European Organic Congress 2021

European Organic Congress 2021 to take place online from Lisbon on 16-18 June 2021

The European Organic Congress by IFOAM, with the title “Organic’s contribution to the European Green Deal”, aims this year to inspire the participants by focusing on how the agri-food sector’s initiatives enhance the transition towards a more sustainable food system, through the aid of leading examples from representatives and experts amidst the organic sector. The New EU Organic Regulation 848/2018 will also be explored, while focusing on its implications for the objective of 25% EU organic land by 2030. We will dive deep into how organic districts, living labs and farm demonstrations contribute to rural development and the success of the Organic Action Plan. Moreover, organic’s contribution to climate change mitigation, with the EU Green Deal, the Biodiversity and Farm to Fork strategies and last but not least, the Common Agriculture Policy (CAP) will be key themes for the Congress’ debates.

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19th European Cold Chain conference

Over 100 high level professionals representing the temperature controlled supply chain industry including cold storage, transportation, logistics, distribution and construction are expected to attend the 19th European Cold Chain conference in Amsterdam, March 6-8.

The Global Cold Chain Alliance (GCCA) will host the 19th European Cold Chain Conference in Amsterdam, March 6-8. Over 100 high level professionals representing the temperature controlled supply chain industry including cold storage, transportation, logistics, distribution and construction are expected to attend. Don’t miss this opportunity to share real-life experiences and challenges with your peers and colleagues from leading companies across Europe and around the world.

Knowledge Transfer: Educational programming will provide you with a better understanding of industry trends, challenges, opportunities, solutions and best practices. The sessions will focus on four topic areas including:

  • Energy & Refrigeration
  • Operational Excellence
  • Administration & Human Resources
  • Innovation & Trends

Educational Programme

The 19th European Cold Chain Conference will focus on cutting-edge solutions and innovative approaches to cold chain management. Leading industry and business experts will share their thoughts, ideas, and solutions through keynote presentations and educational sessions.

Educational programme and presentations

The educational programme is still being finalised but the content will focus on the following key themes:

  • Energy & Refrigeration
  • Operational Excellence
  • Administration & Human Resources
  • Innovation & Trends

Keynote Presentations

  • Customer Keynote Presentation by a Global CPG Group
  • State of the Global Cold Chain
  • How are we reinforcing the global supply chain by building connections between countries and regions? What role do those of us in the room play in helping facilitate those linkages?
  • Customer Keynote Presentation by a European Retailer

Education Sessions

Energy & Refrigeration Track:

  • Blast Freezing Best Practices for the Cold Chain
  • Blast freezing services are provided as well as tempering and frozen. How do we expand the services for blast freezers to maximize investment? What are the different types of blast freezers and how do we use them efficiently?
  • Innovations in Cold Storage Refrigeration – Small Charge Systems
  • What refrigeration types are available and how are they being utilized in the industry? This session will cover small charge systems.
  • Best Practices for Building and Operating Facilities
  • Published by the European Division of the International Association for Cold Storage Construction (IACSC), the guidelines provide contractors and operators with a comprehensive overview of design and installation of insulated envelopes in accordance with the latest UK and European standards.

Operational Excellence Track:

  • Successful Business Models in Europe
  • Compare and contrast of models from several European cold chain companies. What works well, what has been learned and improved upon? Glean insights from top companies facing challenges, like you, in the European market.
  • The New European Frontier: Updates in Developing Markets
  • This panel session will feature a moderator and four panelists; one from each region of Europe (North, East, South, and West).

Administration & Human Resources Track:

  • Trends in Labor, Health & Safety Regulations
  • Panel session of representatives from France, Scandinavia, and Denmark. Worker safety and developing future leaders are important issues for all European countries. What are the trends in health and safety regulations, as well as labor negotiations and union activity?
  • Government Affairs Update
  • What are the relevant regulations and legislation that is impacting the European cold chain industry? What potential solutions and hurdles are on the horizon that European companies should be aware of?
  • Economics for Cold Chain Productivity
  • An economist will address the global economy as it relates to the European and global cold chain, talent, and workforce development.

