More than 30 fruit and vegetable chiefs of the German shop chain GLOBUS recently visited the Netherlands for two training days about the Dutch horticulture. The reactions of these German vegetable retail experts were unanimously enthusiastic and positive. Especially in relation to knowledge about fresh produce and growing methods in the glasshouse. What was also interesting to the retailers was the natural cultivation method using organic plant protection or parasitic wasps and bumblebees. This was seen by many as new and impressive.

Fruit and vegetable purchasing manager of GLOBUS, Hans Jürgen Kirsch: "It is great how during the last 20 years the Dutch horticultural sector has developed in the Netherlands. With new sales structures, durable growing methods, new products and more than 60 different tomato varieties. We are happy, that we have been able to see this with our own eyes during our Holland trip. With this we are in a position to advise our German clients from own experience when buying fruit vegetables. The fruit and vegetable team chiefs of GLOBUS are the first officially qualified vegetable fellow-workers in Germany "IHK-Fachberater für Obst und Gemüse". GLOBUS was chosen twice during the last few years as the supermarket with the best fruit and vegetable department of Germany. Globus employs more than 35,000 people and has more than 46 SB-Warenhäuser (department stores). The company was established in 1828 and in the fifth generation is still owned by the family Bruch. "Our largest holding is our staff. The fruit and vegetable department is now the most profitable department in the company" as per Hans Jürgen Kirsch.

"International retailers become ambassadors of the Netherlands
Program leader and originator of the international schooling program is Jochem Wolthuis, previously international director of GroentenFruit Bureau. "The aim of this program is a more intensive contact with German and international retail, in which the decision makers/managers of retail chains and their management are appointed ambassadors of Dutch agricultural products. We must and can proudly tell 'our story' about the tremendous developments in Dutch horticulture during the last decades. The marketing story is available and is not allowed to get lost. This retail schooling program is a means to tell the story to the correct people and make them enthusiastic. The experience and the practical knowledge resulting from this retail meeting form the basis of a structural retail program, which can be supported by business and institutions" as per Jochem Wolthuis.

Chainwide cooperation

The training day for GLOBUS has also been made possible because of an initial financing by the commission glasshouse vegetables, which has been involved in improving the image of Dutch fruit and vegetables in Germany during the last few years. Furthermore the training day has been enriched as far as content is concerned by admissions from the pepper campaign Colourfultaste and the tomato campaign MyTomato together with the cooperation of the companies Best Fresh Group, Koppert Cress and Rijk Zwaan. The training day took place in TomatoWorld with cooperation of tomato specialist Jos van Mil. Gerrit Jan Kornet, Colourfultaste:
From P8 I showed the group how many possibilities peppers offer in order to stand out in the market. Globus was impressed by all Dutch possibilities as a pepper supplier and is interested in good ideas to stimulate pepper sales in their shops further." Mirjam Hendriks, My Tomato: "When we are in a position to clarify the diversity of taste and assortment of tomatoes the consumer will know his way around better in the large supply of tomatoes. With that we can increase the consumption further. The team chiefs of Globus are in direct contact with the consumer and are in the best position to pass on the message."
Jan Doldersum on behalf of Rijk Zwaan took part in the training days. "I found this a very interested and motivated group. It is important for Rijk Zwaan to have the
direct dialogue with Globus in order to learn what their clients want and what the future trends are. In addition we hope to have been able to supply insight about the improvement trajectory and what we do in the area of taste. We have been able to formulate a number of concrete projects for a number of new product introductions and all year round sourcing. A unique and very valuable visit." Ferry Aarse, Best Fresh Group: "Wonderful that the Globus staff has appreciated the visit to The Netherlands so much. This makes me feel that we did something well for the branch in general."

Jochem Wolthuis is still active, after being left out of GroentenFruit Bureau, for the Dutch horticultural sector as "Fachexperte und Botschafter für Obst und Gemüse aus Holland". As founder of the German desk he is the spokesman for Dutch and German companies and organizations, such as trading platform Frugi Venta and Greenport Holland. He is the initiator of this international retail schooling program and in 2014 will coordinate for The Netherlands the last year of the international EU-campaign
"Frische ist Leben", together with German and Belgian branch organizations.