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Freshfel Europe calls for urgent need to ensure free movement of essential goods to and from the United Kingdom in crucial Christmas pre-Brexit period

Effects of a no-deal Brexit?


21 December 2020 – In response to the recent EU-UK border closures Freshfel Europe calls upon the EU27 and UK authorities to ensure free movement of goods to and from the United Kingdom in line with existing EU recommendations and guidelines, particularly regarding the implementation of EU Green Lanes and free movements of essential workers. This will guarantee that essential perishable goods, such as fresh fruit and vegetables, can continue to cross the border, which will prevent distortions across the EU markets during the crucial Christmas period and ensure that sufficient supply of fresh produce can reach shelves in the UK.

Freshfel Europe is closely monitoring the situation at the EU-UK border since the announcement of border closures with the UK by an increasing number of EU Member States as a result of fears over a new COVID-19 strain. Port congestion in UK points of entry has already increased in the past few weeks due to the global trade slow-down resulting from the pandemic as well as the pre-Christmas period and no-deal Brexit fears. Freshfel Europe warns that the newly imposed border closures are further impacting the flow of goods through the Channel, with shortages of trucks and transport workers already being felt by the sector. This is a recurrent issue, which already strongly impacted the sector in March and April when the first COVID-9 wave hit Europe. This shortage has the potential to significantly distort the movement of European fresh produce to the UK at a crucial moment in the year. Freight between the EU27 and the UK follows a rotation system, so the blockage of EU-bound UK freight is affecting the rest of the chain and leading to higher costs for operators across the EU, as well as delays affecting the quality of perishable produce and order cancellations. The blockage at UK-EU borders may also impact the capacity for intra-EU27 movements.

Whilst the sector supports the need to prevent the potential spread of the new COVID-19 strain, Freshfel Europe urgently encourages EU Member States and UK authorities to follow existing EU guidelines and recommendations when implementing these new border closures and to follow a coordinated EU-wide approach. Freshfel Europe recalls the importance to ensure Green Lanes for the movements of essential goods within the Single Market (to which the UK is bound until 31 December) and to follow EU Guidelines concerning the exercise of the free movement of workers as well as their welfare. Freshfel Europe recalls Council Recommendation (EU) 2020/1475 of 13 October 2020 on a coordinated approach to the restriction of free movement in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, which outlines that travellers with an essential function, such as transport workers, shall be enabled freedom of movement without undergoing quarantine while exercising this essential function. Freshfel Europe further encourages the EU27 and the UK to apply existing health protocols to guarantee the welfare of transport workers during the exercise of their duties when crossing the Channel. Additional measures to ensure their safety, such as the limitation of contacts during transit time, should also be swiftly implemented. Furthermore, EU and UK authorities should introduce urgent contingency measures to target the current bottleneck, such as additional ferry capacity, and increased speed for loading and unloading of freight in points of entry.

Commenting on the high urgency to ensure EU-UK flows, Freshfel Europe General Delegate Philippe Binard highlighted that, “With the impending Brexit for businesses, it is of essence to limit disruptions across the Chanel by applying the tools and lessons learnt during the first wave of the pandemic in Europe. EU Green Lanes, together with current EU guidelines and recommendations should enable Europe to have a coordinated approach to keep borders open for freight between the EU27 and the UK, as well as to guarantee the protection of transport workers performing this essential duty for the supply of the UK market and the integrity of the Single Market.”

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Amcor launches first recyclable shrink bag for meat, poultry, and cheese

Amcor launches first recyclable shrink bag for meat, poultry, and cheese


Amcor Eco-Tite® R is a new PVDC-free, fully recyclable shrink bag for meat and cheese.

Zurich, Switzerland – Amcor, a global leader in packaging, has today launched Eco-Tite® R in Europe, the first designed to be recycled, PVDC-free shrink bag for fresh and processed meat, poultry and some cheeses.  Amcor Eco-Tite® R is designed to maximise shelf-life, maintain food safety, reduce food waste and can be recycled in existing polyethylene (PE) plastic recycling streams.* This means that more consumers will be able to recycle their meat, poultry and cheese packaging, while enjoying the benefits of longer lasting food.

“Through our packaging expertise and commitment to sustainability, the team has overcome a challenge for the industry; developing a high performance shrink bag that’s PVDC-free and recyclable, while maintaining food safety. This is a great step-forward for consumers and an example of how the removal of problematic materials from packaging – something the industry is increasingly focussed on delivering – can provide us with safe, secure and recyclable packaging,” said Rosalia Rosalinova, Marketing Manager for Meat and Fresh Produce at Amcor.

Amcor Eco-Tite® R is a multi-layer, mono-PE packaging which maintains a high barrier to oxygen and water vapour even when exposed to high-moisture environments, such as cooler cases and refrigerators. This solution provides European meat and cheese producers an alternative to PVDC packaging – which is not recyclable in mechanical or chemical recycling systems.