Innovation & Trends Track:

  • Innovations in Automation
  • Automation is key to development of the European cold chain. Expenses related to labor are significant and increasing. This session will explore the most recent technology in automation.
  • Global Trade & Export Trends
  • Export is growing to other parts of the world despite sanctions in Russia. Thailand is producing poultry and production quality is high. One aspect of the growth is the servicing of expat communities globally.
  • Emerging eCommerce
  • The growth of eCommerce business around the world is a trend to take note of. This session will compare and contrast eCommerce models in some of the world’s’ most popular areas for eCommerce – Europe, China, and Australia.
  • Consumer Consumption Trends

Learn more at

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How information technology is changing the horticulture sector

During the 2nd EU Fresh Info Forum & Roundtable which took place in Rotterdam December 1-2, there was much focus on the role of data in today’s and tomorrow’s horticultural enterprises.

During the 2nd EU Fresh Info Forum & Roundtable which took place in Rotterdam December 1-2, there was much focus on the role of data in today’s and tomorrow’s horticultural enterprises. This year’s event attracted more than 320 participants and speakers. “The international fresh produce world is represented with participants from 16 different countries, from all six continents,” organisers said. The organisers are all firmly established in the field of information management. Frug-i-Com is a Dutch framework of cooperation in the chain of fruit and vegetables which set itself the ultimate goal of facilitating the electronic exchange of information among participants from the fresh produce sector by means of uniform labelling and electronic messages. They organised the event together with their partners, GS1 in Europe, who work on harmonised standards and solutions for European business, and IFPS, the International Federation for Produce Standards, which has the objective of improving the efficiency of the fresh produce supply chain through international standards. The overarching title of the gathering, Horticulture 4.0, was chosen to refer to the fourth industrial or digital revolution made possible by the combination of the internet and new technology such as robots and drones. The theme of the conference was that the integration of ICT (information and communications technology) in the design, production and distribution process of the fresh produce industry is inevitable.

Open data and cultural issues

This digital revolution is not only a thing of the future – it is already happening today. “Without realising we are very much influenced by the internet and data,” said Mario Campolargo, director of the NET Futures European Commission. He thinks that big data and open data are important to digital development and complete ecosystems, including in fields such as logistics, agrifood, e-learning, and media and content, and should be innovated around these open data in order to create new business models. “It’s not just about technology, it is about the ability to develop new business models,” Campolargo said. The sharing of data is not yet a natural thing to all parties involved since it raises concerns about privacy. Campolargo explained that – though a topic the EC is working on – legislation in the area of ICT is very difficult since developments are moving very fast. Legislation is not the only issue surrounding this topic. “There is a big cultural issue about adopting IT solutions,” said Ben Horsbrugh, director of quality management at Univeg – a Belgian based worldwide supplier of fresh produce. “Moving from paper-based processes to data-driven processes is complicated.” It calls for a different approach to the use of the data generated. “You have to change from a batch-by-batch approach to really using your data for improvement,” Horsbrugh said. Starting with simple solutions is helpful in the adopting process. Data from Excel files can be read in more sophisticated ERP systems and can also be used to assess exactly what data is needed. For Horsbrugh, quality is key when it comes to data management. “Data quality should be the sum of the quality improvement strategy,” Horsbrugh said. For the future, he foresees a movement into the direction of using data at the growers’ fields. “But it depends on the sophistication of the process.”

Transparency and chain cooperation

Christoph Waltert, business excellence manager with SanLucar, would even go as far as to say that trade information is a strategic asset. At SanLucar, information management is geared towards creating business excellence. “There are four requirements for information in order to drive excellence,” Waltert said. He mentioned quality, completeness, the real time factor and people, acknowledging that the latter adds complexity to the process. But that’s not to say that improvement cannot be achieved with simple measures as well. “It can be a sophisticated solution but a standardised Excel sheet can do the job as well,” Waltert said. In the end, information management needs to be a continuous and joint effort. “The whole fruit and vegetable sector needs to work on information management and standards, in order to drive business excellence together and individually,” he said. Retailers appear to be focusing on chain cooperation too. “Information sharing is of crucial importance in supply chains,” said Ruud Limmen, vice president of value chain development at Ahold Europe, the group to which Albert Heijn belongs and the Netherlands’ largest retailer. Albert Heijn operates according to the motto Better Every Day. To achieve that, the retailer has a focus on the centralisation of information based on real-time connections with check-outs and suppliers. Jumbo, the Netherlands’ fastest growing grocer, calls for transparency in the fresh supply chain in order to establish consumer trust. “This is particularly important for the 8,000 private label products that Jumbo carries and is responsible for,” said Johan Hulleman quality manager at Jumbo Supermarkets. Data management plays a large role in Jumbo’s supplier management for private label products. A database is built to connect suppliers and other data in order to plot supplier risk in a matrix based on product hazard and supplier impact. In this process the sharing of responsibilities and partnerships with suppliers – particularly where it concerns sharing data – are key to building consumer trust.

