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Mushroom companies seeking innovation

Edward Vonk on Banken Champignons Group stand at Fruit Logistica 2020 // © Eurofresh Distribution

 

The Western European market is eating less meat and vegan options are gaining traction. With this, the interest in mushrooms as protein-rich alternatives is also growing.  Banken Champignons, a proud Dutch mushroom specialist, is continuously pushing new ways to prepare mushrooms, working together with Westland Mushrooms to release innovative products such as cordyceps and pulled mushrooms.

 

cordyceps Mushroom - credit. Banken Champignons Group

© Banken Champignons Group

 

Under the same holding company as Banken Champignons Group, Banken Champignons is working together with Westland Mushrooms to launch cordyceps, its latest cultivations in the line of exotic mushrooms. Westland is a specialist in exotic mushrooms with its main market in the food service industry, while Banken Champignons is focused on the consumer and retail market as well as the food service industry. These innovative products have been launched in Spain and in Western Europe.

Made from smoked oyster mushrooms, pulled mushrooms are able to mimic the look and taste of pulled pork. The product was first launched in Western Europe and the Scandinavian region in January 2020. “Pulled Mushrooms are one of the many innovative products offered by our company. Our goal is to make preparations faster and easier for our consumers,” said Edward Vonk, marketing manager of Banken Champignons.

Pulled Mushroom - credit. Banken Champignons Group

© Banken Champignons Group

The growing concern for the environment now puts sustainability at the forefront of business initiatives and Banken Champignons sees sustainability in product packaging as a priority. As such, the company has developed new packaging made of cardboard which, in time, will replace plastic for all its retail goods.

Established in 1955 in the Netherlands, Banken Champignons Group extends its passion for mushrooms to consumers through innovative and exotic options. The company specialises in sourcing, producing, and packing a wide variety of mushrooms, and selling ready-to-eat options for consumers, such as the meal kits introduced in 2015 which contain mushroom varieties for different types of cooking /dishes. ‘The mushrooms to combine’ kits, which include Mushrooms for Pasta and Mushrooms for Meat versions, are aimed at introducing consumers to the various mushroom varieties and providing guidance in the preparation.

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Campaign to lower VAT on fruits and vegetables in Netherlands

Campaign to lower VAT on fruits and vegetables in Netherlands

 

Dutch organisations promoting healthy eating habits are calling for their government to remove VAT from fresh fruits and vegetables. In fact, there are already several European countries that have taken this step. These include Ireland, Malta, and the UK. Elsewhere, the rate is lower for fresh fruits and vegetables than for other products in some countries like Spain (4%), Latvia (5%) and Poland (5%), according to data published by EC Europe. EU regulations allow for a so-called special rate.

The Dutch are not consuming enough vegetables and are lagging behind the other Member States in this regard. Only around 30% of over-fifteen-year-olds surveyed reported that they eat fresh vegetables (excluding potatoes and juices) at least once a day. By contrast, the neighbouring Belgians are among the highest consumers of fresh vegetables, with over 70% reporting that they eat fresh vegetables at least once daily.

Photo: Lekker Holanda

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Dutch production of tomatoes, aubergines and strawberries on the rise

Whereas in 2005, there were 230 ha used for covered strawberry production in the Netherlands, this steadily grew over the years to 280 ha in 2015, an increase of 48%

Although the total acreage used for covered horticultural production in the Netherlands fell 13% in the past decade, from 10,540 ha in 2005 to 9,200 ha in 2015, for some products there was a spectacular climb. The most impressive figures are for strawberries. Whereas in 2005, there were 230 ha used for covered strawberry production, this steadily grew over the years to 280 ha in 2015, an increase of 48%. Moreover, it probably still offers potential for the future since the growth figures include a 7% rise in 2014 and 10% last year.

Production under glass is by far favoured over production under plastic. Strawberry production under glass saw a sharp rise in hectares in use to a total of 280 in 2015 (+75% since 2005), whereas the hectares used for production under plastic fell by 29 ha from 2005% to a total of 50 in 2015. However, the preference seems to shift a little since the figures for strawberry production under plastic show a turn in 2015 when a 25% increase of hectares was seen.

More vegetables

Total production of vegetables has seen an increase of 7% since 2005 to a total of 4,750 ha in 2015, although it should be noted that the acreage has been falling since 2010 from 4,990 ha. Aubergine is one of the vegetable categories on the rise. With a steady increase in hectares over the years, the product’s hectares used rose from 90 in 2005 to 110 in 2015, meaning 22% growth. Tomatoes are doing fairly well, too. Whereas covered tomatoes were produced on 1,400 ha in 2005, this came to 1,750 ha in 2015 (+25%).

Specifically, grape and cherry tomatoes are in demand. Grape tomatoes  saw an increase in hectares from 940 in 2005 to 1,260 in 2013 and have been steady ever since. For cherry tomatoes, the acreage grew by 63% over the last decade to a total of 130 ha in 2015. In 2015, grape tomatoes were produced on 13% less acreage than in 2014. Sweet peppers show a mixed picture. The total acreage fell 6% from 2005 to a total of 1,160 ha in 2015. Yellow and green peppers show a steady decrease, whereas red peppers picked up in 2015 again after years of decline.

The red pepper acreage grew by 3% in 2015 compared to 2014. The category other peppers is on the rise as well, tying in with reports from breeders that there is increased demand for sweet pointed peppers. Cucumbers are definitely coming to a slowdown with a drop in acreage of 14% over the past decade, and flowers and plants with a fall of 30% since 2005.