To validate recyclability in real-world conditions, Amcor Eco-Tite® R has been certified by the cyclos-HTP institute, an independent testing lab. Consumers can today recycle the bag where suitable infrastructure is in place, including Germany, France and Italy, The Netherlands, Norway, Austria and Spain. Recyclability of the new shrink bag will grow as infrastructure develops in additional countries.

This innovation also supports Amcor’s broader commitment to develop all its packaging to be recyclable or reusable by 2025, which it committed to in 2018 as part of its pledge.


Learn more about Amcor Eco-Tite® R shrink bag HERE.  


*European countries with suitable polyethylene (PE) recycling steams currently include Germany, France, Italy, The Netherlands, Norway, Austria and Spain.
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Going beyond organic


The third BioFruit Congress examines new developments in the world of organic fruit & vegetables


The big issues facing the future of the organic produce market were debated during the 3rd annual BioFruit Congress, which took place in three sessions over October 20-22. Held on FRUIT ATTRACTION LIVEConnect, the congress was organised by EUROFRESH DISTRIBUTION and IFEMA in collaboration with FiBL, PROEXPORT, ZERYA & CAERM. Issues covered included the latest developments in the EU market, shifting consumer priorities and how cooperation between organic breeders and retailers has benefits throughout the organic value chain.

SESSION ONE: Latest trends and strategies in the EU, demand in China

On Tuesday October 20, and following an introduction from FRUIT ATTRACTION director Raúl Calleja, EUROFRESH DISTRIBUTION editor Pierre Escodo kicked off the first session of the BioFruit Congress by welcoming the over 300 participants in the first online edition of the congress, noting it was a similar number to the earlier editions held at IFEMA in Madrid. Escodo said one of the objectives of the congress was to examine emerging sustainable product labels – going beyond organic – which many consumers now seek. In an overview of the organic market, Escodo said consumption of organic produce rose during Covid-19 lockdowns in Europe and many retailers expect at least some of that increase to be enduring.

The EU green deal and Farm-to-Fork strategy

Next up, Juri Mara, a DG Agri market officer in the EUROPEAN COMMISSION (EC)’s horticulture unit, spoke about the EU Farm to Fork Strategy, explaining that it is at the heart of the overarching European Green Deal, which aims to make Europe the first climate-neutral continent by 2050. Mara said one of the four pillars of the strategy is the ambitious objective of having at least 25% of the EU’s agricultural land under organic farming by 2030. On that subject, he also invited the audience to participate in an open consultation (running until the end of November) and provide feedback to the EC on preparation of the future Action Plan (2021-2026) on organic farming. “In a nutshell, the and Farm-to-Fork strategy is for healthy people, a healthy society and a healthy planet, and it’s down to all of us,” he said. 

Changing consumer demands on how to signal sustainability

Organic food has outperformed compared to overall food sales in Western Europe since 2012, said EUROMONITOR INTERNATIONAL food analyst Tea Thaning. But she signalled an important shift in consumer response to the different labels used to communicate sustainability, and differences across regions. For instance, the top two product claims for juice in Western Europe in 2019 were vegan and organic, while in the US they were organic and gluten free and vegan was not even in the top five. She also stressed that: “Covid-19 has accelerated consumer interest in and scrutiny of supply chain transparency.” Thaning said two main points to drive home are the increasing diversification of claims and shifting priorities among consumers, and the need for tangible information and clarity around consumer products. The pandemic will have a persisting impact on consumer behaviour and provides opportunities for the use of a vast range of functional claims in relation to food and drinks, but: “The market is fragmenting and it’s becoming harder to know what will appeal to whom and who your consumer is,” she warned.

Pandemic has also fuelled organic food interest in China

The coronavirus has made Chinese consumers even more sensitive about food safety and boosted sales of high quality and organic products, said Sophia Yan Xue, head of international procurement at CHUNBO. Due to the limited availability and cost of organic food in China, sometimes organic products are twice the price of conventional, she said. Nevertheless, from January to August, sales of organic products on Chunbo were up 7.2% on the same period in 2019. Moreover, organic vegetables – which account for nearly half of all sales of organic products by Chunbo this year – are up nearly 9.6% YoY, she said. But: “For Chinese consumers and retailers, we have problems buying organic products, especially organic produce from abroad. Very few organic foods from abroad can be found on the Chinese market because China has its own organic certification system and very few exporters have made the effort to expand to the Chinese market,” Yan Xue said. New Zealand and China, however, have signed a mutual recognition protocol for organic certification. Exporters from New Zealand have made efforts and invested in expansion in China’s organic produce market and the data for the past few years shows a good return on this, she said. Overall, she believes there is “great potential for organic food in China with a simplified organic food certification system and increasing recognition of organic food by consumers.”

Diversification of organic products and channels – examples of Spanish success

The first session of the BioFruit Congress wrapped up with presentations from three Spanish companies on how they have courted success in the organics arena.

