100 stories from Fruit Logistica 2014

The international marketing magazine for fresh produce buyers in Europe
Mike Knowles

BY MIKE KNOWLES

@mikefruitnet

100 stories from Fruit Logistica 2014

Eurofruit bundled all its journalists into a room and refused to let them leave until they told us everything they saw in Berlin…

100 stories from Fruit Logistica 2014
  1. 1. Dutch firm Cool Fresh invited everyone to make some extra money by going topless – doing away with the crowns on pineapples will apparently save a significant amount in logistics costs.

    2. Summerkiwi's Giampaolo Dal Pane showed off the first European production of Dorì, a new yellow-fleshed kiwifruit.

    3. A television crew from BBC's The One Show, including renowned journalist and food critic Jay Rayner, was spotted rushing from hall to hall in search of new and unusual fruit and vegetables. Keep an eye out for an exclusive interview with Rayner in upcoming issues of Fresh Produce Journal and Eurofruit.

    4. Chiquita presented its new international recipe promotion with Michelin-starred chef Stefan Hartmann on hand to provide live demonstrations of nine recipes incorporating bananas.

    5. Parmesan ice-cream (below) provided a perfect accompaniment to the fresh Abate Fetel pears in Piazza Italia.
  2. 6. A sense of disbelief went around the audience when Swiss company Eisberg's BBQ Grill-Mix scooped the Innovation Award ahead of some of the more fancied nominees.

    7. Palcircless became Fruit Logistica's first-ever exhibitor from the Palestinian Territories and were given a warm welcome by members of the Israeli trade also exhibiting in hall 5.2.

    8. Jan van Nes was confirmed as the new head of Dutch group The Greenery's import division Hagé.

    9. BayWa boss Klaus-Josef Lutz oversaw a special presentation to mark 40 years in the New Zealand apple business for Tony Fisette of Enzafruit NZ Continent.

    10. One of the best examples of eye-catching trade show marketing was the loud red suit worn by Fabio Zanesco (below, er, right), sales manager at Italian apple exporter VI.P Val Venosta on the final day of the show.
  3. Had to share this. Fabio Zanesco of VI.P Val Venosta in the loudest suit at #fruitlogistica by a country mile… http://t.co/xYUr4UCnE1
    Had to share this. Fabio Zanesco of VI.P Val Venosta in the loudest suit at #fruitlogistica by a country mile… pic.twitter.com/xYUr4UCnE1
  4. 11. Tim Priem and Niels Borgers were on the Zeeland Seaports stand in Hall 25 to promote their new banana ripening business United Fresh Services.

    12. Italian company Agricola Gloria Due dedicated a large portion of its stand to a massive, four-lane Scalextric race track. How anyone got any work done, goodness knows.

    13. Industry veteran Steve Sandford, formerly of Total Produce and Frankort & Koning, gave a masterful display of industry networking skills in the main Dutch hall on behalf of a new fresh produce trading business set to be unveiled later in the year.

    14. New Zealand kiwifruit marketer Zespri brought together staff from all over the world, including Betina Károlyi, who's spent the past year establishing a new presence for the group in Brazil.

    15. There was a huge pile of business cards accumulating on the Maersk Line stand from people hoping to win a Lego model of a Triple-E container ship (below).

  5. 16. Representatives from GlobalGAP confirmed they would publish a fifth version of their agricultural standards in 2015, including updates covering microbial risk and environmental sustainability.

    17. South African fruit exporter HL Hall launched a range of ready-to-eat mangoes and avocados under new brand Ripe.

    18. Apple brand Pink Lady's evening reception treated guests to a range of quirky apple dishes, including fish and apple skewers, cheese and apple risotto and whole apples stuffed with paté. The Pink Lady herself was DJ-ing all night long.

    19. Many noted the quality of Sa'gai dates on the Saudi Arabian stand, with one UK-based marketing expert admitting he was inventing excuses to walk past one more time.

