Wilco Arts, North Bay Produce Europe:

«The initial volumes of the Peruvian season drew a lot of attention to our blueberries»

North Bay Produce's Dutch sales office enters its fourth year this year. “We now have six people working in the Netherlands and England, places we should continue to expand in the coming years,” begins Wilco Arts. North Bay is a North American cooperative with producers in North, Central and South America. North Bay Europe's Dutch office focuses on the marketing of blueberries of standard and premium varieties from Peru, Chile, Africa and Europe. "We are currently receiving the last berries from Peru from our Sekoya® program."

The North Bay team produces from North, Central, South America and Europe during Fruit Logistica

As a result of El Niño's woes, Wilco reflects on a difficult season abroad. «That affected everyone and our supply forecasts were higher than what we ended up having. However, our Peruvian team said from the beginning that we needed to slow sales. So we were able to meet our programs perfectly last year. Especially at the beginning of the season, there was very little fruit on the market. However, we had reasonably good volumes available to serve European retail. This is because our Sekoya berries performed better, especially early in the season, than most other blueberries. "It attracted a lot of attention," he says.

«Blueberry market prices differ quite a bit. A lot of volume has arrived from Chile and supermarkets are responding quite aggressively with promotions. The prices of the new Peruvian and Moroccan harvest were much higher. As one of Sekoya's licensees, we are able to license our growers around the world to grow this variety program. We do it more and more in countries like Morocco, Spain, Poland, South Africa and Georgia. In this way we can offer Sekoya varieties throughout the year in the European market and thus distinguish ourselves with premium varieties. “We continue to explore new areas and look for the right partners where we can grow.”

«In the coming years, better varieties will probably increasingly replace standard ones on the market. For us, as Sekoya licensees, it is a great opportunity. We use the same concept with raspberries and blackberries. We have test centers in Serbia and Morocco “This should lead to an annual program to supply the European market,” explains Wilco.

In addition to its berries, North Bay is also a major player in snow peas and Peruvian sweets. «This season started a few weeks later than planned due to weather conditions. "The rain and delays made it difficult, but that affected our producer in Caraz less than in other producing areas of Peru, leading to an even better quality season than in previous years."

«We import snow peas and Peruvian snow peas mainly by sea transport and we have them available almost all year round. With just a few weeks of product from Guatemala, we can offer it all year round. Plus, with just a few weeks of product from Guatemala, “We can offer it all year round. “We look forward to offering high-quality snow peas and snow peas next season.”

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