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“Despite growth of their own production, the UK will keep importing peppers for a while”

Njoy has been Diosa Fruit’s own brand since 2013. After years of using the trusted black box, it was time for a new look.

These days trading company Diosa Fruit is responsible for the sale of, among other things, peppers under its own brand. As of last week in two new boxes. Director Teun Hendriks talks about the how and why of this step.

“I visited the United Kingdom two years ago. I noticed how well known our brand already was there. I was pleasantly surprised by it. It shows that people value the reliability and quality experience that we want to impart with our own brand.”

Sellers Nick and Art in the packing hall of Oostland Company

Recognisability
The visit confirmed for Teun that a good foundation has now been laid with his own brand. “By supplying under our own brand, our product is easily recognisable. You notice that wholesalers and market traders in particular attach increasing importance to this.”

Initially, the brand was built up with peppers from own grower Oostland Company. Nowadays, the trading company supplies a growing range of vegetables, also no longer exclusively from the greenhouse. A good reason to renew the brand as well, the most visible part of the new cardboard boxes. Diosa Fruit uses two: one measuring 30×40 centimeters, good for 5 kilos and one of 60×40 centimeters, good for 10 kilos.

The renewed boxes can be used universally. “In recent years we have started offering more and more products. More and more growers are supplying us. At the same time, we notice that the number of customers is also growing. They are increasingly asking for our own brand Njoy, because it means they can count on quality and a stable, good product that is also recognisable. ”

Good view of availability
The main sales markets for Diosa Fruit are the United Kingdom and Ireland. “Although the own cultivation of peppers there has been growing slightly recently, they still import a lot. It will stay that way for a while. ”

Diosa Fruit also exports to other countries. Weather conditions in Europe and beyond have a significant effect on where demand comes from. “Whether it is a wet, cool summer or a hot, dry summer, certainly makes a big difference in paprika. We have seen that in recent years.”

This year the Dutch season started for Diosa Fruit in week 10/11. “There was a lot of demand right away. Spain finished earlier than usual and also had quality issues. It meant that we were able to meet the demand well this year with Dutch product.”

Volumes have recently been high and increased significantly, although that changed in week 15. “The volumes from the greenhouse are currently temporarily declining rapidly, as we see with our growers. Thanks to our cultivation experience and close cooperation with them, we always have a good idea of what, how much and when we have product. For the next few weeks there will temporarily be less volumes on the market. ”

Leeks from our own grower

Distinguishing
But as already indicated, Njoy is no longer just about peppers. The complete range can be seen on the renewed website of Diosa Fruit, although the trick is ultimately to meet customer demand. “We want to supply what they ask for. That can also include a pallet of oranges or courgettes, for example. It is up to us to find the right growers for customer demand. And to continue to distinguish ourselves with our own brand. Including with the right packaging. Sometimes in our boxes, but we can also provide small packaging or delivery in crates.”

For more information:
Diosa Fruit
Hendrik Driessenweg 6
2651 NW Berkel en Rodenrijs
+31 (0)10 530 01 16
sales@diosafruit.com
www.diosafruit.com

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Equipment

Japanese tomato harvest robot in action in Tomatoworld

https://en.inaho.co/

A new tomato harvesting robot has recently been driving through the paths of Tomatoworld. It is the latest product of inaho Europe, a subsidiary of the Japanese company inaho.  “The purpose of launching the demonstration at Tomatoworld is to allow more interested people to see the robot in operation,” says Takahito Shimizo, managing director of inaho Europe. “We want to demonstrate the robot and receive more feedback from growers, in order to develop and increase the value of the robot.”

Snack tomato robot
Tomatoworld is a horticultural information and education center in Westland, Netherlands. In the greenhouse, snack tomatoes are grown.

Takahito Shimizo shows how the robot is a fully automatic harvesting device for snack tomatoes. “The AI algorithm identifies the ripe fruits by color and size and then harvests the ripe snack tomatoes.”

inaho has already conducted field trials with growers in Japan and demonstrated a reduction in human working hours of around 16% by setting up a workflow in which robots harvest during the nighttime before humans do.

Meanwhile, inaho also found that there are differences between Japanese and Dutch growers in terms of harvest and post-harvest operations. “For example, the standards for the picking appropriate color of the fruits and the frequency of harvesting are different,” says Takahito.

In order to develop a solution that is more suitable for Dutch growers, inaho is keen to get a better understanding of the Dutch growers’ practices and receive more operational feedback from them. In this context, inaho is also actively seeking a grower partner who would be able to carry out a field trial of the harvesting robot.

Growers welcome
The demonstration in Tomatoworld also contributes to this: growers are invited to come and see and assess the robot. “We are happy to discuss details about the robot, such as its functions and expected future updates. We can also provide simulations to calculate the labor and cost savings, based on the results of the trials in Japan,” Takahito says.

It is not the Japanese company’s first robot. inaho already launched an AI-equipped asparagus harvesting robot (video) in 2019. They are also working on a robot that can phenotype plants. inaho operates according to the Robot-as-a-Service (RaaS) business model – paying per harvested product.