Field robotics

The importance of data sharing was also stressed by Professor Salah Sukkarieh from the University of Sydney, who is an international expert in the research, development and commercialisation of field robotic systems. “Farms need to open up and combine data,” he said. In the area of precision agriculture and field robotics, standardisation will become very important and so will the availability of data, too. And there is no doubt that robotics will play a role in the future of farming. “Robots will come, that is a reality,” Sukkarieh said. Robotics in agriculture is all about data collection – to a very specified level; this may even be at the level of individual flowers on a tree – by drones or other specially designed devices. Algorithms are then applied to the collected data and the results can help make a determination about the crop that is analysed. For instance, it is possible for a device to determine whether the plant analysed is a crop or a weed and following that a robotic arm can then spray the plant with either nutrients or a herbicide. This opens up far-reaching opportunities. For instance, selective harvesting could be a possibility. “This is about how you fuse statistical information to build a picture of the total supply chain which will lead to more standardisation of crop architecture,” Sukkarieh said.

All in all, the digital revolution is offering the horticultural sector many developments and plenty of food for thought. What is clear is that open data, chain cooperation and standardisation will be key to this process. Are we headed for a future in which the fresh produce supply chain becomes predictable?

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Entries open for 2016 Gulfood awards

Gathering 5,000 food and beverage exhibitors from over 120 countries, the Gulfood show is billed as one of the world’s most important annual food and hospitality shows and an unrivalled chance to source and select from an incredible global product showcase.

Entries close on January 29 for the Gulfood Awards, which are designed to celebrate excellence and innovation across every category of the global food industry.
Now in their seventh successful year, the awards are being held as part of the Gulfood show, taking place at the iconic Dubai World Trade Centre (DWTC) from Sunday February 21 to Thursday February 25, 2016.
The finalists and winners in the 2016 awards will be announced during a special gala dinner in Dubai on the first day of the show February, February 21.
The 22 award categories include:

  • Best new functional food or drink
  • Best new Halal food
  • Best new fast food product or innovation
  • Best new frozen or chilled food
  • Best artisan or local food
  • Best health education initiative
  • Best new foodservice innovation
  • Best environmental sustainability initiative
  • Best consumer marketing campaign
  • Best trade stand
  • Gulfood Outstanding achievement
  • Best foods company, and
  • Best newcomer brand or business

Gulfood show a global product showcase and trade platform

Gathering 5,000 food and beverage exhibitors from over 120 countries, the Gulfood show is billed as one of the world’s most important annual food and hospitality shows and an unrivalled chance to source and select from an incredible global product showcase. As one of the largest fairs in the Middle-East, it is very popular among importers and exporters of agro products and a crucial trade and business platform in a region with ever increasing demand – exhibitors and visitors from almost every country in the world meet at Gulfood to conduct cross-border business and establish international contacts in the trade arena.
Last year Gulfood attracted 84,642 total trade attendees, 64% of whom came from non-United Arab Emirates (UAE) countries, with a total of 156 countries covered, and 83% of visitors were looking to purchase within the next 6 months.
From specialty and fine food, to the widest range of organic food and drink, it is the opportunity to discover unique products from hundreds of specialist producers and over 110 international pavilions. Specialty areas covered are artisanal products, children’s products, ethnic food, fair trade, gift packs/hampers, gourmet & fine food, Halal products, health/wellness products, organic products, private label, ready meals and special diet products.

