"Morocco is taking the lead in the European berry season"

The Moroccan blueberry import season is already well advanced in Europe. Fruitful-Berries is a young Dutch startup that focuses on the red fruit assortment, in particular on Moroccan cultivation. "We want to make the Moroccan market our own. Spain has lagged a bit behind in innovations and in planting new varieties," says co-founder and owner Robbert Leisink.

«The Moroccan market, on the other hand, offers many new opportunities and varieties. As a new company, we would like to link up with these new varieties; we are very focused on Morocco. Producers ask us if we can market their product correctly and at a fair price. "That's where our work lies and, so far, it has worked very well."

The company is importing increasing amounts of berries from Morocco. «They have excellent quality. They are pretty, sweet, crunchy and juicy. Sometimes you buy a box of berries "They are not juicy or firm, but, of course, that is not the case with these," says Robbert.

The market keeps looking

Robbert expects the season to continue through Week 22 this year. «However, that depends on several factors. One of them is the weather conditions, which have to be excellent to continue until week 22. This season, once again, bad weather has been an obstacle, for example for raspberries. "This has caused sales to plummet and prices to rise sharply." COVID-19 is another unknown. «The market is still searching and is reluctant to commit to programs. "There is a lot of uncertainty, so everyone focuses on what is best for them and for the producers, week to week."

«The virus has also changed the company's internal focus a bit. We now pay a lot of attention to transporters, for example. Maintaining good contact with them is a full-time job. Are shipments arriving early or late? These are some of the issues that we continually discuss with them so that we can always give our clients the correct information,” explains Robbert.

Progressive company

This young progressive company is thriving. «The Moroccan market is growing and we are naturally going along with it. To do this, we must adjust our sales in several ways. Now we are thinking about consumption. Could we get them to eat more blueberries, for example?

Leisink doesn't have any concrete answers to this question yet, but he has plenty of ideas. «Supermarkets still have many 125 gram trays for sale, but Scandinavian establishments are increasingly offering 200 gram trays as a minimum packaging. “As long as the quality remains high, it should be possible here too, but consumers must be willing to pay more.”

Taking the initiative together

This strategy retail It also offers other opportunities. «Supermarkets still use too much plastic packaging, which can be replaced by sustainable cardboard packaging, but retailers they still often say they are too expensive. We believe it is possible to eliminate more plastic packaging from retail. If we take the initiative together, it can be done. I hope that a tipping point will be reached and that, in the future, retailers be willing to pay a little more for sustainable packaging. When one makes the leap, the rest will follow,” concludes Robbert.

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