Helping our customers stand out from the crowd - Greenyard Annual Report -

Five questions for Charles-Henri Deprez, Managing Director Greenyard Fresh

Charles-Henri Deprez

Greenyard focuses on deepened, long-term and integrated relationships with some of Europe’s biggest retailers. But what exactly do these relationships entail and why are they so important for Greenyard’s future? Charles-Henri Deprez, Managing Director Greenyard Fresh explains.

2020 has been a successful year for Greenyard’s long-term relationships with customers. What do you think is the key to their success?

It’s important to understand that the retail world is evolving rapidly, and competition is getting fiercer. Consumers are increasingly in control: they choose what they want to buy, where they buy it, when they buy it, and how they buy it. This means retailers need to find ways to differentiate themselves. The fruit and vegetables category lends itself perfectly for this. Not only is this category growing in popularity with increasingly health-conscious consumers, but its sheer diversity provides endless possibilities to make a difference.

Why is Greenyard the ideal partner to help retailers develop their fruit and vegetables category?

As one of the largest providers of fruit and vegetables in all its forms, we have the product expertise and the wide range needed to create a tailor-made offering. For example, some retailers may want to focus on locally grown produce. We then use our scale and our extended network to help realise this goal and systematically increase the quantities of locally sourced produce on the shelves. Other retailers may want to differentiate themselves by offering maximum convenience to consumers. In this case, we will focus on the joint development of convenience solutions, such as our mealkits.

How does it work in practice?

Simply put, we make sure that the shelves of our customers are filled with a wide variety of high-quality fruit and vegetables, all year round. We have the ability to completely unburden our customers in the fruit and vegetables category. We can take care of the entire supply chain, including sourcing, quality control, transport, logistics, traceability and packaging. This enables us to optimise operations, for example by combining transports and deliveries. It means a shift from daily discussions on prices of individual products to end-to-end value chain optimisations.

Why are long-term relationships beneficial for all parties involved in the chain?

They are a win-win for everyone, as this unique way of working allows us to actually improve life together, and throughout the chain. Consumers get to enjoy a wide variety of high-quality fruit and vegetables all year round, at good prices and in line with evolving tastes and demand. Growers have a greater guarantee that their produce will be sold and that they will receive a fair price for it. Waste is reduced, because production is more in line with the actual demand in the market, which is beneficial for the planet. Retailers are unburdened and able to focus more on the consumer. And as for Greenyard, we can grow our business in a more stable and sustainable manner, allowing us to deepen the range and grow our market share over time. At the same time, we stay away from the volatility of transactional trading, and continue adding value in every step.

If these long-term relationships are so great, why is no one else doing this?

Greenyard has been advocating this model for more than 20 years. But more importantly, we have already put this model into practice with several European retailers, where we have been able to grow the fruit and vegetables category significantly. But we are certainly not the only supplier to apply this model. Many other companies are thinking along the same lines, and not just in the fruit and vegetables category. We expect that in ten years’ time it will have become common practice for many suppliers.

This however is easier said than done. To really maximise the benefits of this approach, there are quite some – critical – elements you need to fully control. And that is the advantage we have: we have a lot of experience with this innovative business model, we have the scale, the knowhow and the network to make it work, and equally important: we have an unparalleled, and extensive product portfolio of fruit and vegetables.