  • Almería-based organic grower BIOSABOR was founded in 2008 and initially grew only the Rama tomato but when it added in other organic varieties as from 2013-14, particularly cherry, its sales turnover took off much faster than its production volume. BIOSABOR CEO Francisco Belmonte said this was because the firm invested in organic varieties that are harder to grow but that satisfy consumer hunger for tasty tomatoes. After first adding in the Angelle, BIOSABOR now also grows varieties including Adora, Piccolo, Tomazur and Sorrentino, as well as the Pimiento Palermo.
  • Formed in 2007, Murcia’s CAMPOSEVEN has gradually transformed since 2014 from being primarily a conventional grower to now growing the lion’s share of its fruit and vegetable production volume under biodynamic methods, “in order to look after the health of people and the environment”, said CEO Adolfo Garcia. Germany is by far its main export market, followed by France and Switzerland. CAMPOSEVEN has diversified by also selling organic and biodynamic produce online through its Freshvana offshoot and, as part of its commitment to innovation, it partners with the Polytechnic University of Madrid in research company Plant Response Biotech.
  • Organic producer and exporter HACIENDASBIO says it is thanks to its value-adding that its sales revenue has almost doubled since 2017 to an expected €49 million for 2020. CEO Paco Casallo said the firm does all its farming itself, so it can do it to its own high standards, allowing it to differentiate on quality. “We measure quality in details like the width of a pepper wall and the length of its shelf life, the kind of criteria that really make a product stand out in a store or when consumed, and that deliver what the market is looking for,” he said. The firm has 36 farms, all biodynamic, across 7 regions in Spain, with just over 1,000 ha in use and another 1400 ha lying fallow at the moment. “We’ve built a product range with long seasons across various regions in order to be the leaders in this attention to product quality,” Casallo said. HaciendasBio also has an automated packhouse 4.0 and uses blockchain to ensure the integrity of information, for example, “we can reliably state on a product label who harvested it and where and how it was cultivated.”

SESSION TWO: What else are consumers seeking in regard to sustainability today?

Setting the scene for the second session, on October 21, EUROFRESH DISTRIBUTION editor Pierre Escodo provided examples of how retailers are responding to current consumer demand for sustainability. He said Auchan, for instance, has a responsible sourcing policy and was one of France’s zero residue pioneers and has 60 such fruit and vegetable items. It also uses blockchain technology in 8 countries, “so customers can trace their food they purchase back to the farm.” Escodo said as well as being a leader among “socially engaged” retailers, Colruyt has an organic range, BioPlanet, while in Spain, EL CORTE INGLÉS has the largest organic assortment, including 200 fruit and vegetable items, and in the UAE, organic items account for 10% of SPINNEYS’ sales – double the the 5% average in European stores.

Also meeting demand for more sustainable products: no-residue labels

ZERYA director Javier Arizmendi also noted that demand for differentiated products, particularly those with quality marks and labels, has been increasing in recent years. Zerya is one such label and is not organic certification but a guarantee that a product of conventional agriculture is free of pesticide residues, while also communicating that it is innocuous and the result of responsible production, he said. One of the countries leading the way in ‘no pesticide residue’ initiatives is France: “All retailers in France have this category on their shelves in some way,” Arizmendi said. He also stressed the importance of labels engaging with consumers and said there are significant differences in how this occurs even within Europe. “There are consumers who are eager to receive information, like Scandinavian or Swiss consumers, who are very good at processing it, and there are consumers who tend to do it in an emotional way, like the Mediterranean consumers in Spain or Italy, while it’s a combination of both in France and Central Europe, and there some other consumers who are very influenced by trends or media, like in the UK,” he said. “We need to focus on the drivers of every consumer around the world and make sure that the messages we are elaborating are clear enough for these consumers to engage with.” This is particularly important now, with a poll of Europeans during the northern summer showing, “After Covid, 79% on average are looking for CSR criteria in the products that they are buying,” he said.

Carbon neutral brand BE CLIMATE delivers clear messaging, transparency

What if a fruit brand could assist in achieving both climate and revenue targets? A year ago, Hamburg-based Port International GmbH introduced just such a brand, BE CLIMATE, the first carbon neutral fruit brand in the world. Managing Director Mike Port said the brand was born of a desire to reduce emissions and make the world a better place for future generations, and aims to provide what consumers want – clear messaging and transparency on sustainability. An example of the latter is the way it calculates its CO2 footprint: “It’s very important for us to use mainly primary data, not from statistical banks, but checking all individual steps where emissions occur. It’s quite sophisticated and time intensive but it’s what we think is necessary for a serious project,” he said. In January, Belgian retailer Delhaize replaced its then premium banana line with BE CLIMATE bananas and Port said their sales volume in 2020 has exceeded that of the previous brand, showing “customers will switch to more sustainable bananas when given the choice.” BE CLIMATE also has climate neutral strawberries, blueberries, and clementines, with more products in the pipeline. Port and its partners along the supply chain have carbon reduction projects across eight categories: wind power, solar power, water treatment, energy efficiency, greening, recycling, fuel saving and E-drive, Port also said.