    20. The first-ever Future Lab conference saw Gianluca Gondolini (below) of the World Banana Forum state that consumers could be ‘in for a big surprise’ in the future if a commercial alternative to Cavendish is not found, explaining prices could rise if diseases such as Black Sigatoka and TR4 continue to wipe out the variety.

  6. 21. Shipping company Nordfrost delivered a warm reception in hall 5.2 on Wednesday afternoon, with a jazz and soul band entertaining assembled guests – including one particularly inebriated visitor who decided to dance around waving a banana.

    22. Herb company Langmead Farms announced a new business development appointment in the form of ex-VHB boss Paul Cooper and hinted at more new roles to follow.

    23. Packhouse technology specialists Marco came to Fruit Logistica with 75 pre-booked appointments and generated 120 leads by just being there – showing just how essential the event is.

    24. At the Future Lab on day one, Dr Kai Sparke of Geisenheim University urged retailers to make fruit and vegetable departments more like farmers' markets.

    25. Corrugated cardboard specialist Plaform tempted visitors to quite literally go ‘head-to-head’ at Fruit Logistica in order to win an iPad, with people taking photos of themselves as a giant pepper and banana to enter the competition.
  7. 26. Labelling company Sinclair revealed it will begin introducing a new, compostable label - currently on trial in New Zealand - before the end of the year.

    27. Prim'land revealed it is now responsible for 30 per cent of French kiwifruit production, its continued growth assisted by a new partnership with Fruits Union.

    28. Belgium's BelOrta said that its recent merger with Veiling Borgloon made the auction stronger and more flexible, making it possible to offer uniform quality and all types of packaging.

    29. Palestinian herb producer Daraghmeh Company has started up a new USAID-funded operation in the West Bank for washing and sorting other local growers' potatoes and carrots. Tubas Packaging and Marketing Agricultural Product Company is set to open in March.

    30. Tozer Seeds' Flower Sprout (below), a cross between a Brussels sprout and a cabbage, was one of the highlights of the show in terms of product innovation.
  8. Híbrido de Col de Bruselas y Col Rizada. Se come cruda o cocinada. #Almería, ¿tomamos nota? ;-) (Fruit Logistica) http://t.co/wwSWBwCLKg
    Híbrido de Col de Bruselas y Col Rizada. Se come cruda o cocinada. #Almería, ¿tomamos nota? ;-) (Fruit Logistica) pic.twitter.com/wwSWBwCLKg
  9. 31. Wladimir Asarow from the Russian ministry of agriculture revealed that, with demand for apples increasing, his country needed to import more than 1m tonnes of apples a year for the foreseeable future.

    32. Accompanied by its ambassador, the French celebrity chef Jean Imbert, French veg marketer Prince de Bretagne showcased its new modern packaging for tomatoes, which allows the product to be served directly on the table. 

    33. Coleacp highlighted its Sustainable Support Programme for horticultural operators in Africa, the Caribbean and Pacific countries, a project which enables them to create a business model based on the principles of corporate social responsibility.

    34. France's Fruits Union welcomed two new producer groups to its alliance, Vergers de l'Hermitage and Lorifruit, apparently creating a new leader in Rhône valley stonefruit.

    35. The Fruitness campaign brought some eye-catching inflatables (below) to promote Italian fruit outside the south entrance.
  10. 36. The Ghana stand showed off the country's wide assortment of exotics, including papayas, yams, coconuts, pineapples and mangoes.

    37. Following a spate of recent European openings, CH Robinson was keen to emphasise that growth continues to be a top priority for the US logistics group. Gary York, director of sourcing for Europe, said that European openings continued to be evaluated, and noted that the company would invest further in innovative ideas to accelerate their customers’ advantage.

    38. French asparagus growers belonging to the Collective de l'Asperge said they were aiming to sell 4,300 tonnes in 2014 after two disappointing, weather-affected seasons, with plans to extend the season with early varieties and shelf life-extending packaging.

