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Steady rise in fruit & veg imports in Nordic markets

Nordic countries import €1.74 billion in vegetables and €2.77 billion in fruit

Over the last 3 years, volumes have increased by 8% for vegetables and 5% for fruit.

Sweden and Norway are the top importers for both the fruit and vegetable categories.

Norway – €1.45 billion import market

In 2015, Norway imported 446,212 tons of vegetables with a value of €548.8 million and 543,311 tons of fresh fruit worth €904.7 million.

Norway is Scandinavia’s second biggest importer after Sweden and the steady growth in its fresh produce imports reached a peak last year. The most valuable fresh vegetable imports into Norway are tomatoes, worth €107.7 million, followed by cauliflower and cabbages at €54.8 million.

Most fresh vegetables in Norway come from Spain. In fruit, Norway is a big importer of citrus (129,628 tons) and apples and pears (111,038 tons). In 2015, 60% of Norway’s apples came from Italy.

In contrast to Sweden, supplied by the Netherlands, Norway imports more from Spain, with a total value of €92.9 million in 2014 and €116.9 million for fresh fruits. Dutch imports reached €74.94 million.

The number one partner in Scandinavia is Denmark, with €9.7 million of fresh produce traded.

Sweden – the leading Nordic fresh produce market

In 2015, Sweden imported 768,832 tons of fruit for a total value of €1.03 billion and 522,103 tons of fresh vegetables for a total value of €627.37 million.

Imports from European countries increased by 13.5% for vegetables and 18% for fruits on average. In 2015, Germany was the main supplier (€236.62 million), followed by Spain (€163.58 million).

The most popular imported vegetables in Sweden are tomatoes, with 89,135 tons, and potatoes, with 52,846 tons. Carrot volumes saw the most important rise (24%).

In the fruit category, citrus (144,751 tons), and apples and pears (112,439 tons) were the most traded with Sweden. Both represent almost 50% of the total volume of fruit imports. In 2015, the import trend is more focused on melons (+13%), bananas (+12%), apples and pears (+11%) and berries (+10%), while grapes decreased by 17%.

Denmark – sourcing more in the EU

In 2015, Denmark imported 440,498 tons of fruit for a total value of €657.8 million and 384,697 tons of fresh vegetables for a total value of nearly €357.6 million. Imports from European countries increased by 10% in volume, in contrast to imports from outside the EU, which dropped by 33%.

The most popular imported vegetables in Denmark are potatoes (€1.2 million in 2015), accounting for a third of the country’s total vegetable imports.

Denmark has supplied more tomatoes (+8%), cabbages (+8%), lettuce (+4%) and carrots (+13%).

Citrus is the top fruit import and import volumes have remained stable over the last 3 years (82, 529 tons in 2015). While banana import volumes fell by 9%, exotics and melons rose by 15% and 22% respectively from 2013 to 2015. 

Finland – addicted to fruit

Finnish imports of fresh produce are the lowest among Scandinavian countries. In 2015, Finland imported 339,060 tons of fruit for a total value of €432.5 million and 180,092 tons of vegetables for a total value of €241.16 million.

Some 96% of fresh produce imports come from European countries, although Finland is increasingly sourcing further afield for its exotics and bananas. In 2015, import values reached roughly €27.9 million from Germany, €72 million from Spain and €90.5 million from the Netherlands.

In 2015, Sweden was the top supplier for Finland (€17.3 million). Vegetable imports have fallen 4.5% over the last 3 years, while Finland has been sourcing more and more fruit, especially exotics: banana (+189%), dates, figs (+177%) and coconut (+21%).

In vegetables, potato imports have suffered considerably, with a fall of 46%, while onions and carrots dropped by 11% and 3% respectively.

SM 

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VI.P focuses on technology and quality service

VI.P has 7 cooperatives and 1,730 producers who work in the Venosta Valley in the Italian Alps.

The Horticultural and Fruit Co-Operatives Association, Val Venosta (VI.P), has noteworthy innovations such as BIOgraphy, a traceability and transparency system by means of which the end customer can consult the website www.biography.vip.coop to find the farmers that have grown every one of the apples from VI.P’s organic line and where the fruit comes from.