The case for going beyond organic

LEHMANN NATUR sees permaculture as a necessary step beyond organics. “In times of climate change…we need more than just ‘organic’, we need sustainable agriculture that supports soil fertility, biodiversity and preservation of natural resources,” said Didier Fleury, business development manager for the northwestern Germany-based organic fruit and vegetable supplier. Fleury explained permaculture as a holistic approach to life and the most natural way to grow produce. Beyond Germany, the firm also owns about 200ha in Huelva, Spain, which it uses not just to apply permaculture but to teach it. “It’s very important to us to help producers in this conversion,” he said, “especially given “80% of production worldwide is still conventional.” As for demand in Germany, one of the countries leading the push for more natural production, 19% of fruit and vegetables sold there are organic, of which 8% is permaculture-demeter. “It’s still low because the volume is really huge and there is a conversion time”, Fleury said. Growing the market for permaculture will depend greatly on making it affordable for more consumers, he stressed. Tests in various German supermarkets show that when the price of such produce is not more than 25% above conventional, then the market share goes from 15% to 30% and sometimes 40%, which means there is a high level of customer willingness to buy more natural, tastier produce but the price is sometimes a barrier, he said. In the case of ginger, retailers have found that when they offer only organic, and combine it with very focused marketing, the volume increases and the price comes down. But retailers need to work a different way with the producers and agree on 1-2 prices a year, as the current weekly price system can’t work for organic growers, he said. Also, in supermarkets, organic tomatoes are usually twice the price of conventional ones, and that’s not the case in production. “Across the whole chain there is a lot of opportunity to drop the price of organic…such as in the areas of packaging, logistics and waste at the end of the chain,” he said.

SESSION THREE: The case for cooperation between breeders and retailers

How organic breeding adds value to the food chain

“The benefits of organic breeding span the whole value chain,” said FiBL Europe plant breeding expert Mariateresa Lazzaro, opening the third session of the congress. “Organic breeding delivers cultivars that are reproducible, robust, yield stable, locally adapted and tasteful for organic production,” she said. However organic plant breeding needs to be strongly promoted, which requires funding. Lazzaro gave examples of ongoing small-scale value-chain based collaborations for securing such funds (e.g. the Fair-Breeding® and Organic Sunflower Seed initiatives) and proposed a cross-sector funding pool strategy to boost organic breeding. A flat rate of 0.1-0.2% of total organic market turnover at point of sale has been proposed for promoting collaboration across the value-chain to achieve the objective of organic products from the start (Engagement.Biobreeding project). “Integrating organic breeding into value-chain partnerships will ensure the integrity of the organic products of tomorrow and strengthen consumer confidence,” she said.

Retailer EcorNaturaSì works closely with farmers to ensure the best for them, and consumers 

“The products we distribute must contribute to improving human health – both consumers and producers – as well as the well-being of the soil and the environment in which we live.” That’s the mission of Italian organic and biodynamic grower and retailer ECORNATURASÌ, said its supermarket chain manager Carlo Murer. EcorNaturaSì has over 70 stores in Italy and 2 in Madrid and boasts over 4,000 organic products. It owns 2 farms but also works with over 300 producers in Italy (and some in Spain), with production over 7,000 ha in Italy alone, and controls production supply chains for bananas in Colombia; pears, garlic and onions in Argentina; and ginger and turmeric in Peru. “Price is not the key concern when we select a farm, it is the quality of and the type of farming,” he said. And a sign of consumer trust in the chain is the fact that it saw a 14% increase in sales during lockdown. “When people need to feel safe they come to our shop,” Murer said. Although retail prices for organic fresh produce are above those for conventional, the true cost of conventional production is actually much higher, he said.

The need for organic veg varieties that free from cell-fusion breeding

A big problem for organic growers is knowing if seeds result from a method known as cell fusion and obtaining ones that do not. So said biologist Holger Scharpenberg, who handles the subject of organic plant breeding for Germany’s Bundesverband Naturkost Naturwaren (BNN), an association representing the organic food sector’s interests. He said while several organic farming associations do not allow varieties produced with the help of cell fusion to be sold as ‘organic’, the EU organic regulation does and imposes no labelling requirement regarding it. “This is a big problem, and furthermore, the market of brassicas and chicory is dominated by cell fusion-derived CMS (cytoplasmic male sterility) hybrids.” CMS uses methods “that are not genetic engineering but similar to it,” he said. “The proportion of hybrids in Germany’s certified organic agriculture is between 65% and 100%, it depends on the type of vegetable, and in the end, organic breeding often reaches a dead end with increasing uncertainty.” The BNN is thus lobbying for mandatory labeling of the methods used in plant breeding and in the meantime is helping the organic sector in two key ways, one being the publication of a list of all available varieties of sugar loaf, chicory, cabbage and radicchio types that are cell fusion-free. The second is a concrete breeding-project to develop cell fusion-free varieties as an alternative to CMS hybrids. The latter has involved cooperation from Germany’s vegetable wholesalers and the donation of a small percentage of annual turnover to help fund it. Seeds are already available for three new varieties – Rasmus (broccoli), Etardo (chicory) and Cleopha (cucumber). And by 2022, a further nine varieties should be market ready, including a yellow-fruited courgette and a cauliflower called Selma Grando, Scharpenberg said.