    39. US-based SCS Global Services exhibited at Fruit Logistica for the first time, highlighting its sustainability, food safety and quality certification, as it looks to attract growers in Europe.

    40. German importer Inter Weichert said it was hoping to invoke memories of the Gros Michel variety with its FLIA-nominated Uurú organic banana (pictured). “The Uurú is a Cavendish but has a distinct Gros Michel flavour, and it is ripe while still green – overall it offers a unique taste experience,” said the group’s Ralph Fischer.
  11. 41. IFCO's Caja de Oro banana crates were attracting plenty of interest at the Innovation Award viewing area according to Ferdinand Storek, who pointed to excellent ventilation, sustainability, easy handling and cost efficiency as some of the reasons for its popularity.

    42. Russian importer Globus said it had significantly increased its direct sendings to retailers, which now account for 70 per cent of its volumes compared with just 30 per cent 12 months ago.

    43. Maroc Export said it was confident that the country's Green Morocco Plan, as well as its presence at the Fruit Logistica and BioFach exhibitions, would help in its quest to boost exports of fruit and vegetables to Germany.

    44. Egypt's Pico Modern Agriculture was targeting an increase in exports of fresh herbs to Canada and Europe following positive trials in Germany and Italy.

    45. The Covington-branded sweet potato vodka (below) from North Carolina went down a treat at the USA pavilion: the cold war would surely have ended sooner had they started selling this to the Russians.
  12. 46. Greece's Zeus Kiwi has continued to work with scientists in Italy to explore new kiwifruit varieties, after disappointing production volumes in recent seasons brought about by warm winter temperatures.

    47. Ethiopia-based Jittu Horticulture exhibited for the first time, responding to growing demand for higher-quality vegetables in Africa, the Middle East and Asia.

    48. Belgium's Veiling Hoogstraten revealed it had boosted its production area of Specialty Street-branded vegetables by 60 per cent in the past year, necessitating an increase in exports to Germany, Austria, Switzerland and Scandinavia.

    49. French organics specialist ProNatura said it had started growing organic stonefruit in mid-2013 and is now expanding its production and sales across Europe.

    50. Dutch pink oyster mushrooms (below) confirmed the European market's growing interest in non-traditional varieties.
  13. 51. For BrimaPack, the market reaction to its Fruit Logistica Innovation Award-nominated ‘Extended shelf-life packaging for Broccoli’ was a pleasant surprise, according to sales engineer Zoran Ravnjak.

    52. Scottish firm Angus Soft Fruits revealed it is to trial production of its own blackberry varieties before the end of this year, the aim being to eventually offer a sweet-eating rival to Karaka Black.

    53. Belgian producers unveiled a new logo and slogan, Small Country - Big Taste.

    54. Club apple brand Modì signed its first licensing deal outside Europe with California-based Farmington Fresh, which said the apple was well-suited to growing conditions in the state's Central Valley.

    55. Spanish company Hispalco (pictured) unveiled a new organic produce range called HispalcoBio.
  14. 56. Brazilian company Itaueira was targeting European buyers with its fresh-cut melon offer, having recently gained entry to the US convenience market.

    57. Libya was represented for the first time ever, by potato supplier NedaLibya, which produces around 60 per cent of the country's approximately 12,000-tonne crop.

    58. Arguably the heaviest item of fresh produce on display was the soursop, or guanabana, seen on the Colombian national stand and weighing in at an impressive 7kg.

    59. Mirjam Hendricks of the Dutch Produce Association argued that not enough was being done to emphasise the taste credentials of different tomato varieties at retail.