Video

 

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Company

BelOrta launches 100% recycled & recyclable strawberry punnet

Starting this week, the first Belgian strawberries from BelOrta will be packed in new packaging. These are Tray2Tray punnets made from recycled raw materials that are still 100% recyclable. Consumers can recognize these punnets by a special logo.

Starting this week, the first Belgian strawberries from BelOrta will be packed in new packaging. These are Tray2Tray punnets made from recycled raw materials that are still 100% recyclable. Consumers can recognize these punnets by a special logo.
punnet
BelOrta launches 100% recycled & recyclable strawberry punnet 89

Together with Fost Plus and Infia, BelOrta says it is taking ‘the next step in increasingly sustainable production and distribution’. “This step contributes to a circular economy. Not unimportant, because recent figures show that we are eating more and more home-grown strawberries,” according to the cooperative. 

Closed cycle

With the strawberry punnets, no empty strawberry tray has to end up on the waste mountain from now on, because every packaging can be processed and reused as raw material for new packaging.

Jo Lambrecht, Sales & Marketing Manager at BelOrta: “With this Tray2Tray concept, in which new punnets are made from used packaging, we contribute to a circular economy. We have been working with so-called ‘r-PET’ as a raw material for 4 years, recycled from water and soft drinks bottles and other PET packaging that consumers collect. The New Blue Bag has recently been introduced to us for the collection of all plastic packaging waste. 

By the way, Belgians are champions in sorting and collecting waste, which makes a difference to a healthier and more pleasant living environment. Thanks to new techniques, developed under the impulse of Fost Plus, we can now also sort these r-PET punnets (cf. the new blue bag) and recycle them into flakes, after which they are used again as raw material for the production of new packaging, such as for our strawberries and berries. This completes the cycle.”

450 tons less CO2 emissions per year

But what about ‘the most sustainable packaging is no packaging’? Lambrecht: “That is indeed true for many products, often including food. We try to avoid or reduce the use of packaging wherever possible. But for sensitive and perishable products, well-chosen packaging is crucial in the fight against food waste. Various tests, including with strawberries and berries, have taught us that well thought-out packaging makes all the difference. Wasting less food reduces our ecological footprint. Moreover, r-PET as a raw material has a low ecological footprint compared to many other materials.”

For BelOrta, the replacement of PET by r-PET means a reduction of 450 tons of CO2 emissions per year. 

Belgians eat an average of 1.94 kg of strawberries per year

More than 9,000 tons of strawberries were sold in 2020 via BelOrta. With over 100 different growers, the acreage of strawberries at BelOrta is about 300 hectares, an increase of 4% compared to the previous year.

Recent figures from market research agency GfK also show that the average Belgian ate 1.94 kg of strawberries in 2020. That is a growth of more than 12% compared to the previous year. Elsanta, Portola, Elegance, Malling Centenary, Sonata and Sonsation are the main varieties at BelOrta.

For more information:
BelOrta
www.belorta.be

/packaging-system/

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Packaging system

Sustainable packaging company adds cardboard tray to its portfolio

Cascades, a North America and European based packaging company, is launching the first thermoformed cardboard tray. The product is made from 100 percent recycled and recyclable cardboard and has a recyclable water-based barrier coating which prevents moisture. “The cardboard tray makes a true alternative to plastic and foam trays,” says Jacques Bissonnette with Cascades’ Canada office. “Sustainable packaging is getting more important, enforced by retail regulations as well as consumer demand,” he added.

“In November of last year, we did a successful soft launch in Canada with the cardboard tray for mini cucumber. Just this month, a US customer started using the trays for sweet corn.” The product is available in a range of different sizes from 8 2/16 inches length, 8 11/16 inches wide to 1 11/16 inches height. However, Cascades also offers tailormade solutions. The tray is suitable for a wide range of fruits and vegetables, from Brussels sprouts to bell peppers, green beans, and much more. “The package will stand out even more if it is combined with a compostable top seal film, making it a fully sustainable solution,” Bissonnette added.

Telling the story
“We think it’s really important to tell the story how sustainable packaging can help to reduce the environmental footprint and achieve the retailer’s sustainability goals.” To support the story, Cascades has developed an LCA (Life Cycle Assessment) for all its product lines.

“This means we can tell the client exactly the amount of environmental footprint reduction they will be able to achieve with one of our sustainable solutions compared to the material they are using currently.” A lot of the current plastic packaging as well as foam packaging can be replaced by this cardboard solution and has proven to offer equivalent shelf life to plastic”. The new cardboard tray works with existing machinery and tooling for plastic trays, meaning that no extra investment is required for producers or packers looking to make the switch to cardboard.”

Cascades also invested in research on the consumer side. “It’s not only the demand for sustainability that has grown but also the willingness among consumers to put their money where their mouth is,” said Bissonnette. Most consumers are willing to pay a bit more for produce that is sustainably packaged. Also, better labeling on the packaging would encourage consumers to buy more green, sustainable packaging. “It is still a bit more expensive but both producers and retailers should not be afraid to raise their prices a bit. We are not talking about full dollars but just a few cents, ” Bissonnette noted.

For more information:
Jacques Bissonnette
Cascades Specialty Products Group
Tel:+ 1 514-378-0332
jacques_bissonnette@cascades.com
https://www.cascades.com

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