A complete service package around exotics, particularly ripening and packaging. That is the new Fruit Service Collective's (FSC) - an independent business unit within the MAGO holding company - primary objective. The company will start operating from a 6600m² warehouse in the Meer transport zone in May 2024. Besides ripening and packaging, FSC offers customs clearance, quality control, distribution, and logistics support. Initial reactions have been very enthusiastic, Evy van Gastel reports.

Evi van Gastel

Fruit Service Collective will begin with mangos and avocados, eventually possibly supplementing the package with kiwis and stone fruit. In the first phase, the warehouse will house ripening cells and cold storage areas. "In the second and third phases, we'll expand with multiple ripening cells and full machinery automation. We have further expansion options with an adjacent warehouse of another 6600m², including offices," Evy explains.

Regarding ripening, the new company is moving away from the conventional approach, focusing, instead, on Frigotec Softripe technology. "This AI-based technology ripens fruit in a stress-free manner. We, thus, significantly extend the fruit's shelf while retaining optimal flavor and considerably reducing waste and sorting and electricity costs. Plus, we can store our products under ideal temperature conditions to then carefully and precisely package them. Transport is provided with a view to minimizing CO2 emissions. Recycling packaging and processing waste into new products is part of our overall concept, too."

"After thoroughly screening the European fruit service market, we observed a growing demand for service providers focusing on expertise, products, and client intimacy. Our main goal is the total unburdening of customers," notes Evy, referring to the growing demand for exotics. "Whether that growth potential will be exploited depends on things like promotion rates, climate conditions, global inflation, and air cargo product acceptance restrictions. Per capita consumption varies considerably per country, so the marketing approach will also be a determining factor. Most importantly, awareness around healthier eating has increased recently. That trend will directly impact consumption behavior, provided supermarket prices remain acceptable."

Strength in unity
Starting from a holistic approach, FSC wants to steadily expand in the coming years. "We strongly support the idea of united forces and are therefore betting on partnerships. This approach puts us in a strong position with a view to the future. Also, we want to stand out in this competitive market segment and create added value through innovations and long-term commitment. In doing so, we believe we can be an even better leader within five years," concludes Evy.

Fruit Service Collective
Evi van Gastel