In the 80s, Chinese and Asian restaurants sprang up all over the Netherlands. Many people were introduced to the then relatively unknown Oriental cuisine. "Now, there are far more diverse Asian restaurants," says Joop Zwaan of hospitality wholesaler, Sunda. "It used to be mainly Chinese-Indian cuisine, with the widely known wok restaurants. Nowadays, a great many Oriental cuisines are represented in the hospitality industry. Particularly Sushi restaurants have become very popular."
Joop Zwaan at work
Bean sprouts are undoubtedly the top product in Asian dishes. "This is like that market's bread." Sunda also counts carrots, cabbage, and onions among its best sellers. But avocados, too, are becoming more popular. "What's unusual with avocados is Nature's Pride's popularity. Customers strongly prefer these avocados in the purple box. They generally don't want any other variety."
Sunda wants to offer its client a total package. "There's great diversity in Oriental restaurants. Our range must, therefore, also be adequate. We want customers to feel at home with us. They must be able to focus entirely on preparing dishes. That's why we're extremely flexible in our operations too. If a buyer wants a product we don't have in our range, we'll ensure we supply it anyway," Joop explains.
Orders ready for delivery
Imports and rising transport costs
Sunda's assortment includes many exotic goods. So, they work closely with fruit and vegetable growers and importers. Funnily enough, they import many Asian vegetables from countries like Spain. Or, even stranger, these come from farmers in the Netherlands. "For example, there are Dutch growers who cultivate Shanghai Paksoi." The name then refers to the product rather than its origin. Still, many (dry) products are imported from Asia. "Sometimes it's difficult to pass on the products' increased prices because that can lead to considerably higher prices."
This is partly why Sunda likes controlling the logistics process as soon as a container arrives at port. "When there are high volumes at the port, it sometimes takes a while before a carrier can deliver containers that have arrived there. These transporters also charge more on the weekends. We've taken control of this process. We can, therefore, still partially curb rising transport costs," Joop concludes.