New organic varieties and brands meeting consumer demands

VITALIS Organic Seeds regional sales director Christof Flörchinger started with a look at what’s driving consumer food choices today. A desire for taste, shared experiences, and for healthy, nutritious food that has been produced fairly are key factors, as is the fact people have less time to cook and are snacking more, he said. Understanding such trends could help boost organic food sales in the European market, which has considerable scope to grow given its value of €37 billion is well below global leader the US’s €47 billion, according to AMI FiBL 2017-18 figures Flörchinger shared. He went on to list the hottest issues in consumer demand, which include reduction of waste and plastic, and foods that are organic, non-GMO, pesticide-free, flavoursome and nutritious. “Organic production starts with organic seeds,” he said, so VITALIS has bred new organic varieties and brands addressing these trends. Among them are greenCumbers, which are cucumbers with genetics giving them longer shelf life (thus reducing waste) without the need for plastic wrapping, and the Orange Summer F1 pumpkin, which ticks off many consumer desires with its excellent taste, suitability for a wide variety or production zones, and good yield and storage. “The sweetness index of Orange Summer F1 is much higher than standard pumpkins,” and “its sugar content is even higher three months after harvest,” Flörchinger said. Also new is the Tribelli pepper range, catering to consumer demand for food that is enjoyable and easy to eat. Flörchinger’s advice to organic suppliers is to offer products “with special traits you can really make a story out of.”

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Citrusvil seeks to consolidate traditional and emerging markets

Citrusvil seeks to consolidate traditional and emerging markets
© Citrusvil 


Argentina exported around 242,000 tons of fresh lemon in 2020, a slight increase compared to 2019, although far from what was initially projected. According to Francisco Rotella, Citrusvil Fresh Fruit’s commercial manager, the season went through several stages, many of which were heavily affected by Covid-19.

The pandemic prompted consumers to turn to citrus fruits, including lemons for its high content of Vitamin C and its capacity to strengthen the immune system. The measures adopted to prevent the spread of the virus seriously impacted the crucial food service channel, especially in Europe and the United States. Moreover, Argentina decided to suspend lemon exports to Europe on July 1, 2020. This erratic scenario was reflected in the great price fluctuations, especially in Europe.

“At Citrusvil, we achieved exports of close to 27,000 tons. The 5,000 tons shipped to the United States market complied with the estimates made at the beginning of the campaign,” said Rotella. “This market is a destination on which Citrusvil will continue to focus in the coming seasons.”

Looking ahead to the next campaign, the company’s goal is to consolidate not only in traditional markets but also in so-called emerging markets, such as India and China, where Citrusvil is already working on commercial development. It will also seek to continue increasing its participation in other markets such as the Middle and Far East.

Positive balance of the pandemic

COVID-19 forced the Citrusvil organisation to adopt new protocols in its production processes in order to continue operating and guarantee the supply chain. To minimise the impacts, training of operational personnel was essential to ensure total adherence to prevention measures and protocols and the continuity of activity. This was achieved with a strong message to staff about the need to get the industry moving.

“This crisis has certainly generated a positive change in the culture of our company, where we have managed to adapt to the context, incorporating new health and safety protocols that have meant a great contribution to the industry in terms of food safety,” said Rotella. “All this will allow us to plan for the future and be prepared to overcome new risk situations as a reliable and sustainable supplier.

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YOOM™ tomato wins prestigious Three Star Superior Taste Award in recognition of its marvelous taste

YOOM™ tomato wins prestigious Three Star Superior Taste Award in recognition of its marvelous taste


Enkhuizen,The Netherlands, October 14th, 2020 – Syngenta’s new purple cocktail tomato YOOM™ has been awarded the 2020 prestigious Three Star Superior Taste Award, by the International Taste Institute in Brussels, Belgium.

In recognition of its “remarkable taste”, the distinctive YOOM™ tomato scored an impressive 91.3% in a rigorous blind tasting evaluation, that was carried out by prestigious chefs and sommeliers from around the world.

The professional jury of over 200 taste experts rated the YOOM™ tomato:

  • 91.3% as its overall score
  • 93% for its pleasing and consistent visual aspect, due to its attractive, distinctive color
  • 91% for its overall gustative impression
  • 91% for its aroma which plays an essential role in its flavor perception
  • 91% for its flavors which are a perfect sweet and sour balance for an umami taste
  • 89% for its texture, which is a key hedonic factor in foods


Stijn Roelandt, Sous Chef at Hof van Cleve, 3 Michelin Stars, who is on the judging panel, explained that the competition consists of a very strict judging process, where the products are blind tasted.

“This means we have to be completely objective as we do the sensory analysis and as a result, only truly good products achieve certification,” he said.

This year also saw the distinctive YOOM™ tomato win the prestigious Gold Award at the Fruit Logistica Innovation Awards 2020 in Berlin, which honors outstanding innovations in the fresh produce Industry, from production to the point of sale.

