The European ports of Antwerp and Rotterdam bring in millions of tons of fruit and vegetables every year, but not all imported produce reaches the continent with the pristine appearances or levels of ripeness expected by retail. Such fruit is either used for biofuel or thrown away.
SVZ already takes in excess kiwi fruit from Belgian ports, but is now expanding its agreements to take in additional surplus fruit from the Rotterdam and Antwerp ports.
Boosting sustainability efforts
SVZ’s processing plant in Rijkevorsel is located close to both ports, making it ideally located to take in produce and transform it into fruit and vegetable ingredients destined for a variety of products ranging from beverages to bakery and dairy and ice-cream.
While the company already sources much of its fruit and vegetable ingredients from the surrounding area, more exotic products must come from abroad.
“The consolidation of agreements with importers and fruit companies that operate in the ports of Rotterdam and Antwerp is an exciting development for us,” says Monique Behrend-Dullaert, Director of Procurement & Agronomy at SVZ. “We’re passionate about making the agro supply chain more sustainable, and we’re already making headway with programmes focused on biological control and the promotion of wellbeing in farming communities.
“According to the UN, nearly half of all fruit and vegetables are wasted globally every year. We feel a responsibility, as a key supplier within the industry, to contribute to the reduction of this number. SVZ is committed to exploring new and exciting ways to make the agro supply chain more sustainable, and we’re excited to see the results of this initiative.”
Picking up extra fruit that doesn’t arrive in Europe in perfect retail condition is one of the ways SVZ is developing its sustainability efforts.
It has recently boosted production capacity at the Rijkevorsel site which will help it cater for these kind of side-streams of ‘wonky fruit and veg’, whether this be from local sites or imported fruit.