Safeguarding the UAE’s food security

The show venue, the Dubai World Trade Centre, is within the business hub of Dubai, the city which is itself a hospitality, trade and tourism hub for the Middle East. A majority of UAE imports are traded through Dubai, its biggest city.
And according to UAE Minister of Economy Sultan Al Mansouri, food imports into the UAE – which buys in 85% of its food – are poised to rise from $100 billion (Dh367 billion) in 2014 to $400 billion in the next decade. Due to the lack of arable lands in the UAE, the government plans to develop farmland in other countries to help to secure food supplies amid increasing demand and it is also urging diversification of the sources of imported food so as to hedge against any crisis.
The UAE has already invested in agro-food initiatives in Namibia, South Africa and in several Arab countries including, Tunisia, Morocco, Algeria, Sudan and Egypt, Al Mansouri said.
Within the wider Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) – consisting of Bahrain, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, and the United Arab Emirates – food consumption is expected to grow at a CAGR of 3.5% between 2014-2019 to reach 51.9 million tons by 2019 and food retail in the GCC is forecast to be worth $155 billion by 2018.

Gulfood 2016

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Alimentaria offers more conferences, B2B meetings and launches

Alimentaria’s international buyers' programme aims to open up business opportunities on five continents, so the Hosted Buyers contingent includes guests from every corner of the world: Latin America, Asia, the United States and Canada, Europe and the Middle East.

Taking place April 25-28 in Barcelona, Alimentaria is the place for innovation, business collaboration, competitiveness and knowledge sharing in Europe’s food and drinks sector.

The International Food & Drinks Exhibition will be celebrating its 40th anniversary at Barcelona’s Fira Gran Via Exhibition Centre and its format has been updated to span a broader spectrum of the industry and reflect new market trends and consumer habits.

At its last edition, the event attracted more than 140,000 visitors from around the world and hosted 3,800 represented companies and more than 1,000 international companies.

In 2016, Alimentaria will be streamlined into 5 shows, encompassing the main food and drinks markets:

  • Intervin (wines and spirits),
  • Intercarn (meat and meat products),
  • Restaurama (restaurants, integrates Expobebidas & Congelexpo companies),
  • Interlact (dairy products) and
  • Multiple Foods (confectionery, preserves, oils and premium products).

Multiple Foods, the new show of food trends and special and functional projects, adds Alimentación Ecológica (organic food), Olivaria, Expoconser, Interpesca, the International Pavilions, Lands of Spain, Snacks, Biscuits & Confectionery, Mediterranean Foods, Healthy Foods and Fine Foods, along with the Premium zone and the Olive Oil Bar.

In 2016, Alimentaria’s activities will hinge around six core themes:

  • distribution and retail,
  • CSR,
  • internationalisation,
  • R&D&I and branding,
  • nutrition,
  • and marketing and communication.

Exporting for SMEs

As always, Alimentaria will facilitate contacts between exhibitors and key international buyers across the food and beverage chain, with the aim of encouraging business meetings and firming up foreign deals. At Alimentaria 2014, 59% of exhibitors were already exporting their products, while 73% of those who were not yet selling abroad said that they fully intended to do so within the next two or three years.

Alimentaria’s international buyers’ programme aims to open up business opportunities on five continents, so the Hosted Buyers contingent includes guests from every corner of the world: Latin America, Asia, the United States and Canada, Europe and the Middle East.

This year, the Alimentaria Hub also offers the Export Service Counter for exhibitors, preferably SMEs, who want to venture into foreign markets for the first time. Intended to help companies internationalise their business, this new programme involves experts in all the formalities necessary to take these first steps in reaching foreign markets, from insurance companies and consultancy firms to chambers of commerce and financial institutions.

The Alimentaria Hub

Part of the Alimentaria show, the Alimentaria Hub, boasts new product launches as well as conferences, presentations and consumer trend analysis. It also includes a centre for business meetings and export opportunities and networking sessions to foster entrepreneurship, according to organisers.

One of the big attractions at the Alimentaria Hub is the Food Factory, the meeting place for technology start-ups in the agrifood sector and Business Angels with the capacity to invest in projects with development potential.