YOOM™ stood out as an innovation due to its highly attractive purple color, great flavor and vitality boost. Besides his marvelous taste, YOOM™ also provides large quantities of vitamins and anthocyanins compared to regular red tomatoes which makes it a healthy food option for the consumer.

Jeremie Chabanis, Syngenta Value Chain Head EAME, said: “Taste is of central importance to today’s discerning customers and so it is great YOOM™ is being recognized for its exceptional flavor and innovation in the marketplace through these prestigious awards. In collaboration with growers, we have created a tomato that offers a gourmet experience for consumers who seek an uplift their daily meals, while being easy to grow and delivering good shelf-life, benefiting stakeholders from across the value chain.”

YOOM™ tomatoes are currently available in, Belgium, Switzerland Austria Denmark, Germany, France, Greece and Spain Hungary, Japan Korea Australia, with distribution soon to expand to markets that include, Canada, United Kingdom, the United States and China.

Discover more at:

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Fourteenth Saint-Charles Export General Meeting

Fourteenth Saint-Charles Export General Meeting


The fourteenth Saint-Charles Export General Meeting, chaired by Mr Julien Batlle, was held in strict compliance of sanitary rules and allowed the members of the Group (Financial Institutions, Professional Associations and Trade Unions, Territorial Communities and Consular Chambers), to openly discuss the current issues of the platform and the fruit and vegetable, and transport and logistics sectors.

5 October 2020 – This meeting was an opportunity to go over the results of 2019, which was full of action for Saint-Charles Export, including participation in meetings concerning the railway line between Perpignan and Rungis, the defence of the Franco-Spanish Bilateral Agreement, not to mention the signature events that are the very essence of Saint-Charles Export: several international buyers’ receptions and very substantial involvement of the group at the MEDFEL trade shows in Perpignan and FRUIT ATTRACTION in Madrid.

As everyone knows, these meetings could not be held in 2020, and being able to gather together is greatly missed by the profession today! This demonstrates, if it was needed, the importance of these actions carried out by Saint-Charles Export for the benefit of businesses in the area, and professionals are eager to be able to return to trade shows.

Despite this profession’s key events being cancelled, Saint-Charles Export has been able to bounce back by taking action within the context of the COVID-19 pandemic:

“Actions for Perpignan’s teaching hospital”

Every Wednesday between April and June Saint Charles International organised 5 collections for healthcare personnel, with more than 5 tonnes of fresh fruit and vegetables being collected and distributed in over 1,600 baskets from 2.6 to 3.6 kg. Meanwhile, Saint-Charles Export donated more than 2,000 FFP2 masks to the teaching hospital in Perpignan.

“Establishment of a permanent working group for crisis management”

Even before the lockdown of 17 March, a “Coronavirus” working group was established within the Saint Charles International platform. This joined together business leaders and administrations.

The idea of this working group was particularly to benefit from knowledge, advice and recommendations from ARS and PST 66 in the face of COVID-19, as well as the expertise of the DIRECCTE (regional directorate for companies, consumption, work and employment), the CPAM (local sickness insurance fund) or the URSSAF (Organisations for the Collection of Social Security and Family Benefit Contributions) on the different measures implemented by the State to support businesses, in particular those to facilitate childcare or work disruption for vulnerable people, but also deferments and/or exemptions from charges etc.

All relevant information from these working groups was therefore distributed to all companies of the platform.

“Pooling of resources to buy surgical masks and hand sanitisers”

Saint-Charles Export and the National Syndicate of Fruit & Vegetable Importers & Exporters (SNIFL) of Saint Charles introduced a pooling of masks and hand gels, not only to benefit all member companies, but also any company or institution in the area that requested them. This service was opened to as many people as possible, which shows that despite the organisational difficulties encountered, the platform has lost nothing in terms of solidarity and humanity!

Some figures on resource pooling:

  • 812,000 masks
  • 2,321 litres of hand sanitiser (in the form of 100- and 500-ml bottles and 5 L drums)
  • 348 sachets of hydroalcoholic gel-soaked wipes
  • 282 disinfectant sprays

In terms of forecasting, different projects were discussed during this General Meeting, including:

“Saint-Charles 2020-2040”

On 21 March 2019, with institutional partners, communities and representatives of professionals from Saint-Charles, the first meeting on this topic made it possible to establish the roadmap of sites which are essential for the completion of this major project.

So, it was decided by Perpignan Mediterranean Metropolis (PMM) to deliver a “Global study on the long-term evolution of Saint-Charles” with the aim to sustainably rethink the overall development of the platform, its traffic plan, services to be provided to users, property, secure access and opening up of the site, parking and receiving heavy goods vehicles in the zone, signage, mobility, energy mix etc.

This project consists of “State / Region / PMM / Saint Charles International” joint funding.

The first actions carried out by PMM was to commission AURCA (Catalan Pyrenees-Mediterranean Urban Planning Agency) to carry out a first dynamic diagnosis on the state of play and the development prospects of the zone.