As for the rest of its production, a QR code on its apple labels and on the back of its packaging links smartphones and tablets to the website www.lookbehind.vip.coop, where videos and texts on where each piece of fruit comes from are available.

In addition, VI.P is working on expanding its range of club varieties, including apples like Kanzi©, Envy© and Ambrosía©.

Furthermore, it is keeping up its investments in maintenance and improving structures, automating the third warehouse within the association of cooperatives and installing a new waxing line for the red varieties to add to the three existing ones.

VI.P has 7 cooperatives and 1,730 producers who work in the Venosta Valley in the Italian Alps.

Every year it harvests an average of 350,000 tons of Val Venosta apples, its main product, distributing them among 50 international markets, most notably Italy (which accounts for 50% of the produce), Germany, Scandinavia, eastern countries, North Africa and the Middle East, where it plans to continue to expand its penetration.

Spain accounts for 7-8% of VI.P sales.

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Grupo Armando Alvarez launches more flexible system

The Armando Alvarez group is adding a new product to its order list – Flex Alvatank, a flexible system that can accumulate quantities from 1-500 cubic metres of any liquid.

 

The Armando Alvarez group is known as a manufacturer of high quality plastics, both rigid and flexible, for covering greenhouses, as well as of mulches for soil-grown crops and soil disinfection films, among others.

And now it is adding a new product to its order list.

“We are currently launching our Flex Alvatank, a more flexible system that can accumulate any quantity from 1 to 500 cubic metres of any liquid,” said José Herrera from export sales.

Grupo Armando Alvarez exports to over 90 countries, spanning South and North America, Africa, Asia, Europe and the Middle East, and has annual revenue of €700 million. 

 

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Peak Quality more asparagus and blueberries

Peak Quality's business strategy consists of consolidating its foothold in markets where it is already present, such as Spain, the largest European market for its exports, followed by the Netherlands, the UK and Italy, prior to further expansion.

Located in the city of Ica, 300 kilometres south of Lima, Peak Quality is a company founded in 2005 dedicated to the cultivation, packaging and export of fresh green asparagus.

“We’re a production company with 200 ha of our own cultivation. We also buy in produce from other certified farmers in the area but our aim is to gradually increase our own production area in the years to come.” said head of operations Carlos Aparcana.

The company shifts an annual volume of 900,000 5kg boxes, exporting 60% to the US and 40% to Europe.

Although today the firm is 100% dedicated to asparagus, it is seeking to diversify its production, starting with blueberry cultivation, the first harvest of which was due in August this year.

The goal for 2017 will be to find new growth areas for both products.

Peak Quality’s business strategy consists of consolidating its foothold in markets where it is already present, such as Spain, the largest European market for its exports, followed by the Netherlands, the UK and Italy, prior to further expansion.

“Our added value is that, being a medium-sized company, we are able to provide a fast response and personalised attention in line with the customers’ needs. We also aim to have ongoing production, to be able to supply asparagus year-round,” Aparcana said.

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Trecoop supplies 15 million kg of pears

Trecoop is capable of producing 30 million kg of fruit.

Although Trecoop is capable of producing 30 million kg of fruit, this campaign the supplies will fall by about 20% to 25 million kilos due to the low winter temperatures that have noticeably reduced the different varieties of fruit.

Thus, the co-operative from Lérida is expecting production of 15 million kg of pear varieties and about 10 million kg of stone fruit (peaches, nectarines, Saturn peaches and flat nectarines).

As regards pears, Trecoop produces 6 million kg of the Williams variety, which is produced from July to November. This variety has been highly prized when fresh since the EU uncoupled aid to industry related to it. Brazil is a very important market for this item.

The Limonera pear, which is one of the main varieties offered by the Catalan company, arrives at the start of July with another 3 million kg.

Conference pears account for another 3 million kg of production and have given Trecoop worldwide fame as one of the true specialists in this variety.

“Our quality, elasticity and capacity for adaptation to the different protocols and needs of each client have given us a very good image. Our Alosa and Trecoop brands are known on the international markets,” said Trecoop general director Ignasi Gonzalez.

He highlighted the continued campaign presence in the markets of the Baltic republics, Columbia and islands such as Martinique and Reunion.

