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Westfalia Fruit Group Celebrates Founder’s 150th Birthday

Westfalia Fruit Group Celebrates Founder’s 150th Birthday
Photo: Dr Merensky in the grasses

Yesterday, 16 March 2021, marks the 150th birthday of Dr Hans Merensky, the founder of the Westfalia Fruit Group. Dr Merensky was an acclaimed geologist and a dedicated humanitarian and was known for his love of nature. Dr Merensky’s vision was to develop a sustainable environmental and economic future for the Group – in line with values that are central to Westfalia’s global operations today.

To celebrate Dr Merensky’s birthday and to mark a milestone in the Group’s history, Westfalia is working towards the long-term target to ultimately recover the Group’s Lifetime Carbon emissions by 2049, which will be exactly 100 years since its first farm was established. This goal will enable the Group to begin the next 100 years as it started, taking responsibility for the past and delivering meaningful change for the future.

Johnathan Sutton, Group Safety & Environmental Executive, Westfalia Fruit Group

“Our aim is to ensure our environmental commitments are an integral part of our day-to-day business, and that we challenge ourselves to build on the Group’s environmental performance and operate globally in a responsible, sustainable manner,” says Johnathan Sutton, Group Safety and Environmental Executive.

“Dr Merensky’s legacy means sustainability is not a new concept to Westfalia, and our operations continuously challenge themselves throughout the supply chain,” adds Johnathan. “For example, in Europe we have developed plastic-free packaging that maintains fruit quality and shelf life. Several of our orchards in South America have developed an innovative, integrated pest management program, working with the local environment to significantly reduce the use of pesticides. Finally, in Africa our processing operations work to use the whole fruit, producing oil, puree and guacamole – resulting in minimal waste. As Westfalia continues to grow its business, the Group will aim to ensure all assets being established have the latest environmental credentials, using innovative ideas to create exceptional facilities that live out our core purpose: to do good”.

“As an orchard-fruit producer, we have the potential benefit of capturing carbon through the trees we farm, and our soil is a carbon sink. We increase this potential each year by returning composted green materials back into the orchards.”

Alk Brand, CEO of the Westfalia Fruit Group concludes: “Climate change is a complex issue, and not one we can solve in isolation. However, as responsible guardians of the environment, working together as a team with like-minded partners, we can make a significant positive impact. I am sure Dr Merensky would be proud to see that his legacy continues today and for future generations”.

About Westfalia Fruit

The multinational Westfalia Fruit Group is a leading supplier of fresh and processed produce to international markets, offering a diverse range of quality fruit and related products via its vertically integrated supply chain. As a frontrunner in the avocado industry, Westfalia grows, sources, ripens, packs, processes and markets accredited avocados across the globe throughout the year. Value-added products include avocado oil, low-preservative guacamole, frozen avocado and dried fruit.

Westfalia grows fruit in all major origins in the Americas and Africa and sources from partner orchards, giving Westfalia the most diverse avocado-growing footprint in the world.

A supplier of choice to retail, wholesale and food-service customers, Westfalia operates sales offices in the UK, Europe, North America, Latin America and southern Africa. Fruit is packed in diverse formats and expertly ripened to deliver optimal eating quality.



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Westfalia Fruit acquires Hausladen Fruchthandel in Germany

Westfalia Fruit acquires Hausladen Fruchthandel in Germany
Photo: Alk Brand, CEO Westfalia Fruit & Christoph Buchner, CEO Hausladen Fruchthandel

Acquisition of exotics supplier solidifies Westfalia’s European presence

January 22, 2021 – Leading multinational avocado specialist Westfalia Fruit has signed a deal, subject to merger control approval, to acquire a controlling interest in Hausladen Fruchthandel, a prominent family-owned fruit supplier headquartered in Munich, Germany.    

Founded in 1932, Hausladen has a strong presence in Germany with exotics such as avocado, mango, papaya and pomegranate as well as southern European produce. The company is also active in neighbouring markets including Austria and Slovenia. 

The deal is closely aligned with the vision of the Westfalia Fruit Group, which is to retain and expand its position as a global avocado market leader, and to create shareholder and other stakeholder value, including synergistic benefits across the Group’s integrated avocado value chain.

“Germany is the third largest retail avocado market in Europe which has strong potential for further growth,” comments Westfalia Fruit CEO Alk Brand. “Our presence in this country is key to penetrating the market, supplying key customers and solidifying our leading EU presence. It also provides an important platform for our key growers globally. We are excited to welcome Hausladen to our global family and recognise the considerable experience and standing of such a successful and respected operation.”

The founding family, including Andreas and Christoph Buchner, will remain in the business, with Christoph continuing as CEO of the German entity.

“Westfalia’s culture is a good fit for us,” notes Christoph, “particularly with their focus on putting ‘family first’. As a leading exotics importer, ripener, packer and distributor in Germany, we have developed a strong base of blue-chip retail customers and have enjoyed strong historic growth. This deal provides us with further growth opportunities to become the market leader in Germany and other targeted territories, and gives us access to an established and integrated supply chain with the capacity to expand.”

