Dutch and Belgian fruit co-ops explore cross-border platform

Coöperatie Hoogstraten says a partnership with Netherlands’ Royal FruitMasters would produce economies of scale for member growers and partners

Fruit co-operatives Coöperatie Hoogstraten in Belgium and the Netherlands’ Royal FruitMasters are exploring a potential collaboration. 

Coöperatie Hoogstraten announced this week that an agreement has been made by the FruitMasters Supervisory Board and the governing body of Coöperatie Hoogstraten. 

The partnership would create a cross-border source platform for fruit and veg, which Coöperatie Hoogstraten says would produce economies of scale for member growers and partners.

FruitMasters, the largest fruit co-op in the Netherlands, delivers fruit to the retail market including national and international trading houses and retailers. 

Its produce includes apples, pears, berries, stone fruit and exotic fruits, which it processes and delivers via its facility and logistics centre in the Netherlands.

Coöperatie Hoogstraten is a Belgian marketing organisation for fresh fruits and vegetables with a turnover of €370m. The co-op represents over 200 producers from the fruit and vegetable sector, with a focus on strawberries, tomatoes and peppers.

The co-op says a partnership with FruitMasters would “boost growth ambitions and strengthen a combined position as European fruit and greenhouse vegetable specialists”, future-proof cultivation and secure robust sales. 

“Scaling up presents an opportunity to be an even stronger and more flexible partner in a rapidly changing market,” said Coöperatie Hoogstraten. “Placing maximum emphasis on close supply chain co-operation will make it possible to respond more efficiently to market demands and achieve the best match between supply and demand.”

Sharing a platform would also reduce supply chain costs, accelerate knowledge acquisition and innovation in new varieties, and drive sustainability, digitalisation and resilience to changing market conditions, added the co-op. “Co-operation in these areas will result in a powerful presence in the European fresh produce landscape,” it said.

The co-ops plan to investigate different collaborative models and the potential benefits for growers and chain partners over the next few months, with outcomes expected in 2024. This will be presented to the co-ops’ members, “if sufficient common ground is found”.