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Remco Flikweert sells unsellable tomatoes regionally
Remco Flikweert (21) has been working in a tomato greenhouse since he was 13. He had countless talks with his boss about how to reduce waste. "We are working hard for those tomatoes all year round. It's such a shame that a share is thrown out because there is no market for them." Remco founded the company Zeeuws Rood last month, with which he gives tomatoes that can't be sold a second chance.
A crate of singles that would never be sold without Remco. The reason is that tomatoes without a stem have a shorter shelf life.
Remco is a fourth year Business Administration and Agribusiness student at the HAS Hogeschool. "It isn't easy to set up a company like Zeeuws Rood. A lot of knowledge of the regulations in the food industry is needed. I now have this thanks to my education." Remco sees his fellow students as 'colleagues in the battle against food waste'. They work together from different disciplines to process the tomatoes into new products. "A number of food technology students are developing a 4 season soup. Others are working on tomato jam. We are also working with designers and people from the world of business."
The stem of these cocktail tomatoes is too dry for regular sales
Before founding Zeeuws Rood Remco conducted extensive market research. He wants to sell the products in Zeeuws farm shops. "I went to a lot of these kinds of shops. There was a lot of really positive responses to our plans. The biggest challenge for us is distribution. The products have a short shelf life, so we will have to process and sell them quickly. What we need, is a distribution centre."
Local 4 Local
Remco: "I am putting down a regional concept that is only applicable to Zeeland. Zeeuws products do extremely well in Zeeland. This is mainly due to the tourists, who buy them as gifts. The products are also often used for Christmas gift baskets. I hope that entrepreneurs in North Holland and the Westland, for instance, see the advantage of setting up something similar in their region. They can directly receive all of the information that I have at hand at the moment. Connecting is essential. And there may be cucumber or pepper growers who want to do something with their 'unsellable' products."
These tomatoes will turn red all by themselves in a few days
The value of food
At a supermarket near Remco it is extremely busy at 8:00. Remco: "At the opening time people are desperate to get the offers of the day. These items have almost reached their expiry date and will be thrown away otherwise. Those people still know the value of food. We sometimes forget it. We throw out 150 Euro worth of food per person each year. This has to change and if I can help even just a little, I will be happy."
The Zeeuws Rood products will be presented on January 30 and 31 at the Food Experience in Den Bosch. They will be in stores as of June 2018.
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Publication date: 12/7/2017
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