Innoval will feature the latest trends and innovations in the sector, exhibiting more than 300 new food products. The Spanish Food and Drink Industry Federation (FIAB) is organising the VII Alimentaria Food Technology and Innovation Meeting, while consultancy firm Innova Market Insights will be leading the ‘Top Ten Trends’ session at which it will present a selection of the ten global trends that are currently setting the bar in the food industry.

Food Bloggers Conference

The 2016 show sees the first Food Bloggers Conference to encourage people to learn about and understand new communication channels. It will be a chance to share knowledge among bloggers and other social media professionals associated with food and gastronomy.

Presentations on sustainability, CSR & the Mediterranean Diet

In terms of presentations, the Alimentaria Hub will host the third Nestlé Forum on ‘Creating Shared Value’, this year dedicated to the industry’s contribution to a sustainable and socially responsible future, and the XI International Conference on the Mediterranean Diet.


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New midweek format for CPMA 2016

The Annual Convention & Trade Show is CPMA’s keystone event and Canada’s largest event dedicated to the fruit and vegetable industry. The event provides a unique forum for industry leaders to enhance their business opportunities in Canada through an exceptional combination of education and networking opportunities.

Canada’s biggest fresh produce event, the CPMA’s Annual Convention & Trade Show, will take place from April 12 -14, 2016, in Calgary, Alberta.

It is the first time the event will run from a Tuesday to Thursday and the CPMA (the Canadian Produce Marketing Association) says the midweek format aims to make visiting the show easier for retail and foodservice members and to increase traffic on the trade show floor.

Features of the show include the New Product Showcase and Best New Product Award competition. This year, for new products or packaging considered “kid friendly,” a ‘Freggie Approved’ decal can be added to the relevant showcase.

During the CPMA Convention and Trade Show, to be held in the BMO Centre at Stampede Park, Passion for Produce will also take place. This is a programme created by the CPMA to provide rising stars among its members the opportunity to expand their knowledge of the supply chain through mentorship and participation in various events.

Participants from the 2015 Passion for Produce programme

Free retail produce manager and foodservice educational sessions will also be hosted at the event with the goal of providing participants with key information that will allow them to gain insights into the produce industry supply chain, improve their produce knowledge, network with other members of the produce industry, and discover how to offer even more value to their customers.

The CPMA Annual Convention & Trade Show attracts buyers from major retail chain stores and foodservice distributors, including Walmart, Loblaw, Metro, Costco, Longo’s, Sobeys, Farmboy, the Grocery People, GFS, Fresh Street Market, IGA, Sysco, Safeway, Colemans Food Centres, Compass Group, Giant Tiger Stores, No Frills, Thrifty Foods, T&T supermarket, Quality Foods and Provigo.

Overall, it is “unique forum for industry leaders to enhance existing and develop new their business opportunities in Canada through an exceptional combination of education and networking opportunities.” The convention and trade show attract more than 3,000 participants – including industry executives, members from all segments of the fresh produce supply chain, and government representatives who are directly or indirectly involved in the Canadian fresh fruit and vegetable sector – and showcases produce from around the world.


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Egypt, Fruit Logistica 2016 partner country, set for export growth

the future looks bright for Egypt’s agricultural exports. In the last decade, it has increased the volume of this trade by 226% and now exports to 145 countries. New investments in the sector and its commitment to the establishment of international specifications in packaging will support further growth.

The Egyptian export sector will be out in force at Fruit Logistica 2016 with 89 exporters exhibiting, up from 76 this year.

Egypt is the partner country for the event, a leading international trade fair for fresh produce marketing, which takes place February 3-5 in Berlin. The country’s pavilion in hall 2.1 will host the official Fruit Logistica opening on February 3.

According to a Fruit Logistica press release, the future looks bright for Egypt’s agricultural exports. In the last decade, it has increased the volume of this trade by 226% and now exports to 145 countries. New investments in the sector and its commitment to the establishment of international specifications in packaging will support further growth.

In 2014/2015 the country exported over $2 billion worth of agricultural products, excluding rice.

“The farming industry and its related sectors are vital to the Egyptian economy, with cultivated areas reaching around 9 million acres. They employ 32% of the country’s workforce and account for 14.7% of GDP,” the release says.

New African free trade area

It also says that an important step for Egypt was the agreement of 26 African countries in June this year to create a free trade area. The new free trade agreement Tripartite is integrating the existing agreements COMESA, EAC and SADC. In 2017, when Tripartite is supposed to become effective, it will facilitate the movement of goods between member states.

