U.S.: Exp Group to triple ripening capacity next year

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U.S.: Exp Group to triple ripening capacity next year

New Jersey-based tropical fruit company Exp Group is investing heavily in its ripening facilities and expects to triple capacity next year.

Exp Group is a multinational organization formed by several companies that have operations in fruit production, exportation and distribution, as well as logistics and real estate.

Speaking to www.freshfruitportal.com at last week's New York Produce Show and Conference, vice president of public relations Anthony Serafino said the company was gearing up for a significant expansion. 

Exp Group vice president of public relations Anthony Serafino

Exp Group vice president of public relations Anthony Serafino

"The new development that we have coming up is that right now we have 21 ripening rooms on site at our facility in North Bergen, New Jersey, we’re going to build 16 more in 2017," he said.

"Right now we’re doing about 20,000, but with the new technology we’re ivesting into our facility we should be at 60,000.

"We’re hoping to pick up some new business, but with ripening rooms it’s kind of like Las Vegas – you build it and the business comes."

The company handles product from various Latin American countries, and uses the Selvatica brand is used on bananas and plantains from Ecuador. Other products include avocados, yuca, mangoes and ginger.

Serafino said the company's banana and plantain category had grown significantly in recent years and now represents around 60% of the total business. He added the company was increasing its volumes of organic bananas.

The number of ripening rooms has increased swiftly in recent years, from just six in 2013.

In July this year it purchased the building that houses its offices and cold storage facilities, which Serafino said would play a part in its 'future vision'.

"We occupy 53,000 square feet of 293,000, and so we have 30 other tenants who are not necessarily produce-related. So essentially instead of paying rent to landlord, we pay mortgages." 

"When you invest millions of dollars in these ripening rooms, it costs as much to build them as it does to move them, so we really wanted to secure our investment in our ripening rooms."


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