Benelux-based fruit and vegetable growers and suppliers The Greenery and BelOrta have signed a declaration of intent to work in “collaboration” under a Union of Producer Organisation (UPO).

The move is not a merger or acquisition, The Greenery told Just Food. Both groups will continue to operate independently, but coordinate around issues such as “market development, [buying], logistics and innovation”.

In a joint statement, the companies said the decision would help them build “an even stronger position on the European market”, and become “a powerful, leading player in Benelux”.

Being located in neighbouring countries will also enable the two groups to work together and “[ensure] product availability under changing weather conditions”, they said.

The Greenery and BelOrta have been in discussions around establishing a joint producer organisation since early 2023.

Under the prospective UPO, both parties hope to create new opportunities for Belgian and Dutch fruits and vegetables growers, by optimising their logistics networks, and investing into new product varieties, digitisation, and sustainability.

How well do you really know your competitors?

Access the most comprehensive Company Profiles on the market, powered by GlobalData. Save hours of research. Gain competitive edge.

Company Profile – free sample

Thank you!

Your download email will arrive shortly

Not ready to buy yet? Download a free sample

We are confident about the unique quality of our Company Profiles. However, we want you to make the most beneficial decision for your business, so we offer a free sample that you can download by submitting the below form

By GlobalData
Visit our Privacy Policy for more information about our services, how we may use, process and share your personal data, including information of your rights in respect of your personal data and how you can unsubscribe from future marketing communications. Our services are intended for corporate subscribers and you warrant that the email address submitted is your corporate email address.

The Greenery declined to say when it expected the UPO with BelOrta would be established.

Marc Smets, chairman of BelOrta said: “This collaboration offers a number of opportunities for growth in cultivation and sales and for broader access to European markets and there are advantages in terms of knowledge sharing and efficiency.”

David Markowski, chairman of the board of The Greenery added: “We believe that our organisations and the market are ready for it and we look forward with great energy to the further design and organisation of the collaboration.”

Markowski was promoted to CEO last November, replacing Steven Martina who joined the New Zealand kiwi giant Zespri International.

Based in Sint-Katelijne-Waver in Belgium’s Antwerp province, BelOrta claims to be the largest fruit and vegetable cooperative in the country. Its produce includes greenhouse and open field vegetables, as well as top and soft fruits which are sourced from around 1,200 growers across Belgium and the Netherlands.

Last year, the fresh produce co-op acquired the Belgian Fruit Auction and its four fruit-growing sites in the Flanders region of Belgium.

According to the National Bank of Belgium filings, for the the full year 2023, BelOrta’s annual turnover increased 14% to €645m ($691.6m). Its annual gross margins grew 11% on 2022, to €34.9m.

Headquartered in Barendrecht, south Holland, The Greenery cooperative supplies fresh fruits and vegetables to online retail and trade customers. It has more than 150 growers and an annual product turnover of €743m.

Both companies sell to retailers and wholesalers across Europe, North America, and Asia.