EFC is celebrating its 20th anniversary with the achievement of several milestones. KANZI® has been developed into a regular item in the retail assortment by the variety management company. The club apple KANZI® is offered year-round through EFC’s strong global partner network. In autumn, winter and spring, apples come from European orchards, in summer from overseas partners, allowing consumers to enjoy a high-quality apple all year long.
The apple brand Greenstar® specifically serves companies specializing in fresh-cut fruit and convenience concepts. Due to its high antioxidant and vitamin C levels, Greenstar® apples take a long time to turn brown. In addition, in several countries Greenstar® has gained the place on the shelves as the local green apple.
Additionally, the Migo® pear was introduced as the first centrally managed pear variety. Global pear consumption is declining, but Migo® remains as popular as ever in the selected target markets.
The cooperative company EFC was established in late 2002 to provide an adequate response to the increasing internationalization of the fruit industry. When it was founded, EFC had two main objectives. The first was to acquire and license hard fruit varieties by chain management to achieve an optimal price for the fruit growers. The second objective was to run a Common Market Organization (CMO) program for its three shareholders, all CMO-recognized producer organizations.
The shareholder structure is transnational with shareholders in three countries: The Netherlands, Belgium and Germany. This is the foundation for EFC’s success, according to Sjors Kruiper, chairman of the board. “This cooperation initially provided benefits in terms of obtaining European subsidies. The fact that EFC has strong shareholders with a large grower base in north-western Europe as well as the fact that EFC has proven itself in the market internationally with the success of KANZI®, makes it a desirable company for variety selection and commercial variety management.”
Added value for the entire chain
EFC’s mission is to create added value for all parties in the fruit chain. Ilse Hayen explains, “EFC is one of the leading variety acquiring and managing companies with outstanding marketing and technical competences. We are a preferred partner for our customers, licensed partners and growers and want to generate returns for all stakeholders in the chain: from breeders to fruit growers, to retailers and consumers. We do this by following the strategy of pursuing premium pricing in a dynamic market.”
The future of new varieties
Ilse foresees a bright future. In the coming years, EFC will continue to scout and develop new apple and pear varieties and brands that create added value for all parties in the fruit chain. “Thanks to our network of breeders, our technical team has managed to discover and develop three exceptional varieties. Additionally, the further roll-out of our new apple variety SunSpark is planned this year. And we continue to search for other new exceptional varieties with great potential. EFC distinguishes itself in the chain and we will obviously continue to do so for the varieties we currently have in our portfolio. By working together within our network of dedicated and professional partners, we will continue to stimulate the market with varieties and brands that meet the demands of tomorrow’s fruit industry.” Sustainability will become an increasingly important aspect in the future. She concludes: “If we find varieties in the breeding programs that are resistant to certain diseases, that will be a big plus, because we need to grow more and more sustainably.”