2021, record year for BelOrta with product sales of 497 million euros

When New Year’s greetings were exchanged in early 2021, “the pivotal year 2020 was behind us and we began the post-COVID era with optimism,” it was speculated. COVID, however, is still here. It has become ubiquitous and determines the ins and outs of many industries. This also applies to the fruit and vegetable sector. BelOrta, with a turnover of 497 million euros in 2021, achieved its highest turnover on record, although this was accompanied by another uncertain year for producers, trade, suppliers and consumers. In addition to COVID, the extremely humid summer, scarcity of raw materials and high energy costs also impacted the course and results for 2021, according to the cooperative.

Pressure from southern Europe for fruit vegetables, a two-way street for field vegetables
“With vegetables, we see very different results depending on the product groups. Regarding the tomatoes, we noticed a drop in volume, but here we can speak of a rather normal harvest. years did not occur, due to less sunny weather. These production cuts, combined with a decrease in cultivated areas in Spain and a cold snap in southern Europe, led to an improvement in tomato prices. In the fall, very high fuel prices and a large supply of tomatoes from southern regions then put further pressure on fall harvests and light crops. This cheaper competition from the south has also played a major role for many fruit vegetables. , peppers and eggplants, among others. “

“For field vegetables, we also had a year that evolved at two different rates. Asparagus had good prices until April, in part due to a relatively small harvest and high demand. Starting in May, a higher bid and falling interest led to more difficult sales. . Spring 2021 brought good prices for leeks, due to the limited harvest. Autumn 2021 was characterized by a weaker market situation. Cauliflower had a moderate year in terms of price. Supply has followed its normal course, as has demand. The increased supply of winter cauliflowers and the lengthening of the harvest season, thanks to which BelOrta can also offer locally grown cauliflowers during the winter months, are remarkable. “

“Overall 2021 has been one of the best years for chicory. The decline in chicory root productions in 2020 allowed the chicory supply to remain manageable for much of 2021. The start of the year was marked by a balanced market with fair prices. A cold spring led to good demand and good prices in April and May. A mild September again hurt demand for chicory, but the market recovered in October and early November with better prices. December again saw an increase in international supply. The combination with the mild climatic conditions led to a more difficult market. There has been no major change in the volume of supply this year. At the product level, we have seen an increase in the supply of eggplants, cucumbers, multicolored salads and tomato specialties, while we have seen a decrease in the supply of zucchini and tomatoes on the vine. “

The wettest summer ever leads to a drop in fruit production, but also in consumption
2021 has been a year of ups and downs for many varieties of fruit. The wettest summer since the records began can be considered a major cause of this. Bad summer weather reduced the production and consumption of strawberries and berries. Spring and fall worked as expected, but that could not make up for the weakness of the summer period.

The Belgian cherry season was literally ruined last year. Frigid spring temperatures caused damage to many plots of land. In addition, the cherry harvest period fell in the middle of a period of unusually high rainfall, resulting in a very limited harvest.

The best fruit year was also divided. The low supply of apples made it possible to reach reasonable prices in spring 2021, while the big harvest in the autumn, combined with high supplies from Central and Eastern Europe, resulted in a difficult market situation. For pears, we saw the opposite story, with a large harvest and a more difficult market situation in the spring and a smaller European harvest with better prices in the fall.

Organic growth continues, BelOrta launches the EARTH label for products in transition
Organic products have also had to face sometimes atypical climatic conditions. “However, this did not prevent our growers from further expanding the organic acreage of BelOrta. For example, this year organic asparagus was available for the first time at BelOrta. Organic cucumbers, chicory and vine tomatoes remain the first three references of the organic range. Higher volumes of fruit are observed in Jonagold, Conference and blueberry. “

In addition, BelOrta also launched the EARTH label in 2021, a label for products in transition. With this, we want to provide more and better information to traders and consumers, while creating better market opportunities for these vegetables and fruits in transition. The launch of the label was widely applauded nationally and internationally.

BelOrta becomes more sustainable
In 2021, BelOrta continued to follow the path of a sustainable and socially responsible company. For example, Too Good To Go’s declaration of intent “For a planet without food waste” was signed in March. Since then, BelOrta has become even more resolute in the fight against food waste as Waste Warrior Brand.

In packaging, BelOrta’s sustainability initiatives in 2021 included the very first fully circular strawberry tray. This innovative tray is made from 100% recycled PET (r-PET) and is itself 100% recyclable. This means that each empty strawberry tray can be processed and reused as raw material for new packaging. By switching to r-PET, BelOrta is reducing its CO2 emissions by no less than 450 tonnes per year.

Another important milestone in 2021 was the switch from blue hard crates to green folding crates. One truck of these empty collapsible boxes replaces no less than 5.4 rigid box trucks. This means an annual reduction in emissions of 1,080 tonnes of CO2.

Towards a surprisingly pleasant year 2022 with our producers as ambassadors
Since 2020 BelOrta can be called the best-known Belgian fruit and vegetable brand, a position which has been strengthened this year with a brand new marketing campaign, based on the baseline “Pleasant for …”. This year saw the launch of BelOrta Greenhouse, the world’s very first hybrid foodtruck-greenhouse, the consumer site www.belorta.be got a makeover (including a brand new recipe platform) and www.verbazendplezant.be Was launched.

“In 2022, we will continue to capitalize on the momentum of our new marketing campaign and, even more than before, we will honor our producers as ambassadors. BelOrta is therefore, for and by the producers. Thanks to the relentless efforts and dedication of our producers, last year we were also able to continuously serve the Belgian consumer with delicious fresh vegetables and fruits, whatever the confinements, restaurant closures, crises. sanitary facilities, etc. “

Bravely enter a challenging new year 2022
2022 is also shaping up to be a year full of challenges and uncertainties. Rising logistics, energy and labor costs, general inflation, the next phase of Brexit, long delivery times and great uncertainty about the availability of raw materials are of concern. In addition, the market is constantly evolving, with new distribution models and consumer expectations, so it is important to act quickly. BelOrta therefore continues to invest in the search for diversification for our producers. New varieties and promising species of fruits and vegetables will be introduced and will enrich the offer. “That way we always look to the future with positivity. Over the coming year, BelOrta’s 1,000 or so growers will once again focus on delivering the tastiest, highest-quality vegetables and juiciest fruits. Locally grown, so very fresh, full of flavor and incredibly enjoyable for everyone at the table. “

For more information:
Philippe Appeltans, Managing Director
BelOrta
Phone: +32 (0) 15 55 11 11
[email protected]
www.belorta.be


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