"Supermarket promotions are acceptable, rock bottom prices are not"

"Stronger together: Support Dutch products." This was the call sent from the fruit and vegetable sector last week to Dutch retailers. And they listened. This weekend, almost all supermarkets focused on Dutch vegetables, although there was also some criticism. The focus on prices is not the right one and if all countries chose only to consume their own products it would also be negative for the Netherlands.

Joint promotions
For years, calls have been made by many parties, but only after the Russian boycott was introduced have these become a reality: joint promotions for the sector. The "Stronger Together" promotion has brought various parties from the fresh produce chain together to promote Dutch products among retailers, caterers, restaurants and consumers. Supermarkets have also been called to promote Dutch cucumbers and tomatoes. Boni and Hoogvliet have officially joined the promotion, but also other supermarkets focused on vegetables. 

A traffic-light pepper packet, a tray of vine tomatoes and a cucumber for 2 Euro at Albert Heijn; a kilo of tomatoes on the vine for 89 cents at Plus and cheap apples at Dirk. But the fruit and vegetable sector has criticised these supermarket promotions. The focus on price, of selling more for less, was, according to some media sources, not good for the LTO. "From the grower's standpoint, it is better to sell less at a reasonable price than a lot for very little. Consumers should also be aware that growers need reasonable prices," said Nico van Ruiten to NOS. "'It's a good thing that our high quality products get extra attention today, although we find it is also important that our growers receive a fair price for their products," said Albert Jan Maat in the same conversation.



Are they fully against it? Not exactly, explains Van Ruiten. "We stand behind the promotion; we stand behind Stronger Together. If Dutch consumers eat more fruits and vegetables, that's good for growers. But it will also be good if growers get reasonable prices in the coming weeks," he explains. "Our commitment is to achieve reasonable prices, despite the Russian import ban. This promotion helps to serve the purpose, because it increases demand, so we definitely support it." 

Fruit and vegetable consumption 
The promotion, however, has also been criticised. What would happen if all countries did this? For an exporting country like the Netherlands, it would be fatal, said Ruud Huirne (Rabobank) to NRC. The goals of the entity lie beyond this crisis and this boycott. "Initially, we are focusing on products from the Netherlands, but in the long term the target is to increase fruit and vegetable consumption as a whole," says Wouter Staal, spokesman for Stronger Together. "It will then not matter as much what country the products come from, as long as consumption grows."



At the moment, the promotion aims to show consumers the particular qualities of Dutch products. "We are now focusing on Dutch products, as there is still a lot of prejudice and now they have a chance to appreciate their quality and taste." Growers, retailers, restaurants, caterers and other partners have been offered a digital promotional package, with posters, cards and stickers.

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