January 28, 2023

SVZ to intensify processing of ports’ surplus fruit and vegetables – giving produce a ‘second chance’ while reducing waste

As two of the largest seaports in Europe, Rotterdam and Antwerp play an important role in the global trade of fresh produce. In 2020, for example, approximately 2.2 million tons of fruit and vegetables entered Antwerp via the North Sea, while the Port of Rotterdam processed an enormous 5.2 million tons across the entire year.

The popularity of fresh produce shows no sign of abating two years later, either. There is currently a strong call for 100% natural, healthy foods and drinks as consumers become more aware of the effect what they eat has on their overall health and wellbeing. The tons of imported fruit and vegetables that the ports of Rotterdam and Antwerp process every day are crucial to meeting this continued demand.

However, this imported produce also includes fruit and vegetables which aren’t considered suitable for selling fresh – either due to their level of ripeness or appearance. This results in an estimated 5% of produce that is usually used for biofuel, if not wasted – primarily apples, bananas, pears and tropical fruits such as mangoes and pineapples.

SVZ International B.V. SVZ is committed to implementing sustainable initiatives throughout the supply chain that minimise the environmental impact of their business. It already takes in excess kiwi fruit from Belgian ports, but now the business is looking to take more surplus fruit and vegetables from Rotterdam and Antwerp. In fact, SVZ’s soon-to-be expanded Rijkevorsel processing plant is perfectly positioned to take in produce from both ports.

“The consolidation of agreements with importers and fruit companies that operate in the ports of Rotterdam and Antwerp is an exciting development for us,” says Monique Behrend-Dullaert, Director of Procurement & Agronomy at SVZ. “We’re passionate about making the agro supply chain more sustainable, and we’re already making headway with programmes focused on biological control and the promotion of wellbeing in farming communities.

“According to the UN, nearly half of all fruit and vegetables are wasted globally every year. We feel a responsibility, as a key supplier within the industry, to contribute to the reduction of this number. SVZ is committed to exploring new and exciting ways to make the agro supply chain more sustainable, and we’re excited to see the results of this initiative.”

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