A former member of Lidl’s senior management team has been named as the new chief executive of Tropical Fruit Company (TFC) Holland, a subsidiary of German conglomerate BayWa.
Falk Schlusnus, who joined TFC in 2019, takes over from co-founder Peter Kooi, who led the company for almost 30 years.
In his new role, he will focus on expanding business relationships, implementing new, innovative techniques, and continuing a process of vertical integration along the value chain, the company said in a statement.
“Bringing Falk Schlusnus on board means being able to acquire a food specialist with experience in the trade who will further develop our company, already established throughout Europe, through a demand for increased product quality and customer orientation in a future-oriented manner,” said Kooi, who will continue to support the company in an advisory capacity.
Schlusnus joined Lidl in 2008 as a buyer, and went on to lead the German discounter’s international sourcing operation for four years before spending a couple of years on the company’s senior management board.
Based in Maasdijk, in the Netherlands, TFC is a key supplier of tropical fruit and vegetables to the German food retail industry.
Sourcing more than 200 different types of fruit and vegetable from over 50 countries, it is also directly involved in the production of mangoes, avocados, sweet potatoes and grapes.
According to Benedikt Mangold, BayWa’s head of global produce, demand for tropical fruits continues to rise.
“The European market for exotic products is expanding significantly,” he commented. “Which is why I’m all the more pleased to be working with Falk Schlusnus as CEO to further develop the strategic direction of TFC, to ensure that we can continue the company’s impressive success story.”
For Schlusnus, working closely with partners and investing in new technology will form the basis of the company’s strategy under his leadership.
“We attach great importance to being able to directly offer our customers our fruits, which is why we don’t just invest in our own production facilities, but also in joint venture partnerships in South and Central America as well as Africa,” he explained.
“At our Maasdijk site, we refine our diverse product assortment and use state-of-the-art Softripe technology to ripen the fruits into ready-to-eat specialities according to the customer’s requirements.”
In its statement, TFC said it assumed responsibility for both society and the environment through ethically and socially sound production conditions in its countries of origin.
The company not only relies on short procurement channels, but also on long-term supplier relationships with sustainable processes from point of origin to point of sale, it noted.
It also underlined its dedication to the responsible use of resources, with the notable conversion of its Maasdijk site into a climate-neutral facility and the expansion of its sustainability strategy.