Beva Fruits International (BFI), a European importer and major supplier of fruit to food retailers, is looking to significantly increase its volumes of certain commodities, with its sights set largely on growth from Latin America.
The Paris-based company services eight retail chains in France, including Carrefour Hyper and Super Markets, Casino, Intermarché, Monoprix, Systeme U, E.Leclerc and Grand Frais, in addition to wholesalers, retailers and distributors across Europe.
BFI, whose logistics, ripening facilities and packing stations are based in the Netherlands, works with a range of fruits including table grapes, avocados, citrus, cherries and kiwifruit.
It prides itself on taking all grades and sizes, and, according to CEO Bruno Edery, has a “lean and mean” operating style that allows it to maximize grower returns.
Beva Fruits sources its produce from around the world but is now increasing its grower-exporter base in Latin America, especially table grape and avocado companies.
“We would like to find grower-exporters, not brokers, who are looking for an entrance into the French and other European food retailers,” Edery said.
“If they export at least 50% of their own fruit and are looking to have their fruit channeled through the retail business – and through an importer that takes all sizes, all grades, and that is able to troubleshoot in case of a quality issue – Beva Fruits is the right partner”.
One of the key reasons Edery believes the company has managed to be successful over the years is by focusing heavily on the returns it provides to grower-exporters, which it does by maximizing operational efficiencies.
“Beva Fruits is a lean mean operation. There is no fat,” he said.
“We’re working in a matrix environment and we are extremely grower-return-oriented. We’ve learned over the years that it has been a success of our company – the good grower returns we have given have helped us attract more exporting companies.”
The International Featured Standards (IFS)-certified company also packs its fruit under a range of different labels and formats depending on the client’s needs. For citrus alone, it has 21 difference references.
While also searching to enhance its grower base from the likes of Asia and South Africa, Beva Fruits is hoping to establish more relationships with grower-exporters from two of South America’s top fruit-growing countries – Peru and Chile.
Edery noted that in table grapes he was eager to find suppliers of new seedless varieties such as the proprietary Sweet Globes, bred by International Fruit Genetics.
“It is a fabulous white seedless grape that would have a great impact on the French market,” he said, adding that consumers there had a well-developed palate and greatly appreciated good-tasting fruit.
“The Sweet Globes coming out of Peru, for example, suit the French market perfectly – big fruit that is crunchy and has an excellent taste.”
Edery also explained that recently there have been some significant changes in the French table grape market. He said that whereas four years ago there was virtually no demand for red seedless grapes, now that category was becoming one of the best-sellers.
“And not only that, but four or five years ago you could not sell them one punnet of grapes. Beva Fruits now sees the French grape retail business being 80% punnets within the next two years. At the moment it’s 50% wholesale,” he said.
“France is one of the only European countries that’s still benefitting from having a two-target market with retail and wholesale.”
According to Edery, this scenario means he is always able to find a good buyer for the fruit – whatever the price, grade or size – and helps to ensure he provides the best possible returns to his suppliers.
To contact Beva Fruits, click here.