"We involve growers and retailers from harvest to shelf"
25 March 2015
Direct Fruit Services was founded in August 2012 and is specialised in marketing apples and pears. "In our starting phase we were very orientated towards growers in the UK and Scandinavian markets. We still serve these markets nowadays and we extend our sales area more every day. We can now also be found in China, Central Europe (Hungary, the Czech Republic, Poland etc) Spain and France. Our speciality is simply doing what we're good at: supplying the right quality of fruit in the desired packaging for our customers," says Alex van Ieperen.
"The European apple market is going through difficult times. The demand and the supply have been out of balance since the start of the season. Due to the very low prices there are far too little apples put away for storage in proportion to quality. This will not benefit a better price formation. As of a few weeks ago, however, there has been a reasonable base made for the industry and peeling market. However, the normal consumption market remains far behind in being able to pay the grower a fair price. It is likely that there will be less apples coming to Europe from the southern hemisphere, which might give the European product some more space later on," expects Alex. "All in all, we foresee difficult times for the Dutch apple cultivation. We're certainly not the cheapest producing country in Europe. Club varieties and export outside of Europe is the key for growers in our minds."
"The pear market has had a very difficult start. Prices far below the production costs were the norm for the first six months and the boy cott by Russia means we were able to reach markets with the pears that we don't normally supply. Due to the quality of the Dutch and Belgian pears there have been repeat purchases by these new markets, which we view as very positive for the future. The entry to the Chinese market is also a good development. We, as direct Fruit Services, partially participated in the export to this market. The pears were received positively, but it remains hard work to make the Dutch Conference pear succeed there. There are very positive responses to the flavour. Due to the peel and the typical bronze colour, on first glance the Conference pear isn't a pear the Chinese want to bite into. By having a lot of tastings of the Conference pear there, we can conquer this market. If we continue to sent top quality Conference pears to this market, there is a huge potential here for our pears," continues Alex.
Direct Fruit Services foresees a healthy future for the Conference pear. "If the Netherlands and Belgium continue to grow and market top products we will be able to make a lot of consumers both inside and outside of Europe very happy. It's a fact that the Conference pear is best grown in the Netherlands and Belgium, which gives us a head start on other pears in European shops. Due to the new crops in recent years we will also have to continue to find or create more sales outside of Europe. The opening of export to Brazil is a very welcome addition to the sales of the Conference pears."
Direct Fruit Services profiles itself as the link between grower and retailers. "We translate the desires of the retailers to the grower, think quality, packaging, repackaging, sizes, promotion, etc. We also do the opposite by translating problems from the grower to the retailers. Think growth developments, peel quality and size formation. Problems that can be prevented during cultivation. We try to create understanding among our retailers and find solutions together. This can lead to new packaging, supplying different sizes of fruit and totally new lines, which adds value for both the grower and the retailers. We maintain a short as possible distance between all parties and involve the growers and retailers in the process from harvest to shelf. Our vision in this, to share knowledge, concerning all parties," concludes Alex. "Due to the changing market in top fruit there are a lot of opportunities for Direct Fruit services. And we're going through a healthy growth!"