Eric Truffino, a pivotal player in the Dutch fresh produce trade, has died at the age of 81 after a long illness. He headed up the marketing department of the powerful Central Bureau of Dutch Auctions (CBT) in its golden years in the 1980s and became the go-to man for contacts across the globe.
Founded in 1974, the Dutch Golden Tomato Club was Truffino’s masterpiece, where he brought together the largest European importers and buyers under one roof to discuss big business issues. Truffino used the relaxed atmosphere at the club’s gatherings to give buyers information about Dutch produce, their prices and the latest developments in the industry. The business discussions provided the heavyweights of the European produce trade with valuable insight, helping them dodge potential pitfalls and succeed in their respective markets. The Dutchman’s easy charm, along with his in-depth knowledge of production in the Netherlands, was the glue that held the Tomato Club together.
The CBT, which celebrated its centenary in 1987, made huge efforts to modernise and adapt to market changes. But less than a decade later it was dismantled, and Truffino did not find his place in the new format. The Dutch Golden Tomato Club was wound up and, while it marked a major turning point in his life, Truffino’s personal friendships in the European fruit trade endured as he was the one who brought people together.
Truffino was always a helpful partner and source of contacts for the editors of Fruitnet’s magazines, and he was always very keen to represent Dutch horticulture at our events, such as Fruchthandel’s Freshness Forum, the Eurofruit Congress and Fruit Logistica. He made his job look effortless, but there was a huge amount of hard work that went on behind the scenes. Eric Truffino was a friendly, decent, helpful man who always acted on behalf of Dutch producers – that's how we saw him, and everyone who knew him in the industry will remember him with great fondness.
Obituary written by Market Intelligence co-founder Günter Schweinsberg and translated by Fred Searle