    60. The hardest-working member of the Dutch produce trade at Fruit Logistica 2014 was almost certainly the guy in the potato outfit (below) promoting Schaap Holland's PolderGoud brand.
  15. Ontmoeting met Mr. Potato Head op de FruitLogistica. Een innige samenwerking met PolderGoud lijkt zeker mogelijk. http://t.co/8Z8SnChVXO
    Ontmoeting met Mr. Potato Head op de FruitLogistica. Een innige samenwerking met PolderGoud lijkt zeker mogelijk. pic.twitter.com/8Z8SnChVXO
  16. 61. SanLucar revealed it had invested more than €2.8m in corporate responsibility initiatives this year, as well as a slightly smaller amount to hire flamenco dancers for its annual Berlin bash.

    62. For the first time, Costa Rican companies were exhibiting under their new country brand Essential Costa Rica, developed to promote exports and tourism and attract foreign investment into the Central American country.

    63. Israeli exporter Agrexco, which has gone from representing around two-thirds of the country's fruit and vegetable exports to less than 5 per cent, returned to Fruit Logistica under a new management team led by new owner Gideon Bickel.

    64. Peruvian exporter Camposol unveiled expansion plans for the year ahead. President José Antonio Gómez said he hoped to build the company into a vertically integrated, multinational corporation with interests spanning the globe. 

    65. Italian group CSO presented a new interactive website and mobile/tablet app (see picture) designed to deliver information about fresh produce to young consumers.
  17. 66. Californian company Ruby Fresh promoted its premium pomegranate line and revealed it was looking for retail customers in northern Europe for its whole fruit, arils and value-added range.

    67. Mercabarna joined forces with the Port of Barcelona and Grimaldi Lines to promote the Spanish wholesale market’s growing role as a major distribution platform for fresh food from southern Europe.

    68. Buyers were introduced to Thai coconuts with a special pull-tab opening – an innovative convenience product with an exotic flavour.

    69. Spanish firm G's Group revealed it had established its first production division in Poland – to be known as G’s Poland - with a view to expanding in eastern Europe.

    70. Banana sushi, banana USB sticks and banana chunks dunked in a chocolate fountain (below): debut exhibitor BanaBay made its presence felt with a barrage of banana-related treats. "Dole and Chiquita have got nothing on this," said Tom Burke, president of North American operations.
  18. 71. English Apples & Pears chief executive Adrian Barlow said he had received a "helpful and conciliatory" response from the EC following his campaign to relax health claim regulations.

    72. Albert Bartlett was back at Fruit Logistica after a two-year absence with a clean, bright new stand promoting the potato marketer's brands and products. It also revealed it had launched a joint venture in Abu Dhabi to supply the Middle East market.

    73. Florette said its UK marketing campaign would feature a continuation of its One Minute Wonder campaign, with a focus beyond just television.

    74. Freshfel's Raquel Izquierdo de Santiago pointed out that per-capita tomato consumption of 14.3kg in the EU represented a decline of 8 per cent over the past decade.

    75. Quite how it ended up in Berlin via Belgium, we're not sure, but the tuk-tuk on Starfruit Company's stand did a great job of promoting the group's Cibel brand.
  19. 76. The United Fresh Produce Association was already celebrating before Fruit Logistica kicked off, following the news that the proposed Farm Bill back in the US had been approved by the Senate. “We’re very pleased with the result and it’s a big boost for the US fresh produce industry – it should get the President’s approval in the next few days,” said United’s Miriam Wolk.

    77. Israel Ben-Tzur revealed that Israeli supply chain solution leader BT9 had just signed a major deal in the Russian market, and confirmed it would be rolling out an exciting new innovation in the second half of the year.

    78. Kiwifruit producers from Chile and Italy signed an agreement to work more closely on raising standards and potentially promoting their fruit together in future.

    79. UK Trade & Industry's Daniel Rutstein called on British companies to consider the export market to help the country's economic recovery.

    80. SAT Royal showcased its range of pluot varieties, including the Brontosaurus Egg (below); designed to appeal to children due to its sweetness (21° Brix compared with 12° Brix for other varieties), the variety has purple skin with yellow and green spots.
  20. 81. Dutoit Agri in South Africa became the latest Southern Hemisphere group to sign a licensing deal to grow Opal apples, joining Mr Apple in New Zealand and Polar Fruit in Chile.