Despite Trecoop’s preparation and readiness for export, Gonzalez said that “working with the Americas must economically compensate the production work in the field, processing and logistics involved, since we are well established in the local and European markets with 70% of our sales.”

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Fama introduces Israeli varieties of mandarins

Fama has  7,000 ha of citrus farms in the provinces of Entre Rios and Corrientes, with 50% oranges and 50% mandarins.

Thirty years after it was founded, Fama S.A. now occupies a significant place within the production and exportation of fresh citrus from Entre Ríos and Corrientes, Argentina.

The company has 20 owners from three generations of fruit producers whose mentality is aimed at producing quality fruit.

Today Fama has 7,000 ha of citrus farms in the provinces of Entre Rios and Corrientes, with 50% oranges and 50% mandarins.

For the latter, the company has been making contracts to have exclusive, patented varieties such as Orri, of Israeli origin.

Commercial director Alberto Lavino Zona explained: “This enables us to be always a little ahead of our competitors. Also, at times when there is too much fruit, by having what nobody else has it is easier to sell it.”

He went on to describe the company’s strategy, which is based on three prongs: “Innovation in varieties, where we are entering the field of red Israeli varieties, which are very valuable and take five years to develop; we are not thinking of increasing the area but improving technology to get greater production per hectare and a better yield, making the work more effective; and having varieties the market seeks, thus being more competitive.”

Although the most significant market is Russia, which accounts for 50% of the volume exported, it is currently present in 30 markets and the idea is to continue growing and opening up new ones.

“What has differentiated us from our competitors is that we have always been opening up markets according to the type of fruit we produce and trying to maximise the value of each variety and each calibre.”

Interested in opening up the US market, Lavino Zona underlined the need to have the backing of the Argentine government to bring down tariffs barriers. 

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Morando – the red apple specialist for Asian markets

A privileged sales relationship with overseas markets is the unique quality of Morando Trading SRL, a fruit and vegetable exportation company from the Verona area.

A privileged sales relationship with overseas markets is the unique quality of Morando Trading SRL, a fruit and vegetable exportation company from the Verona area that grew out of the historic company Morando & C SRL, which was founded in 1982 and also specialised in the industry.

Morando & C SRL sales director Christian Morando said the company ” works mostly with markets in the Far East, where our leading products are exported such as kiwis, grapes and apples.

“The common characteristic of these markets is the demand for the very highest quality, particularly as far as red apples are concerned, but we have decided to go further, and we are placing great focus on production that responds to the customer’s specifications as well.”

These are distant and demanding markets in which very exacting quality parameters and rigid phytosanitary regulations must be met.

“We do a lot of work both with Hong Kong and India and with Middle Eastern countries such as the United Arab Emirates and Qatar. In particular, we are doing a lot of work with red apples in the Gala and Golden Delicious varieties, which are in high demand in the Middle East and the Far East.

“The common denominator is quality; it is only with quality that the challenge of the competition can be met,” Morando said.

And a strictly customerfocused strategy is required to meet this challenge.

“Our sales strategy provides a direct relationship with our customers, and my sister Katia Morando, sales director of Morando Trading SRL, is the one who takes care of this,” he said

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Filósofo – at the cutting-edge in varietal innovation

“Years ago, exporting Spanish citruses to Asia or America was unthinkable, but nowadays we can do it thanks to the emergence of these new varieties, which can withstand a voyage of several weeks.”

A pioneer in exporting Navelina and with over 60 years’ experience in the business, the company Exportaciones Aranda is characterised by backing new varieties which will distinguish it from the rest of what is on offer. A new variety must always improve upon the previously existing supply in terms of calibre, colour and flavour.

In this regard, Exportadora Aranda manager Pedro Aranda, said: “It’s very important that the customer doesn’t have any problems when receiving the fruit, so the requirements for new varieties is that that they have a good flavour, are stable and have a long shelf-life.” This latter point has become a priority due to the increasing presence of citrus from Valencia in overseas markets.

“Years ago, exporting Spanish citruses to Asia or America was unthinkable, but nowadays we can do it thanks to the emergence of these new varieties, which can withstand a voyage of several weeks,” Aranda said.