The safety and quality of food products and water supplies are of great concern to Egypt’s health authorities. They ensure safe, high-quality fresh produce while complying with numerous global standards and international certification bodies and institutions. They carefully monitor farms and exporters to ensure the quality of exported products, it says.

Egypt’s agricultural exports

According to a report by the USDA Foreign Agricultural Service, Egypt was the world’s largest exporter of oranges in 2014/2015, but it also exports a wide variety of other kinds of fruit, and vegetables.

Top farm exports in 2014/2015

  • oranges 1.22 million tons
  • potatoes 650,000 tons
  • onions 492,000 tons
  • dry beans 182,000 tons
  • grapes 111,000 tons
  • tomatoes 109,000 tons
  • pomegranates 55,000 tons
  • green beans 44,000 tons
  • mandarins 36,000 tons
  • strawberries 34,000 tons
  • lemons 33,000 tons
  • peanuts 26,000 tons

Egypt’s agricultural export partners

  • Exports to 145 countries
  • In 2014/2015, 727 Egyptian companies exported 743,000 tons to the EU. During the same period overall exports reached 3.53 million tons.
  • 21% of Egypt’s farming products are exported to the EU where the main markets are the UK, Netherlands, Italy, Belgium, Greece, Germany, Romania, Lithuania, Spain and France.

Egypt’s main non-EU trading partners for its produce include:

  • Saudi Arabia (18% of Egypt’s overall output),
  • Russia (18%)
  • The UAE, Kuwait, Iraq, Libya, Syria, Lebanon, Jordan and India.

Logistics and transport

  • Egypt’s unique geographic location in the Middle East combined with an expanding infrastructure base enhances the country’s position as a key global logistics hub for companies looking to do business in, or trade with, Europe, Asia and Africa.
  • About 90% of Egypt’s foreign trade is shipped through ports.
  • The expansion of the Suez Canal is expected to double its capacity to 97 ships a day.
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Innovation to be unveiled at Fruit Logistica

Fruit Logistica's Spotlight articles cover new and improved products, machinery and processes, systems and techniques, technologies, services, promotions and exhibitor campaigns to be presented at the fair.

An edible coating that extends the shelf life of melons (Decco), a pocket scanner providing the Brix value of a fruit sample (Sunforest), and a polytunnel with automated and permanent ventilation (Voen) are among the global debuts lined up for Fruit Logistica 2016, being held February 3-5 in Berlin.

Also slated to appear make their worldwide premieres are a new line of Pausa Pranzo salads with dressings, self-propelled harvesters for leafy vegetables (Ortomec), and two new attractive and tasty tomato varieties – Goutine (Hazera Seeds) and Belmonte F1 (Southern Seed).

These are among the innovations covered on the Fruit Logistica website in its Spotlight articles. The series provides an overview of new and improved products, machinery and processes, systems and techniques, technologies, services, promotions and exhibitor campaigns to be presented at the fair. The next deadline for submissions is November 30.

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Logistics Hub to make its debut at Fruit Logistica 2016

Supply chains are becoming longer and more complicated, sometimes spanning several continents. The right choice of logistic services can determine whether or not a fresh produce consignment can be sold.

Logistics Hub is a new three-day series of events focused on fresh produce handling and logistics that will be held at Fruit Logistica, February 3-5 2016.

According to a press release by the event organisers, the sessions will address ten current issues relating to the logistics chain. It is where “producers, exporters and traders will find the information they need to help them take the right logistic decisions when it comes to transporting their goods.”

Alex von Stempel, an independent consultant in fresh produce logistics has designed and organised Logistics Hub and will moderate the event, to be held in the CityCube Berlin, Hall B, Stand C-04.

Session topics include:

  • Strategic Cold Chain Investments and examining new Outsourcing Potential
  • Reefer Claims: Addressing a Classic Clash of Interests
  • Focusing on the First Mile: Country and Produce Case Study Africa
  • Focusing on the First Mile: Country and Produce Case Study Latin America
  • Frozen Vegetables – Opportunities, Challenges and Threats
  • ‘Anything, anywhere, anytime’: What does this mean for the fresh produce sector?

