In an effort to attract more consumers and attain higher turnover, large supermarket chains seek to partner full range suppliers capable to follow strict criteria for quality and delivery dynamic of fresh fruits and vegetables. UNIVEG Company (head office in Belgium) is one of the three largest importers and distributors of fruits and vegetables in Europe. UNIVEG/GREENYARD Group www.univeg.com serves a global customer base across 6 continents and has a network of 32 distribution centers in Europe.
As part of the assistance to identify new export market leads, USAID REG established contact with UNIVEG’s representative for South East Europe and presented the general data and profile of Balkan countries in fruits and vegetables value chain. UNIVEG’s management has showed interest for investigating opportunities for supplying F&V from AL, MK, SRB and Moldova. Since UNIVEG distributes to 20 largest supermarket chains in Europe, they accepted to consider matching only with competent companies committed to satisfy high food safety, quality and social responsibility standards and entering into a long-term partnership program. The Project worked through its network and provided list of potential suppliers of fresh, frozen and processed F&V that have previous export experience and capacity to respond to UNIVEG’s requirements.
In July 2016, REG coordinated a very successful inbound mission and B2B meetings for UNIVEG’s Regional Representative for South East Europe to Albania and Macedonia. The mission resulted in initial export sales of 9 trucks of black plums from MK. As a follow-up, in October REG coordinated trade mission through UNIVEG’s distribution centers in Poland, Czech Republic and Austria.
At the Fruitnet Forum South East Europe held in Belgrade on 29-30 November 2016, REG discussed with UNIVEG rep. who was participating as one of the key speakers at the forum and agreed to coordinate B2B meeting with leading companies from Serbia producing fresh and frozen fruits and vegetables. The Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development of Serbia also presented interest to support such event.