Food tech company expands further into South Africa with purchase of Cape Town-based global fresh produce supplier

Global Produce works directly with farmers to pack fruit under the Geo brand

Global Produce works directly with farmers to pack fruit under the Geo brand

GrubMarket has announced the acquisition of South Africa-based global fresh produce supplier, Global Produce.

In a media release, the California-headquartered food tech company said the addition of Global Produce would scale up its fresh produce operations in South Africa and expand its physical presence internationally.

Founded in 2013 by Rutger van Wulfen, Global Produce supplies a wide range of fresh produce from South Africa and other global supply origins to some 44 countries worldwide.

While the company focuses primarily on year-round supply of grapes and citrus, it markets a diverse spread of products, including apples, pears, berries, cherries, plums, butternut squash, mangoes and bananas. Global Produce also handles exotic fruits such as Malaysian dragon fruit and Namibian Barhi dates.

The company has offices in Cape Town, Jakarta, Hong Kong and Ho Chi Minh City, and its supply base spans South Africa, Namibia, Morocco, Egypt, New Zealand, Australia and other supplying countries.

Through its “vertical integration initiative”, Global Produce supports farmers in Africa by connecting them directly to international markets, packing fruit under its Geo brand, according to the media release. The model is designed to reduce the number of intermediaries in the supply chain and ease growing pressures farmers face with rising input and distribution costs.

Global Produce owner van Wulfen will continue to manage the business following the acquisition together with the company’s leadership team based in key global locations.

“Food is a relationship business - our foundation is built on trust, loyalty, and service. We truly pride ourselves on providing the highest quality South African fruits to our valued customers all over the world,” said van Wulfen. “Our vertically integrated approach to food distribution, which includes putting boots on the ground in key local markets as well as staying in close proximity to the origins of our supply, allows us to maximise profits for our farmers while delivering lower prices and higher volumes of fresh fruit to our end customers.

“I’ve been following GrubMarket’s story for many years and am incredibly excited to join this successful, globally oriented company that approaches the food supply chain with a similar philosophy and work ethic,” he continued.

“We are proud to represent GrubMarket in South Africa, and we look forward to expanding GrubMarket’s global reach and bringing more South African fruits to GrubMarket’s end customers.”

Global Produce owner Rutger van Wulfen (centre) with customers in Zhengzhou, China

Global Produce owner Rutger van Wulfen (centre) with customers in Zhengzhou, China

Mike Xu, CEO of GrubMarket, said the acquisition of Global Produce marked “a pivotal moment” in the group’s journey.

“I have been impressed with Rutgers’s wealth of international experience having lived in Holland, Cape Town, Rotterdam, Jakarta, and even Hong Kong; his multicultural background has no doubt played a central role in Global Produce’s ability to reach customers in over 40 countries, including those in Africa, South-East Asia, and the Middle East.”

“We are looking forward to working with the Global Produce team to strengthen our global position in the food supply chain and work more closely with farmers and growers throughout South Africa. We are thrilled to welcome the Global Produce team to the GrubMarket family.”

GrubMarket said it planned to integrate Global Produce with its advanced technology platforms. These include the AI-powered WholesaleWare software suite, the company’s software-as-service platform that provides food wholesalers and distributors with leading-edge financial management, sales support, online ordering, inventory management, lot-level traceability, grower accounting and automated shipping and logistics. They also include GrubAssist, GrubMarket’s enterprise AI assistant that provides food supply chain businesses with insights and intelligent analysis; and Orders IO, its custom-branded mobile e-commerce solution.