For more detail:

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Poland’s Fresh Market Conference attracts industry leaders

At Fresh Market Conference 2015, Bioekspert’s Dorota Metera talks about the marketing and sale of organic produce in supermarkets in Poland.

This year’s Fresh Market Conference was held on September 25 in the Polish town of Ożarów Mazowiecki at the stylish Mazurkas Hotel. It was the key opportunity of the year in Poland to establish business contacts personally with the biggest retail chains, with clients from 15 countries.

The most important event of the year for Poland’s fruit and vegetable industry, Fresh Market Conference was created in response to the changing needs of the market. The core of the conference involved trade consultations between fresh produce suppliers and representatives of retail chains, providing excellent opportunities to make deals and exchange of new ideas on how to cooperate efficiently in Poland’s fresh produce sector.

Widely promoted in foreign trade media, the Fresh Market Conference was also an opportunity for participants to present and promote their products, whether in the conference catalogue, during a lecture by them, or by purchasing a sponsor package. In the course of one day, famous groups and companies such as Sunsad, Redskar, Polfarm, Coshtella, Markiepol and Fruitino met with chains such as Kaufland, Dino, Tesco, Carrefour, Intermarche, Selgros, Makro, Piotr & Paweł and Marcpol. In addition to these meetings, this year’s conference gave participants many valuable opportunities to establish contacts with international firms. Over 160 companies from Poland, Italy, Spain, France, Chile, Ukraine, Holland, Egypt, Denmark, Great Britain, the Czech Republic, Hungary, Germany, Turkey and Greece were participants.

In the market halls, buyers and conference guests were able to visit many fresh produce stands and talk to traders of companies such as Jan Oskam, Suncrop  France, Societa Agricola Mioorto Srl, Frutti Felici Soc. Coop. Agricola, Frutas Hortisol, SL and Fairtrasa Holland B.V. Guests could also meet producers of containers and find out about the offerings from suppliers of refrigeration and other services for the fruit and vegetable industry. The conference’s ‘matchmakers’ were specially trained for the occasion to help make the contacts between business partners as useful as possible.

The third part of the conference and fairs consisted of lectures by fresh produce industry experts covering areas such as the current trade situation for the sector, price analysis and forecasts for the coming season. During the panel discussion, participants had the opportunity to ask the experts questions of interest to them, obtaining professional support and advice for their company.

A lecture by Zbigniew Niesiobędzki, representing the Polish-Chinese Business Council, addressed a very relevant topic for fresh produce producers and exporters – how to conquer the Chinese market, particularly in the context of existing commercial opportunities, the many legal regulations that sometimes hamper sales, and the outlook for bilateral development. Bioekspert’s Dorota Metera, meanwhile, focused on the marketing and sale of organic produce in supermarkets in Poland. Metera highlighted that organic fruit and vegetables are now on the shelves of every supermarket chain in Poland and increasingly bought by customers who value organic fruit and vegetables for health reasons. And Piotr Barański from Fern Partners gave an interesting lecture on the management of prices and profitability in the fruit and vegetable sector.

 Meetings of companies with retail chains.

Awards for the most innovative product and for the product chosen by readers of the portal were made during the conference. This year, four products competed for the award: the kiwi Soreli presented by Frutti Felici, the MPaper packaging produced by the Spanish company Cristobal Meseguer, the new broccoli EasyBroq from Syngenta and the Palermo pepper from Rijk Zwaan. The Fresh Market Award – Product of the year 2015 went to Rijk Zwaan for the Palermo. This product was also chosen by readers and won the prize in internet voting.

Kaufland conquers smaller and medium size towns

The retailer Kaufland is presently one of two major food chains in Poland which is growing fast. It plans to open 30 new stores in in Poland this year. Along with Lidl, Kaufland is part of the Schwarz group, which is investing in many modern supermarkets throughout the country. The group has so far built nearly 400 Kaufland hypermarkets and supermarkets in mini-centers, shopping malls and housing estates, both in big cities and medium size towns. Kaufland now offers its customers a fresh fruit and vegetables assortment several times bigger than that of discount outlets in Poland.

