In 2007, Maud Jentjens and Jelger de Vriend founded Innovative Fresh to make the quality of fruit and vegetables on the fruit and vegetable shelf measurable in the belief that the quality of fruit and vegetable products should be better. As of this year, the activities will be fully integrated with Normec Foodcare and a single service provider will be created where all quality-related aspects of fruit and vegetables come together, from certification and training to quality monitoring and taste research.
Jelger de Vriend and Maud Jentjens
Jelger, who has years of experience in fresh produce at Chiquita, Ahold and Total Produce, among others, sees many advantages in the merger. “You notice that quality issues are becoming increasingly complex and international. We are getting more and more questions about product comparisons, shelf life, packaging and taste research. But also questions about support in the field of certification, training and shop inspections. We can now offer that total package centrally. This is why we are bundling our activities into Normec Foodcare. “
“In the fruit and vegetable trade we like to talk in terms of availability, price and Brexit, but if you really want to touch the consumer, then quality is the number one priority. Ask a consumer before purchase what they think is important and they won’t mention a price. but quality. A lot has happened in recent years and the quality of the fruit and vegetable products on the shelves has really improved, but at the same time there are still many challenges facing the sector,” Jelger continues.
“An average of 10% of blueberries are too soft, according to consumers. A quarter of the ready-to-eat avocados in the supermarket are unripe or overripe. So if you buy two ready-to-eat avocados, there is a 50% chance that one of the two wont be good. Those are shocking figures. If a tester inspects a container of grapes, they have a direct impact on 50,000 consumers. For a container of blueberries that is even 150,000 consumers. That is the same number of people as there are in a city like Apeldoorn. The impact that we can make by working on the quality of fruit and vegetables for the consumer is enormous! “
“As Normec Foodcare, we can make an even better contribution to quality throughout the chain, from the field to the supermarket shelf and thus make a difference in the daily lives of millions of consumers. Speaking of impact,” Jelger continues. “Normec Foodcare has an international strategy and the scale helps us and our customers. We have offices in the Netherlands and Belgium, an office in Germany (Bonn) and a laboratory in southern Sweden for the Scandinavian market. Also for Dutch and Belgian exporters. we can help to distinguish quality in German and Scandinavian retail. “
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