Tholen – Top Harvest has significantly expanded its range and sales markets in recent years. “Where we first mainly exported Western European bulk products, such as potatoes, carrots and onions, we have grown into a company that offers the full range of fresh ingredients to our customers worldwide,” says Nicolas Vandenbogaerde from Top Harvest.
The trading company, which he runs with his wife Delphine Vanhaelewyn, was founded in 2016 and delivers its products directly from Europe. “We saw that markets, such as the West African market, were becoming more and more self-sufficient in bulk products, which meant we wanted to meet the demands of new customers in more parts of the world with a wider choice.” Top Harvest now has customers in Central America, Eastern Europe, the Balkans and West and Central Africa. In these countries, the trader sees a constant demand for Western European fruit and vegetable products.
At the moment, Nicolas sees that onions, apples and pears from Holland and Belgium are real runners. “Yellow onions are doing really well. The onion market is still a very competitive market and where it is difficult to make a margin, but there is a very wide demand both inside and outside Europe. It makes trading fun. I am positive. about the onions, both now and in the future.In addition, we see that there is also a great demand abroad for Dutch and Belgian apples and pears.In addition, the new harvest of Belgian peppers is very good on the market.The prices of these are now much lower than at the beginning of the season, but customers are also willing to pay the prices. In addition, you see that if there is more supply, as now, then the prices fall quite quickly again. “
“We want to excel by being a service provider. I believe that we as businesses can create added value by arranging everything in our own company,” Nicolas continues. “Whether it’s the complete administration of transportation or customs, we want to address the concerns of our customers. Logistical administration and container hazards can cause a lot of headaches in these times.” The position of the shipping companies in this regard is somewhat against the trader. “With the increased container prices, one would expect that the service would also increase. Unfortunately, this does not seem to be the case, but we have to deal with that, and a customer should not think about that.”
In addition, the young company also makes a lot of partial loads, which according to Nicolas is a specific market. “The service part does not stop by unloading. If a supermarket, for example, asks to add another 100 kilos of dates to a load of 20 tonnes of apples, then we do it. The offer is adapted to our customers’ demand. If they need grapes, we ship grapes and if they need apples we are looking for the best apples.There is always a product required somewhere so we follow the calendar with our customers.We pick the best product at the moment required . “
A tight labor market
It has been a period of challenges for Top Harvest. “Logistics, of course, remains a source of concern in these times. With regard to container hazards, I believe we will return to calmer waters in the near future. In road transport, however, I expect that we will still be confronted in the coming years with a tight labor market and therefore a shortage of drivers, which must therefore be managed very well. We are an added value in these challenges because we have everything at hand. It allows us to react quickly and be flexible. “
Looking to the future, however, Nicolas is positive. “I think we have coped well with the challenging times and even experienced good growth. We are convinced that more healthy food is consumed when a good product is delivered. It also includes our responsibility to deliver beautiful, healthy products. in the fruit bowl all over the world. “
The fact that the company has experienced good growth also testifies to the urge to expand the Top Harvest team. “We want to be able to maintain the growth we are experiencing. We are a healthy company, but we lack a little hands. In this way, we want to build a good foundation for the future and offer the best service to our customers day in and day out. So think I that we have a very bright future ahead, “he concludes.
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