Fresh produce drives Greenyard growth

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Fresh produce drives Greenyard growth

The Belgian fresh, prepared and frozen supplier says strong fruit and vegetable sales were a “major driver” of the Group’s growth for the third quarter, while a heavy uptake of its fruit ripening facilities is also boosting revenue.

Sales of fresh produce backed up by the increasing demand for the experienced ripening facilities of Greenyard, are pushing up turnover and significantly contributed to strong financial results.

Speaking with Fresh Fruit Portal, Greenyard’s investor relations manager Kris Kippers explains how the strong recorded performance for the third quarter is largely to do with robust sales of fresh produce which is, in turn, driving growth at the Belgian fresh, prepared and frozen supplier.

Turnover for Greenyard, which includes the entity formerly known as Univeg, amounted to €996.9 million, as reported last week. The group’s fresh segment had a 4.7% rise in sales, while total year-to-date sales reached €3.143 billion, representing an increase of almost 8%.

“If you look at the last two years, growth was majorly driven by our fresh department,” Kippers said.

"Secondly, we have ongoing volume growth with existing clients and new clients, and thirdly there is also the trend for us of improving the price mix due to the fact of convenience, which also implies ready to eat, pre-cut salads, ripening and everything else associated with this, that is indeed growing. 

"The mix of these things makes the fresh department grow faster than the other segments;  “long fresh” which is our prepared and frozen division, and horticultural which is a smaller division - but this is also growing quite rapidly."

In June 2015, Greenyard combined its four constituent companies – Univeg, Pinguin, Noliko and Peltracom – under one unified banner to become a global market leader in fresh and prepared fruits and vegetables and growing media.

Its fresh segment is the largest of the three, continues Kippers.

“The two other segments on the top line are also much smaller compared to fresh, so if the biggest part of the tree is growing more rapidly of course it steers the whole Group.

“If you look at our Group we have about €4 billion sales per annum and about €3.2 or €3.3. billion is fresh, meaning if fresh grows of course the Group grows.”

Experienced in ripening 

Greenyard also claims to be the largest ripener in Europe with in excess of 500 ripening rooms and 200 packing lines. Kippers explains how Greenyard, as a ripening specialist, is seeing a greater uptake across a variety of fruit; not just bananas.

“If you look at our Group we are the largest banana ripener in Europe and combined with that we have good knowledge in ripening, not only for bananas, but also increasingly for other kinds of fruit like mango and avocado,” he says.

“Now we are also testing stonefruit so indeed that means the consumer is increasingly desiring a product he/she can buy and consume directly.

“That’s a trend which we benefit from and which is positive for growth and for the business. Indeed it triggers repeat buying. In the past, people bought an avocado and they didn’t know whether it became ripe ever or if it was already over ripe, so they were frustrated and this led to a drop in consumption because people didn’t have trust in the product. 

"This is where we have intervened in that by carrying out more expert ripening in a good manner and with experience, and now you see that consumption is picking up."


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