Filósofo, its prestigious and famous own brand, markets a wide range of seedless varieties. In mandarins, the offer ranges from Tango, Orri and Queen to Murcott seedless.

And in oranges, the most outstanding are the Powell Navel and Valencia Late in their respective varieties, Delta and Midnight.

“When a variety is good in itself, it does the work of seducing the final consumer. And our job consists of respecting that there is a precise moment for harvesting it so that it is perfect, neither sooner or later,” Aranda said.

In the short term, the Valencian company’s aim is to increase its current volume from 60 million to 90 million kg.

To handle this significant increase in volume, the Valencian company has invested €3.5 million into increasing its infrastructure and innovating cutting-edge machinery.

 

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La Unión research & new designs

Alhóndiga La Unión was set up in 1993 to work with employees, suppliers and customers to achieve greater profitability for farmers, providing the consumer with produce that meets the highest food safety standards

Alhóndiga La Unión is a leading company in the Spanish and European sector.

This year, it is carrying out several research projects, such as Biovege and Decidrop, with which it intends to develop and improve the entire agricultural life cycle.

In addition, Alhóndiga La Unión has rolled out phase 2 of the watermelon production line, an investment that will ensure greater efficiency and speed. Around 65% of the firm’s produce is exported to European markets, with Germany, France and Poland the main destinations.

The main export items are: Cucumber, pepper and courgette. The company’s objectives are based on covering all the product varieties demanded by their clients and taking in the entire domestic production cycle.

Alhondiga La Unión is a major company in the European scope, specialising in trading fruit and vegetables, at all times ensuring quality and food safety in its produce. It is important to note that 90% of production is destined to large-scale retail distribution.

Alhóndiga La Unión is committed to food quality and safety as its core message, as director-general Jesus Barranco, explains: “The key to marketing success is the combination of quality vegetables and food safety.”

Moreover, Barranco said  that in terms of brand image they have now begun using new packaging designs, which will gradually be extended through time. Since 2006, the company is certified under the UNE-EN ISO/IEC 17025 standard, as well as Global Gap, GRASP, Integrated Production, BRC and IFS.

Alhóndiga La Unión was set up in 1993 to work with employees, suppliers and customers to achieve greater profitability for farmers, providing the consumer with produce that meets the highest food safety standards. The product range includes cucumber, pepper, tomato, courgette, aubergine, beans, watermelon and melons.

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Rivoira focuses on its new facility and new varieties

Rivoira & Figli’s new automated facility is one of the most modern apple processing facilities of its kind in the world, allowing it to serve its customers faster and better.

There are many innovations that define the start of this apple harvest season for Rivoira & Figli, one of them being the start of operations at its new automated facility in August.

It is one of the most modern apple processing facilities of its kind in the world, according to Marco Rivoira, and will allow customers to be served faster and better.

“We are very excited and we expect to reach full operational capacity by the beginning of October, coinciding with the key stage in the apple season, which seems to be off to a good start with markets, including foreign ones, showing interest in the product,” he said.

“Of course, there are some uncertainties, such as how long the Russian embargo will last or the difficult situation in North Africa, but the forecasts are similar to those of last year in terms of volume, characterised by far superior quality, with ideal colouration and perhaps slightly smaller but satisfactory sizes.”

“We continue to be highly satisfied with the output from Ambrosia, which after three strong years at moderate volumes has experienced a leap in production, going from 12,000 to 16,000 tons of product.

“We have decided to launch a publicity and promotion campaign to last the full length of the season, including a variety of activities at points of sale, at wholesalers and in the press, and for next year, in partnership with the VI.P cooperative of Val Venosta, we are aiming to add 25,000 tons to consolidate our presence on markets such as Germany and the UK.

“In that year we will also have the first harvest of Crimson Snow, the variety developed alongside Clementi, which was well received in Germany last year, partly because it is available until November, which allowed us to sustain sales during the spring-summer period, when the only red apples are imported ones,” Rivoira said.

And in the years to come, Rivoira will focus more and more on excellence, creating links with the big names in the European apple sector.

 “One of the innovations we are working on for the next few years will be the first commercial production of the French IFORED programme, a sort of super club for the development of red-fleshed apples. We will also be launching a highly innovative variety of snack apples, with small dimensions and high sugar content,” he said.