"The Dutch position in the international arena is unclear and, despite some good initiatives, lacking visible corporate brand value and surplus value as Tuinbouw Holland BV. This, along with the fact that Dutch companies are not doing well in Germany, leads to rather gloomy prospects, says marketing professional Bernhard Nanninga of horticultural consultancy Agrado.

Back in time

"Modernity was introduced in Dutch horticulture some 10 years ago, mostly in the shape of the intentional disintegration of traditional auction structures. The free market was glorified, and now the result is that producers lack a unified international position. Before the collapse of the traditional auction, we had the Central Office, which did to the monitoring of the market. The feedback from the KCB went to the Central Office and the findings were translated into a targeted marketing approach. That worked really well.

Today however, the PT has been shut down, and the collective marketing communications from the Groente en Fruit Bureau have ceased. KCB is still monitoring quality control, but without the resultant information being rendered into any kind of solid marketing approach. The interdependence has disappeared and we are divided into scattered producer groups with conflicting interests.

Tuinbouw Holland BV needs to project added value

The lack of a clear message to the international market, at least in terms of added value, is the challenge that producers and traders are facing today. Production in the Netherlands is able to reach both controlled and high quality standards. Others countries are quite capable of producing with cheap labour cost. Speciality versus commodity. So what are we to do?


As producers and market-oriented traders of greenhouse vegetables we join hands and come to a shared vision, mission and strategy to deal with international competition. We focus on value in sustainability, taste, quality and reliability. Not on the basis of subsidy jars, but on good-old-fashioned entrepreneurship and guts.

On the international market, we use our corporate brand value and our expertise in a focused strategic effort to regain shelf position. We’ll invest 2% of our turnover to make 5% margin. That means putting in more than € 100 million – if we're committed to make sure that we have a sound financial perspective.

Retail buyers must know what we have to offer. We must put Holland back on the map, not just in terms of quality produce, but also in terms of added value, leading to international buyers paying more for a combined package of, again, sustainability, taste, quality and reliability. This is no idle thought, this is a possibility!”

Bernhard Nanninga
marketing consultancy Agrado

Bernhard Nanninga founder of Agrado, a professional marketing consulting firm for the horticultural chain. This autumn he will again give the Master Class in Marketing Strategy, where making strategic choices and the use of marketing is central. Read more about the seminar or subscribe directly.

More information:
Bernhard Nanninga
Kerkweg 82
2641 GG Pijnacker
F. +31 (0)847 19 82 97
M +31 (0)645 98 42 81
Skype: agradomarketingsolutions