In the Netherlands, Evers Specials received its first mung beans from Asia last week. “We work with local growers and exporters there. That’s to achieve a maximum harvest that meets European quality requirements. The beans arrive in the Netherlands after about five weeks in transit. Here, they’re stored in a dry, controlled environment,” says Koen van Kessel, Evers Specials’ Sales Manager.
“Mung beans’ purchasing price has risen slightly. Cost fluctuations are mainly due to the dollar and increasing container costs. Asia is the largest mung bean producer, by far.” There, mung beans are primarily used as flour. This is vital for making products like glass noodles. Evers Specials germinates the beans into sprouts. This happens in cultivation cells in 20 to 50-ton batches. That’s so they can respond well to market demand.
“We cultivate the sprouts seven days a week. Then the product’s freshly available every day,” explains Koen. That’s necessary because it takes seven days for the mung beans to grow into bean sprouts. After that, they’re cooled to 4°C. You can then keep the bean sprouts for another six days. So, bean sprout cultivation is a logistically complicated process. Evers Specials sometimes supplies clients almost all over Western Europe up to three times a week.
The mung bean and bean sprout market’s growing in Western Europe. The product fits in with the increasing trend towards a sustainable, vegetarian, or vegan diet. Bean sprouts are nutrients-rich and a good source of vitamin C. They’re also relatively high in vegetable protein compared to other vegetables. There’s a growing interest in Asian cuisine in Western Europe too. That’s increasing bean sprouts’ popularity. Evers Specials doesn’t have only conventional bean sprouts but also the organic variety. This product is supplied to the canning industry.
COVID-19 negatively affected bean sprout sales. That was due to the reduced sales by Asian and Western restaurants. However, many of these restaurants remained open for takeaways and deliveries. So, this product wasn’t the hardest hit in the fruit and vegetable sector. “We’ve made a hopeful purchase anyway. We can scale up quickly when demand increases again,” Koen concludes.