Grow together, enjoy together
Our sweet and juicy mangoes and creamy avocados have a long and delicate journey before they arrive on the consumer’s plate in impeccable shape. That’s why we would like to show you how we have optimized every step of this process in order to guarantee a constant supply and high quality all year round.
The story of our fruit starts on our growers’ plantations. There, in the tropical or subtropical summer sun, they get all the time, nutrition, and personal attention they need to grow from blossom to perfection.
Our growers monitor each individual tree and each individual fruit throughout the season. Thanks to this attention at an individual level, we are able to reduce crop failures and loss of quality.
We visit all our plantations regularly to check the state of the fruit as it hangs from the trees. We carry out technical audits for crop protection and traceability. And check that our growers comply with working conditions and EU legislation.
Harvest and selection
Keeping our finger on the pulse. We do that all year round to know well before the harvest even begins what we can expect in terms of volume and quality.
And it goes without saying – we’re always there as soon as the fruit is ready to be harvested. We look, we feel, we taste, and we measure. For each of our customers, we select the right fruit based on colour, taste, and Brix value or dry matter. Only Class 1 is good enough.
Avocados and mangoes bruise and get damaged easily. We treat every single piece of fruit with the utmost care. After picking, we leave them to cool down until they stop ripening. Only then are they transported to Bleiswijk – cooled at exactly the right temperature.
Our Spanish harvest arrives in Bleiswijk within just two days. It can take three weeks for our Latin American and African mangoes and avocados to arrive at the port of Rotterdam by boat. Within just one hour they are transported from the port to our warehouse in Bleiswijk.
Each delivery is inspected immediately upon receipt by QC one, an independent party. They check whether our fruit meet the high Class I requirements.
We also take samples ourselves. This enables us to check for unauthorized crop protection products, dry matter (avocados), Brix value (mangoes), and whether the fruit meet EU standards, our own requirements, and the additional requirements of our customers.
Cooling and ripening
Our avocados arrive in a controlled atmosphere. After the quality checks, we let them acclimatize and wake up in a refrigerator. After two days they are ready to go to our ripening room.
Ripening mangoes and avocados is very delicate process. Our master ripeners are leading this process with military precision. Their working day consists of feeling, cutting, and tasting. They assess the colour, measure the firmness, and conduct dry-matter tests.
Country, region, picking season: These factors all influence the taste and composition.
Master ripener Gert personally allocates the right products to the right customer. Who is this shipment for? Does this customer want their fruit to be delivered ripe, triggered, or firm? Which colour and taste profile do they prefer? Are certain regions excluded?
We allocate a large part of the harvest before ripening; we know for which customers we are taking care of the ripening process, as well as their specific requirements.
All our customers have their own specific packaging requirements. So we customize each and every shipment. In boxes or individually packaged? In a plastic container or cardboard box? With or without a customized sticker?
Before the fruit are shipped we do a final quality check for peel damage, firmness, and internal browning. We compile a report on each shipment and leave nothing to chance. That is because we care too much about our fruit and our customers to let anything happen.
Only once a shipment had been adapted to meet the customer’s requirements is it cleared for delivery. Before the fruit leaves our premises, we first check the temperature of the lorries that our customers use for transportation. If the temperature of the lorry too high, then the lorry has to be cooled down before we start loading.
From Iceland to Romania, from Finland to France: lorries transport our mangoes and avocados all over Europe to their final stopover – the distribution centres of supermarkets or food centres.
Supermarkets and restaurants
Even on the last leg of the journey – to the supermarkets and restaurants – our precious cargo must remain intact. That’s why we give advice to our customers on handling, cooling and shelf life, and provide information for consumers and retailers. And we also work with you to develop promotional campaigns to ensure that the fruit reaches the consumer at exactly the right stage of ripeness.
Four to six months after the first blossom appeared on the mango or avocado tree in Colombia, South Africa, or Morocco is the moment that everyone in the supply chain has worked so hard for – our mangoes and avocados are finally enjoyed by the consumers.
The possibilities are endless. A mango on the go, a homemade guacamole dip, an avocado club sandwich, a fresh avocado & mango smoothie on a sunny café terrace… We don’t mind how they are enjoyed! Because that’s what Dole Europe is all about – growing together and enjoying together.