Belgian cooperative, Hoogstraten has expressed strong demand for its strawberries so far this season. Despite good volumes, which were well above the same weeks last year, demand outstripped supply as the UK requested high quantities of Belgian strawberries. Both October and November saw more than a 20% increase in supply to the UK retail market.
The UK is an essential market for Belgian strawberries. Up to half of Hoogstraten’s volume of strawberries, in some weeks, is sent here when domestic production dwindles in October. Hoogstraten and its export partners manage a highly efficient and short supply chain, which ensures we receive the freshest product possible.
Synnøve Johansson, Business Development Manager at Hoogstraten, recently visited the UK to get a feel for how their strawberries compared to other available products: “After observing our delicious Belgian strawberries both on the retail shelf and at the wholesale market, and after sampling different varieties and origins I can only confirm that our Belgian strawberries are among the most tasty available.”
Regardless of a cold, wet summer, quality from Belgium has been strong and stable through the Autumn as production is coming from the greenhouses. By Christmas, the precious seedlings are wrapped up and placed in cold storage throughout the winter months. These plants will form the base of next year’s crop.
The cooperative is optimistic about its positioning in the UK going forwards and strengthening its relationships with key industry players here. Covid restrictions and the postponement of Fruit Logistica has undoubtedly had an impact on the organisation, but it remains positive nonetheless. Johansson comments: “We are all being confronted with the impact from quarantine and testing, orders being cancelled due to look downs and Fruit Logistica being postponed. As disappointed as we are to hear about Fruit Logistica, we fully support this decision and are very much looking forward to being able to enjoy Berlin in Spring!”