Kaufland promotes organic Polish produce

Particular emphasis is put on the highest quality of organic fresh produce and on locally grown potatoes, onion, cabbages, carrot. lettuce, apples, pears, plums, cherries and nuts, according to Kaufland’s fresh produce purchase manager Krystian Nowakowski. In Poland, the most recognisable of Kaufland’s store brand fresh produce – a key part of its growth – are organic apples, bananas, lemons, tomatoes, peppers and onions. These products are sold under its FreshLine label. Kaufland also offers its own brand products under the K-classic label for premium fresh produce sold at prices that are very competitive compared to other Polish supermarkets, including discounters, Nowakowski said.

Increase in fresh produce sales

The amount of fresh fruit and vegetables sold by Kaufland in the first nine months of 2014 was up 8% and 12% respectively on the same periods in 2013 and 2012, Nowakowski said. Net revenue for fresh produce in Jan-Sept last year was 2.66% above that for the same period in 2013.
The top sellers among the fresh produce sold at Kaufland stores in Poland items were apples, with sales up 11% for Jan-Sept 2014, and tomatoes, up 13%, Nowakowski said. Kaufland’s spending on promotion, marketing and strengthening the chain’s image was 3.5% higher in three quarters of 2014 of than in the same time in 2013.

Biedronka maintains the high level of its fresh produce

Fruit and vegetables are still among the most important items in Biedronka stores in Poland and, as much as possible, based on local Polish produce. For several years, Biedronka has been developing its fresh produce offering according to with the focus on maximising freshness. According to Biedronka’s media spokesperson Agnieszka Pelc-Sławińska, this year the chain started selling apples from Poland by specific varieties, so as to increase the ability of its customers to purchase their favourite fruits. “We are continuing to expand our assortment of organic fresh produce by offering apple varieties such as Gala, Jonagold and Ligol,” Pelc-Sławińska said. “Apart from apples, we offer also pears – the Lukasówka, Conference and Klapsa varieties. and in tomatoes, for example, from the start of this year the local variety tomimaru muchoo.
“We note the rise in sale of fruit and vegetables in all our 2,600 stores in over 1,000 locations, Pelc-Sławińska said. “We plan to open 300 more outlets in the next three years. Regarding fresh produce sales, in 2014 we sold 1.5% more fruit and 1.8% more vegetables than in 2013. The biggest rise was in the category of apples – up 4.9% on 2013 and up 3.1% for Jan-Sep this year compared to the same months last year.” The growth for vegetables was slightly lower. “In 2014, we sold 0.8 % more tomatoes and 0.6% more peppers than in 2013. However, for the year to September 2015 we have sold 0.5% more tomatoes and 0.3% more peppers compared to the same period last year,” Pelc-Sławińska said.

The retailer Dino in new locations in Poland

Based totally on Polish capital, the retailer Dino this year once again participated in the Fresh Market Conference. Maciej Galicki, from Dino’s commercial department for fruit and vegetables, said the chain aimed to meet with retail representatives to discuss increased trade, and to connect with suppliers of quality Polish produce.
“Dino is well-known for the very good class of products in its stores,” Galicki said. “Today our chain is present, with over 350 stores, in big and small towns in many regions of the country. In 2015, we have opened almost 100 new shops. The average sales area is 1,100 m² and the assortment reaches 28,000 items.
“In view of the combination of cheaper fruit and vegetables and the weaker buying abilities of many Polish clients, we emphasise the wide choice of very good quality fruit and vegetables from the healthy Polish countryside. About 7% of all these products comprise fruit and vegetables that are sold under our own label, ‘Everyday fresh deliveries’. We are very conscious of the taste and quality that consumers demand from our fruits and vegetables.
“People seek often particular varieties of fresh produce. Besides, they are keen on purchasing ready-made snacks based on fresh fruits and vegetables, or even ready-to-eat fresh dishes. We have introduced new lines of such products that are still little-known by Polish customers. We plan to sell these fruit novelties in all our stores.”
“In the next three years, we plan to invest €9 million annually in construction and in transforming our stores across the country. Now we are focused on new locations in regions such as Małopolska or central Poland, where we plan to open 50-70 new outlets, and in Silesia, where we plan to open 30,” Galicki said.