The first actions carried out by the DDTM (Departmental Directorate of Territories and the Sea) made it possible to recruit engineering and expertise from all players in the development of the territory (public/private) and to collect financial support from various public bodies (EPF Occitanie/DREAL Occitanie/Ministry of Ecology – Directorate of Infrastructures and Transport).

This General Assembly also made it possible to express particular thanks to Perpignan Mediterranean Metropolis, to the Occitanie Pyrenees-Mediterranean Region, to Crédit Agricole Sud Méditerranée and to the Banque Populaire du Sud, who once again confirmed their support in all steps and actions undertaken by the group.

Julien Batlle ended by announcing “our group has demonstrated flexibility and agility. It has dealt with various crises by pursuing and adapting its model and actions with the sole aim of meeting the needs of our SMEs and Micro SMEs, and as long as this philosophy is ours, as long as we progress in “project” mode, Saint-Charles Export will have a bright future ahead and its purpose cannot be contested.”

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FarmFresh Conservers are used in lime exports from Brazil to Eurasia

FarmFresh Conservers are used in lime exports from Brazil to Eurasia


Protected in EPS packaging manufactured by Termotécnica, fruits maintain freshness and nutritional quality, with lower logistics costs, during long transit times


Brazil, one of the world’s largest Tahiti lime producers, is also the fruit’s largest exporter to the European Union according to Abrafrutas (Brazilian Association of Exporting Producers of Fruits and Byproducts). Even though only 7% of production is destined for the international market – about 70 million tons –, lime exports in the last decade have doubled in the country. And in 2020, with the Covid-19 pandemic along with health professionals’ recommendation to increase consumption of FLV (Fruits, Legumes and Vegetables) to strengthen immunity, the worldwide demand for citrus fruits is growing.

Developing conserver solutions under the FarmFresh brand, working together with partner producers and traders, Termotécnica has contributed toward the increased participation of Brazilian fruit in foreign markets. Now in July, a large shipment of Tahiti limes has just been dispatched to supply the Eurasian market, packed in FarmFresh conservers.

Due to the long transit time, about one month between harvest in Brazil until consumer availability in these purchasing countries, the qualities of FarmFresh EPS conservers provide great advantages throughout the entire chain. With this packaging and preservation solution, fruits imported from Brazil can sustain the long transport journey, arriving in the most distant markets with greater freshness while maintaining their nutritional values. “Our post-harvest solutions not only value but are also a great asset for Brazilian fruit producers, since they ensure that fruits are packaged, transported, delivered and displayed to their customers in various countries with the same quality, freshness and care taken during the cultivation and harvest processes”, states Termotécnica’s Superintendent Diretor, Nivaldo Fernandes de Oliveira.

In this true race against time, from producer to consumer, Termotécnica’s post-harvest solutions extend the fruits’ shelf-life by up to 30%, maintaining their nutritional properties longer. Certified by tests in European laboratories (AgroTropical and HDG), these results confirm less food waste and losses, making the FarmFresh line sustainable and suitable for packaging fruits from harvest to consumers, lower impact and vibration forces while in transit as well as better retail display.

Patented technology and designs allow for high thermal insulation, ease in stacking and transport. This also translates into more days with healthier, fresher food on store shelves providing many advantages for the retailer. Also, regarding operational and logistics cost issues, the benefits of FarmFresh EPS conservers, against other materials, are proven. Compared to cardboard packaging, for example, EPS conservers are up to 60% lighter, reducing weight by approximately 30%, which also means savings on air freight.

With health safety at the top of consumer concerns worldwide, the European Organization for Packaging and the Environment requested the European Commission, in March, to recognize packaging as an essential component for maintaining the uninterrupted flow of product groups identified as critical, such as “health-related and perishable goods, notably foodstuffs”. Termotécnica defines FarmFresh line’s positioning as the ideal “travel companion” so that fruits, grown by Brazilian producers, arrive in perfect condition in demanding markets such as those of Europe and Asia. “We present the test results and quantify the gains according to each situation. With longer shelf-life and all the characteristics of logistical efficiency, such as reduced freight, we help customers increase competitiveness and, consequently, their sales volumes and market share worldwide”, affirms Nivaldo de Oliveira.

And with the WorldStar 2019 award, granted by the WPO (World Packaging Organization), one of the packaging market’s most important recognitions in the Food and Save Food categories, Termotécnica has established itself as a global reference in post-harvest solutions, making Brazilian fruits, legumes and vegetables gain a more prominent place in international markets while at the same time combating food waste.

About Termotécnica

With a 58 year history, Termotécnica is one of Latin America’s largest EPS processing companies and one of the most sustainable companies in Brazil, according to Exame Guide 2019. With an entrepreneurial spirit, it develops solutions from Packaging & Components, Conservation, Agribusiness, Cold Chain, Cargo Handling to Building Construction materials. Headquartered in Joinville (SC), South Brazil, it has production and recycling units in Manaus (AM), Petrolina (PE), Rio Claro (SP), São José dos Pinhais (PR) and Pirabeiraba (SC).

