Dole, the world’s largest fresh produce company, has targeted new sales growth in avocados, mangoes, and other exotic produce with the creation of a new division called Dole Exotics, as well as a new consumer brand called BE Exotic.
Both are set to be unveiled officially at Fruit Logistica, the fruit and vegetable trade exhibition which takes place in Berlin on 5-7 April 2022.
While Dole brand is no stranger to exotic fresh produce – it already sources and sells a broad range of items in that category – its decision to set up a separate business unit reflects a desire to repeat the success seen with Dole’s more traditional, tropical products.
It also mirrors the organisational approach taken by the exotics division of Irish multinational Total Produce, which last year merged with Dole.
“Our ambition is nothing less than to raise the bar in the exotics category,” commented Tobias Deil, Dole EMEA’s category director for avocados and mangoes.
“We believe we are uniquely positioned to do so given the quality of our existing production and our commitment to invest in more, the experience of our global specialists in exotic fruits, the technical expertise they bring and our infrastructure – across the most fertile global growing regions but also on the ground in key markets.”
Exotic fruit and veg are already a significant part of Dole’s business in Europe, Deil observed.
“Our operations, centred around our state-of-the-art ripening and sorting hub in the Netherlands, but extending right across Europe, differentiates not only our exotics range but the bespoke services we can offer,” he said.
“Bringing together our group resources will enable us to consistently deliver exceptional produce, ripened to perfection, presented in best-in class packaging and creatively promoted to engage, empower and inspire consumers.”
To that end, Dole Exotics will also introduce its new avocado and mango concept BE Exotic in Berlin.
“Our BE Exotic range will speak to the consumer in a contemporary, innovative way,” Deil explained. “Our packaging will deliver striking on-shelf impact while, in promoting the brand, we will be encouraging consumers to embrace their inner adventurous selves by trying something new.”
He added: “BE Exotic is a brand very much of its time-one inextricably linked to identity, but one also endorsed by Dole, a trusted and recognised name. It is a compelling combination which we believe, will resonate with consumers in markets right across Europe.”
Already an established leader with an extensive global operation dedicated to exotic produce, Dole said it had long recognised the “unfulfilled potential” of the category and most specifically that of avocados and mangoes.
“By creating a bespoke unit dedicated to the growing, procurement, ripening and marketing of exotics, our clear intent is to bring to bear the collective reach, resources and expertise typically associated with Dole bananas and pineapples to deliver a real point of difference to exotic fruits on the retail shelves of Europe and beyond,” it said in a statement.
Complementing group production with third-party sourcing, Dole said its new exotics branch would offer “the security associated with its vertically integrated supply chain, a streamlined route to market, and the in-house capacity to assure best agronomic and sustainable practices from farm to fork.”
Its existing business Total Exotics and its wider European exotics infrastructure will be integrated into the new division.
“Local experts [will leverage] existing key retail relationships, providing customised value-add and category management services alongside innovative branding, packaging and promotional solutions to drive the category forward,” it added.