The market for ready-to-eat fruit is still in its early stages, he said, and especially in Germany, innovations are accepted only slowly and with skepticism. “It is a long process until a product innovation is actually accepted by the trade, placed accordingly and also accepted and demanded by the consumer. However, our order situation is increasing and we feel more and more a trend towards healthy nutrition, to which fruits and fruits contribute significantly,” says Tim Kroner (pictured below), managing director of Vitasafe GmbH, based in Selbitz.
The pandemic and the subsequent war situation in Ukraine have only minimally affected the company. Kroner: “Of course, we are also confronted with significantly rising costs, whether in raw material procurement, production, logistics or wages. Added to this, especially in the case of pineapples, is the currency shift caused by the strengthened U.S. dollar. Nevertheless, we are sticking to our policy of not allowing these increased demands to impact product quality, as we are increasingly finding that our customers are willing to pay the appropriate price for a high-quality product.”
Chocolate coated fruits
Difficult procurement situation
Raw material procurement has been very problematic during times of crisis, Kroner continues. “Flexible purchasing on the free market almost completely collapsed, or incalculable price jumps and reduced delivery quantities resulted. Here, the long-standing partnerships with major importers were particularly advantageous. Our specifications to suppliers and growers, which include harvesting only when the fruit is at the right stage of ripeness, were thus consistently met. This also made it possible to supply our customers almost without interruption, although the challenges of planning increased and volume requirements had to be determined over longer periods, up to eight weeks in advance.”
Insights into fruit processing at Vitasafe, a company based in northern Bavaria.
Investments in convenience technology
Vitasafe was founded in 2007 and has since specialized in ready-to-eat fruit processing. The portfolio of ultra-fresh fruit salads has been continuously expanded and optimized over the years. “In this regard, we would just like to hint that the chocolating of fruits, the cutting technique, the packaging design and the packaging materials play an essential role. The trend towards vegan nutrition is also a constant topic in our development department. Our tests show that the future will bring many delicious nibbles,” Kroner points out the development potential of Ready Cut fruits.
From raw material to ready-to-eat product
Although the northern Bavarian company is continuously engaged in innovation and product testing, its main focus is on manufacturing and marketing its already established products. “Due to the steadily growing demand, we have invested significantly in new technology over the past two years. Not only have we purchased more efficient slicers, conveyors and precise weighing technology, but we have also strengthened control mechanisms, such as foreign object detection. In this regard, we believe we are well equipped to produce a consistently high-quality and, above all, safe product.”
Insight into VitaSafe GmbH’s product range: the portfolio now includes a total of eight different flavors.
Fresh food logistics gaining in importance
The company aims to continue growing in the coming years along with the thriving convenience market. “However, we always have to start from an ultra-fresh product, which shows natural limits that we don’t want to artificially push. This is particularly important to us, which is why the use of preservatives or additives is out of the question for us. Accordingly, our own fresh food logistics are playing an increasingly important role and we expanded our fleet last year with new refrigerated semitrailers. Nevertheless, we still see our market in Germany and, in the interests of the environment, we do not want to accept longer transport routes,” Kroner concludes.
Images: Vitasafe GmbH
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