p124 main pic PE Beta grapes

Peruvian exporter Complejo Agroindustrial Beta plans to open a new subsidiary in Europe to consolidate and expand its business in the region Led by Mike Soulsby, former Peru country manager at T&G Global, and industry specialist Soren Nicolajsen, Beta Best Produce will offer retail customers a range of products from a single source.

This year, Beta is set to produce 15m kilos of blueberries, 3.5m boxes of grapes, 2.5m boxes of avocado, and 2m boxes of asparagus, as well as citrus and pomegranates.

The company, which has grown and exported fruit and vegetables to international markets for almost three decades, now farms over 5,500ha, making it one of the largest fresh produce growerexporters in South America.

“Blueberries, grapes and avocados represent particular opportunities given Beta’s production growth in recent years and the corresponding strength of demand across Europe,” Soulsby explains.

The new office will represent Beta in all countries of Europe except Spain, where it is already present through a JV called Gimenez & Beta. Existing programmes will continue to be managed from Peru.

With a team spread across the region, the company plans to operate hubs in the Netherlands and the UK. It will maintain a “light and flexible” structure by leasing facilities and using third-party service providers to accelerate the business as quickly as possible.

“Our objective at Beta Best will be to develop new sales channels across the region that add value to the group and reduce reliance on the spot market. We also want to explore opportunities in specific regions such as Scandinavia, eastern Europe and Russia.”

Over the coming months and years, there will be plenty of opportunity to secure new business, Soulsby suggests. “With the sharp increase in production in recent years from Peru on lines like blueberries, the challenge is to develop reliable sales programmes that can keep pace with supply,” he tells Eurofruit.

“As with any perishable product, there is a certain volume each season that must be sold in the moment. But as the grower, with the myriad of fixed and variable production costs to manage, the more product we can channel into programmes pre-departure, the more stability it gives the business.

'We also want to get a better feel as to where our product ends up and to avoid it being sold through competing channels, which is ultimately self-defeating. There’s a lot to do, but we are really excited to be launching this new sales arm for Beta.”