More information is available on both companies at and

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Westfalia launches two new co-owned avocado rootstocks from its breeding and selection programme

Westfalia launches two new co-owned avocado rootstocks from its breeding and selection programme

                                                                                                                                                                                         Press release

The protected plant material will soon be commercially available in South Africa and the USA

TZANEEN, South Africa, 3 August 2020 – Following more than two decades of thorough testing as part of its rootstock breeding and screening programme, the Westfalia Fruit Group is excited to be releasing two new avocado rootstocks, co-owned by Westfalia and The South African Avocado Growers’ Association, for commercial sale under the Merensky name.

Trees of these two new avocado rootstocks are being trademarked under the names of Leola™ (Merensky 6) and Zerala™ (Merensky 5). The novel rootstocks yield healthier trees and better-producing orchards under challenging growing conditions than do other industry-standard rootstocks, as confirmed in recent trials. The rootstocks have been released in the USA and South Africa, with commercial roll-out to be expanded as further trials deliver similarly positive results.

For almost 40 years, Westfalia’s R&D division, Westfalia Technological Services, has been researching disease-tolerant clonal rootstocks to develop selections with superior tree health and yields. The Group’s existing avocado rootstocks Latas® (Merensky 1) and Dusa® (Merensky 2), which were successfully developed and tested over two decades, have enjoyed increasing success with the support of loyal licencees, specifically Brokaw Nurseries from Ventura, California, and its affiliates across the Spanish-speaking world. These rootstocks offer high root-rot tolerance and higher yields, with Dusa® also offering some salinity tolerance. To date, Dusa® has been the top seller among clonally propagated rootstocks worldwide. Protected under Plant Breeders’ Rights, it is grown successfully in Australia, New Zealand, Spain, Israel, the USA, South America and South Africa. More than 1.5 million Dusa® trees are sold annually in the commercial market.

Now, with the launch of Leola™ and Zerala™, co-owned by Westfalia and the South African Avocado Growers’ Association (SAAGA), growers are presented with higher-yielding rootstocks developed to suit a range of growing conditions around the world. This supports the Group’s reputation as ‘Avocado Experts’ and as a pioneer in the avocado industry, and also enhances Westfalia’s ability to plant sustainable and productive orchards of its own.

The rootstocks were evaluated under a broad range of production conditions in various countries. Demonstrating tolerance to Phytophthora cinnamomi root-rot under heavy infection pressure, Leola™ was shown to outperform Duke 7 – the previous industry-standard rootstock – in initial productivity screening, and even outperformed Dusa® in recent trials. In addition to being selected for its high standard of productivity, Zerala™ is Westfalia’s rootstock of choice for growing in areas facing salinity challenges. Both new rootstocks will continue to undergo large-scale monitored plantings and trials.

South African growers can contact their preferred Avocado Nurserymen’s Association (ANA) accredited nursery directly to enquire about the commercial availability of these rootstocks.

The launch is of great significance to the global avocado industry, making greater yields possible under a range of challenging growing conditions and allowing larger volumes of fruit to be produced and marketed across the globe, to meet growing consumer demand.


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Westfalia Fruit appoints Johnathan Sutton to head up Group Safety and Environment role

Westfalia Fruit appoints Johnathan Sutton to head up Group Safety and Environment role

                                                                                                                                                                                                    Press release

Westfalia Fruit International Ltd announced this week that industry veteran Johnathan Sutton has been appointed to fill the newly created role of Executive of Safety & Environment for the multinational Group.

With effect from 1 June, Sutton will be tasked with driving the “Avocado Experts” towards greater heights of sustainability, refining systems and protocols to ensure optimal levels of compliance with regards to environmental impact, food safety, and the health and safety of employees.

Sutton is a leading food industry professional with high-level procurement, technical and commercial knowledge, gained over decades in the retail sector. He is an advocate and coach of continuous improvement and has a drive for lean efficiency across all pillars of the industry. A proven team leader, John is committed to people development, product innovation, sustainability and strategic sourcing.

“At a time when the world’s attention is focused on the preservation of health, safety and the environment, John is a welcome addition to our Westfalia Fruit family,” notes Group CEO Alk Brand. “He’s also a staunch supporter of the values that have been upheld by the Group since it was founded over seven decades ago.” It’s this heritage, together with a clear vision for the future, that will help drive the Group towards continuous improvement of food and people safety as well as sustainability for all its global business units, says Brand.

The announcement comes on the eve of #WorldEnvironmentDay, which raises awareness of the need to “build back better for People and Planet”, especially during these exceptional times. 

Established in 1949, the Westfalia Fruit Group supplies fresh produce and related value-added products to international markets. An integrated supply chain incorporating all activities ‘from pip to plate’ enables it to market quality fruit from across the globe throughout the year. For more information visit, @WestfaliaFruit and #avoexperts.