marketed while summer fruit sales were 10,000 tons. “The absence of the Russian market is a real concern for our organisation,” Lowette said. European apple stocks at 1 April 2016 stood at 2 million tons, double those of six years earlier (01/04/2007).

Truval Classic, Jonaplus and Joly Red

BFV has also been able to achieve genuine value added for its growers with club labels for top-class Truval Classic, Jonaplus and Joly Red apples.  “In the context of strong competition, quality rather than price has become the main criterion for competitiveness,” Lowette pointed out. BFV’s principal label, Truval, continues to make the difference as it is recognised both at home and on European and international markets.

This year’s crop of the new Joly Red apple variety is expected to be around 4000 tons. Its launch has positioned it as a top of the range variety and it is showing very good potential demand in Belgium, Germany, the United Kingdom and Scandinavia. “Asia is also showing strong interest in Joly Red,” Lowette added.

Cherries to measure

BFV is continuing to professionalise its supplies of summer fruit, particularly cherries, thanks to better variety selection and a perfect cold chain. New varieties in larger sizes and with better eating and keeping quality are being planted every year. The orchards are protected by netting to ensure the volume potential and quality of the fruit. The selection system is equipped with electronic graders and hydrocoolers to extend the fruit’s shelf life by a week. “Every year we are seeing more interest in this type of product from major retailers in Belgium and neighbouring countries, “ said Lowette.

Regarding the estimates for the next crop of apples and pears the BFV is expecting by mid-August a clair information from its farm members.


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BFV a world leader with Sweet Sensations

bfv apples

Belgium’s leading fruit organisation diversifies with exclusive varieties and premium berries.

The world’s largest pear organisation, with 125,000 tons of conference pears marketed, also distinguishes itself at the upper end of the apple segment with exclusive varieties. BFV’s Joly Red, Belgica, Jonaplus and Truval Classic apples are making waves among retail customers in Europe and further abroad. The sweet and attractive Joly Red apple was introduced for the second year with 1,400 tons and the highest expectations. “Our production potential for 2016 is situated between 3,000 and 4,000 tons,” said Belgian Fruit Veiling CEO Filip Lowette. “We now see its market potential and are very confident in the future due to the very good response from retail chains,” he said. “We also see rising interest in some new markets, such as in Asia, for the Belgica apple variety.” Belgica is an early autumn variety, bicolour between Elstar and Gala, but sweeter than Elstar and with more character than Gala. Red Love, in the cooking segment, is another distinctive variety and appreciated for its exclusive red flesh, firmness and higher acidity. Jonagold and Jonagored, however, remain BFV’s main apple varieties, with 50,000 tons marketed from origin.

Increasing success with cherries and berries

The success of the bicolour pear Sweet Sensation is confirmed by the short marketing period ending before the end of the year with high prices. About 1,700 tons were marketed this season and BFV expects production to double this year.

But BFV has also become a benchmark in redcurrants, being the largest Belgian organisation providing this berry over a long period. “We market our premium fruit for 7 months, from June until December, thanks to advanced storage in modified atmosphere.” The cooperative seldom has volumes available until the end of the year, due to its extra quality. This fruit is sold in the domestic market, as well as in France, Germany, Spain and Italy. BFV is also having increasing success with cherries thanks to the plantation of new varieties and a 50% production increase this season. Kordia, Regina and Sweet-Heart are the main cherry varieties offered, with a record production of 1,500 tons in 2015. All the fruit is electronically graded and hydro-cooled, which allows a shelf life of up to three weeks, and sold in attractive and micro-perforated bags. “We had a good experience with 5kg bag cherries,” Lowette said. All the plantations are net protected, in order to guaranty the quality and the continuity of the supply.

About 3,500 tons of strawberries were also being marketed this season, from March to December, with both open field and greenhouse cultivation. Portola and Charlotte are the main varieties grown in the field, followed by Elsanta, Sonata and Clery in greenhouse. BFV also increased its production of strawberries during summer. Doyenné du Comice is the first pear variety produced in the season, available in large quantities of 3,000-4,000 tons. “Our pears have a very nice skin finish, with clear colour,” Lowette said.

A record year of 230,000 tons, with full safety

It’s a record season for BFV, quality and quantity-wise, with more than 230,000 tons marketed: 125,000 tons of pears, 95,000 of apples and 10,000 of summer fruit. The new 2015 harvest registers exceptional taste and very high sugar levels of 13.5–14ºC. “Both European and Asian customers are very concerned about taste,” Lowette said. The highest quality level and attractive prices help make the cooperative competitive overseas, in China and India in particular. The cooperative supplies the wholesale markets of the largest cities, such as Delhi, Mumbai, Chennai, Hyderabad, Cochin and Bangalore.

The auction remains its dominant sales tool, covering 70-80% of its pear volumes and 50% for apples. The variety ‘clubs’ are all sold under programme. “We have renewed all our food safety certificates, at a high level,” Lowette said. The cooperative complies with BRC, IFS, GLOBALG.A.P., and QS. Its member farms together span close to 6,500 ha of fruit plantations, accounting for about half of all Belgium’s fruit production.