At the start of July Best of Four moved into the Olympic Fruit building at the Barendrecht trade centre. Director Ton van Dalen is very content with his new location. “First of all it's due to the climate control. In the previous location we could have done with this over the summer. We are now also on one level now rather than three, which makes working a lot easier.”

The cooperative growers union has formulated a new strategy in which there is heavy investment in digitising and sales. “We want to see if we can get product and chain information out of our data in the most efficient manner possible. We also want to have and hold a large influence over sales. Retailers are looking for the source. That’s us and we have to make the connections there. It’s not just about selling a box of tomatoes but also providing the right information.”

The tomato sales are going with difficulty this season. “If you weren’t able to work with contracts this year and rely on weekly and daily sales, it’s a difficult season,” says Ton. “Due to the many sun hours the production was very high. Of course there’s a difference between loose, vine and snacking tomatoes, but the prices will have to pull up quite considerably for it to still be a reasonable season.”

Ton describes the pepper season as mediocre. “Not very good, but not terrible either. The coarse peppers have slightly better prices, but there are less of them. The red and green peppers are lacking in price and the orange and yellow ones are doing slightly better. Due to the warm weather we see some quality problems here and there. Labour is an important factor in this. “How do you tie your staff to a cultivation company? There have been companies who weren’t able to make the desired rounds this summer. This doesn’t benefit the quality.”

The success story on the greenhouse vegetable market is cucumbers this year. “We are in quite a long period of high prices. They even surpassed the Euro mark and are still at a level of around 50 cents. We have to wait and see how the market develops, obviously, but we are already a good way into the season which means it could be the best season in years for growers,” concludes Ton. “The cucumber is of course a labour intensive cultivation, with which you can’t just expand by 10 hectares. This slows down scale enlargement a bit, which means supply and demand are more in balance and there is scarcity at certain times. And yes, shortages create prices like this.”

For more information:
Ton van Dalen
Best of Four
Handelscentrum ZHZ 40D
2991 LD Barendrecht
T +31 (0)180 820 084