"I am sitting with tens of thousands of boxes of fresh cress," says Rob Baan of Koppert Cress. This Dutch company has branches all over the world. It is wholly focused on the hospitality industry. This sector is all but entirely shut down. This is due to the measures taken to curb the spread of the coronavirus. "Our sales have dropped by 86%. That is impossible to ignore. And it is good growing weather, so we are expecting more product to arrive," the horticulturist says, with a sigh.
It conjures up memories of the EHEC crisis. "One cannot help but think of this. Then our turnover was, however, still even lower. But we had far fewer employees," says Rob, who now has 300 people working for him. "This time, I do, however, have faith that our government will help us. Things were still far different during the EHEC outbreak."
"Then we could not count on any assistance. The advantage of having 300 employees is that they come up with 300 ideas. For example, we are going to run numerous promotions to save what can be saved. We are going to open a Cress Drive-In. Chefs and other interested parties can come and collect goods."
"We are also going to have promotions to support chefs. There is a massive brigade of chefs that now has nothing to do. They have a huge desire to work. We are going to make our kitchen available. These people can thus experiment endlessly with cress. They can use them in pesto and vinegar."
"Plus we are going to try and help as many people as possible in the time to come. We are going to sell our products via all sorts of unusual channels. Think of students who can sell cress to their family. Or chefs that will find our products of value. Stopping with cress is not an option," concludes Rob.
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