Demand-driven marketing and sales platform supported by long-term pertnerships with key importers and retailers
Thanks to FairFruit International’s close relationship with other Durabilis subsidiaries and export partners, FairFruit is able to provide an attractive supply solution to its customers: supply over extended periods throughout the year with reliable volumes, prices and quality and a strong focus on shared value and social impact.
Establishment of a UK sales office
By analogy to the Belgian sales office a UK sales office was established through the acquisition of the British company Nuexo. FairFruit UK will in a first stage focus on 12 month supply of conventional, organic and specialty mangos to British retail outlets such as Tesco and Waitrose.
First external West African mangos sourcing
In 2013, FairFruit marked year-round supply as an essential factor for successfully bringing its own produce the market, and started sourcing mangos from West African suppliers. Logistics proved to be the largest bottleneck. As soon as the 2013 season was finished preparations for a larger scale 2014 season with try-out of a logistical solution started.
Collaboration with FLP International on hold
The joint marketing with FLP International was put on hold as a result of differences in product portfolios and strategic considerations. Both companies are now covering their own products but continue supplying to one another
Consolidating strategic relationships with external suppliers
Since FairFruit’s own companies do not cover 12 months of production, external sourcing is needed to fill the gaps. First steps were taken in 2013, but the relationships with strategic suppliers are to be strengthened during the coming years. All external suppliers must comply with a minimum set of social responsibility requirements. Strategic alliances are being built progressively with suppliers that fully match the Durabilis philosophy.
Expanding team to reinforce supplier control and support
In order to live up to its value proposition,
FairFruit is progressively taking up responsibilities that used to belong to
Durabilis or the suppliers themselves. Due diligence of new suppliers, quality
control and quality management, production, social compliance, logistics, and
infrastructure support all require a highly skilled dedicated team, to be
formed in 2014 in preparation of future growth.
Ensuring timely payments to farmers
Despite its best intentions and commitment to the Durabilis philosophy, FairFruit has had difficulties in paying its suppliers in a timely fashion in 2013 and the beginning of 2014. Underlying causes were amongst others rapid expansion in volumes, quality problems and delayed payments from customers. Closer attention to cash planning, payment terms and the consolidation of working capital financing will largely minimize the issue.
Matching markets with value proposition
Realizing that FairFruit’s value proposition requires a large investment in supplier support, increased efforts are needed to direct sales efforts towards customers that value the inclusive approach and are prepared to collaborate in sustainable supply chains. In the USA, vegetables sales to Wholefoods have been a huge step.
Strategic review of Qualipack
Qualipack is a joint venture investment between FairFruit International and one of its strategic customers in an automated washing, grading and packing machine with which bulk-packaged products are processed and repacked for retail. Qualipack is operational but could be exploited more strategically. A strategic analysis is foreseen with Durabilis Consulting when resources are available.