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Women and Gender Equality in agriculture

Women and Gender Equality in agriculture


An Exploratory Study on Women and Gender Equality in South African Agricultural Careers


South Africa, 23 July 2020 – SIZA, in cooperation with the Western Cape Department of Agriculture, is excited to announce the launch of a project specifically aimed at gathering more insight into the representation and treatment of women within the South African agricultural industry, with a strong focus on careers. The focus on gender equality and dignity of all people is becoming ever greater across the globe and people and businesses alike are realizing the value behind dignified treatment of all employees.

The project was initiated as an exploratory study aimed at gaining an understanding of the number of females actively involved in various career positions within the South African agricultural industry. This is largely due to export markets requiring more information from their suppliers on gender representation within businesses. The study includes a quantitative research component as well as a qualitative component. An independent researcher was contracted to collect data from credible and academic sources and included the findings gathered from a survey distributed to various industries and organisations across South Africa. After the initial data collection, interviews were conducted with relevant stakeholders within various industries to allow for more insight into female representation. The data has been compiled in a research paper and the interviews are available to view in a documentary You Tube video. Due to COVID-19 regulations, the majority of the interviews were done via virtual platforms.

The primary objective of this study is to determine how many women are employed in this industry, how they experience the working environment as women, what some of the challenges are, what barriers are faced by women in the industry, and how they are represented. The study elaborates on what responsibilities fall onto men and how organizational assistance can contribute to the future of all those within agriculture. Furthermore, to allow for effective and practical support, the secondary objectives are to ascertain whether women are treated with dignity at all levels of the industry and to identify barriers which hinder gender equality in agriculture.

This research study is prepared to allow all stakeholders in the value chain a glimpse into how women are represented and treated in South African agriculture, the extent to which women have been liberated, and to identify areas of improvement. SIZA also would like to identify the limitations so that support can be created to ensure that women are well represented in Agriculture in the years to come.

Women have an important role to play in the future of agriculture worldwide. Although the role of women in agriculture enjoys more recognition than a few years ago, much more can be done to support women in the industry. SIZA is excited to launch this project and provide a better look at females within our industry. It is ultimately not only about women, but about the wider industry and society at large and how roles are going to change once more women entered the workplace.

For more information please contact Retha Louw ( or Werner van Dyk ( or contact the SIZA office at Tel (021) 852 8184.

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FRUIT LOGISTICA 2021: Madlen Miserius invites the fresh fruit and vegetable business to create a new global vision

FRUIT LOGISTICA 2021: Inspire by focusing on change and opportunity


Berlin, 24 July 2020 – At a time of unprecedented challenge, transition and reinvention, FRUIT LOGISTICA 2021 is focusing on change and opportunity. Madlen Miserius, Senior Product Manager at FRUIT LOGISTICA, invites the fresh fruit and vegetable business to create a new global vision while meeting up in Berlin in February 2021.

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FRUIT LOGISTICA 2021: Inspire by focusing on change and opportunity

FRUIT LOGISTICA 2021: Inspire by focusing on change and opportunity

Berlin, 6 July 2020 – FRUIT LOGISTICA is reaffirming its ambition in a time of unprecedented challenge, transition and reinvention for fresh fruit and vegetable businesses everywhere by focusing its 2021 edition on the many opportunities for all those fresh produce professionals who come together every February in Berlin.

“FRUIT LOGISTICA is the platform to set scene for new opportunities for the global fresh produce business and to prepare the new global scenario”, says Madlen Miserius, Senior Product Manager at FRUIT LOGISTICA.  

“The current situation has brought unprecedented challenges to all of us,” she explains. “Changes already underway have been accelerated by this pandemic. Companies have had to adapt quickly and show great resilience. There is no doubt that 2021 is going to be a year of consolidation. Only those best prepared to face the challenges ahead of us will prosper. At a time of great change, our role at FRUIT LOGISTICA is to help you generate new business, to help you find ways to innovate and to inspire.”

Pressing refresh

As part of its continued commitment to supporting the international fruit and vegetable business, FRUIT LOGISTICA is making available for free a brand new report on the impact of the coronavirus crisis on the fresh produce industry.

“Pressing Refresh”, published by Fruitnet Media International, combines analysis from key players in the fresh produce industry with insight from Fruitnet’s international team of experts. “Pressing Refresh” is now available at The report covers three key areas: markets, supply and logistics, and underlines the fresh produce industry’s strong determination to overcome the new challenges created by the outbreak.

For example, the report explains how Dutch tomato business RedStar has had to completely rethink staffing arrangements at its greenhouses, while in New Zealand T&G Global is now chartering its own ships to ensure millions of apples destined for Europe arrive without delay.

FRUIT LOGISTICA’s organisers are aware of uncertainties ahead for everyone even though the number of stand registrations for 2021 is already very promising. That’s why they are continuously publishing updates to their Frequently Asked Questions page. This section helps exhibitors answer their most common concerns in the run-up to the 2021 edition of FRUIT LOGISTICA.

Exhibitors who submit their applications by 31 July 2020 can be first in line to get their preferred locations in the floorplan for FRUIT LOGISTICA 2021, says Miserius.