    82. Finnish company Plastiroll came to Berlin for the first time, showing off a range of biodegradable packaging recently introduced by Finland's second-largest retailer Kesko.

    83. Representatives from NZ science company Plant & Food Research played a key role in Fruit Logistica's new ideas forum Future Lab, previewing a new range of hybrid pears called Piqa.

    84. Danish firm Northern Greens unveiled a new range of herbs to be marketed primarily in Nordic countries.

    85.
    Peruvian companies (below) reportedly signed commercial agreements worth a combined total of US$90m at Fruit Logistica, presumably spending a small percentage of that sum on piscos to celebrate.
  21. Empresarios peruanos logran negocios cerca a los US$ 90 millones durante feria Fruit Logistica en Alemania
    Empresarios peruanos logran negocios cerca a los US$ 90 millones durante feria Fruit Logistica en Alemania
  22. 86. Univeg chief executive Francis Kint said he was looking forward to making further progress in developing production in Suriname following the recent acquisition of a 90 per cent share in the country's banana export industry.

    87. British research group Mylnefield Research unveiled a new brand 'Great British Bred' for the country's seed potato breeders.

    88. Scooter-man! Who on earth was that old guy whizzing around on a scooter, mainly in the lower-level halls? What was he buying? Or selling?

    89. UK-based storage specialist ICA was buoyant after enjoying its best-ever year in 2013, telling us to "watch this space" for new innovations over the next 18 months.

    90.
    Edeka reaffirmed its position as one of Europe's most committed supporters of the European fresh produce business by holding several meetings with key suppliers on the show floor. Below, the company's Francisco Contreras (third from left) meets with members of the export trade in Almería, Spain.
  23. Fruit Logistica Edeka
    Fruit Logistica Edeka
  24. 91. More than 40 members of apple marketing club Kiku were present at what was the company's largest Fruit Logistica stand to date.

    92. Lebanon's Maalouf Delifruits reported that demands for its services had increased due to the crisis in Syria, with overseas exporters increasingly calling on the company to re-export fresh produce to the war-torn country.

    93. Fruit Care Services, a South African division of Dole Europe, confirmed its plan to buy back a 600ha table grape farm in Rekopane, in the country's Northern Cape region.

    94. Eurofruit and Fresh Produce Journal distributed thousands of copies of their magazines to passing members of the trade.

    95. Dutch company Eosta continued to push the need for sustainable sourcing to the fore with its Nature & More campaign (below).
  25. Another day at Fruit Logistica, Berlin. Let's remember where those 25 halls of fruit & veggies came from! http://t.co/m0MlMk9t5O
    Another day at Fruit Logistica, Berlin. Let's remember where those 25 halls of fruit & veggies came from! pic.twitter.com/m0MlMk9t5O
  26. 96. Celebrating 20 years in the business, Turkish company Eren Tarim unveiled a new marketing campaign called 'Will To Live: Fresh Hunt' centred around the idea that consumer demand for fresh produce is driven ultimately by hunger and the need to survive.

    97. There were quite a few ex-Greenery/Hagé employees in Berlin following the company's restructuring in December, most notably Matthijs Nijhoff and Jacco van Paasschen, who were busy forging links for their new company, Fruit Conneqt, based in De Lier.

    98. Interfel's stand was the focal point for celebrations to mark ten years of France exhibiting at Fruit Logistica.

    99. By general consensus, Friday was arguably one of the quietest Fruit Logistica Fridays ever, but most went away feeling the intensity of the previous two days had more than made up for it. The official numbers were more than 60,000 trade visitors from 140 countries, and given the amount of business being done on Wednesday and Thursday, it was hard to dispute the event's continued popularity.

    100. Caricaturist Rembrandt van Gein made a good impression on visitors to Dutch importer Roveg's stand (below).
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