Fruit Attraction 2023 has drawn to a close, with more than 90,000 visitors from 135 countries gathering for the 15th anniversary of the flagship event in Madrid. And it’s fair to say, it didn’t disappoint.

Here’s what we learned.

Hand in a bunch of oranges

Quality is everything

While there were several key themes at this year’s event – including inflation, AI and sustainability – the big talking point, for us at least, was product damage during transit. Throughout the three-day event, exporters sought our expertise on some of the logistics problems related to quality affecting their businesses.

The issues in maintaining quality along the supply chain focused on bruising from mishandling, transit times and breaks in the cold chain — all resulting in waste before the produce reaches shops and supermarkets.

The cost associated with this is significant – especially as many of the exporters said their fruit damage claims were being rejected by carriers.

But it’s about more than just compensation for the damaged shipment. The exporters we spoke to are extremely proud of the quality of their produce and don’t want it to be compromised for two key reasons.

The first is that retailers will pay more for fruit and vegetables that meet aesthetic standards of size and shape and are free of physical blemishes. Up to 40% of a crop of vegetables can be disregarded because it doesn’t meet the aesthetic requirements of supermarkets. A survey by Dash Water found that UK consumers between the ages of 18 and 24 are 23% less likely to eat wonky fruit and vegetables than older generations. When exporters’ products are delivered in optimal condition, they can charge a premium.The second reason is that exporters don’t want their reputations tarnished. They have contractual obligations to meet with their customers, the retailers, too. Reputation is crucial, especially when a global Salesforce study found that 62% of customers would share their bad experiences with others. Failing to deliver has serious repercussions. As a result, it’s understandable that product damage is a big concern for fruit and vegetable exporters. But it isn’t something they have to worry about with Maersk. 

Female buying apples

How Maersk maintains product quality from farm to fork

At Maersk, we understand the nuances of transporting fresh fruit and vegetables.

That’s why we’ve designed truly integrated cold chain solutions – combined with our strong cold chain expertise – that help maintain the quality of produce at every step of the journey.

These include:

  1. Network of cold storage assets: With so many handovers between harvest and sale, it’s vital to have a large footprint of cold stores to keep produce in optimal condition across the journey. With an integrated network covering both origin and destination, we create value for our customers and enable them to achieve a truly unbroken cold chain.
  2. Remote container management tools: Captain PeterTM, our reefer visibility assistant, provides real-time data on the condition, location and status of cargo. This puts you in total control of your fresh fruit and vegetables, plus the data can be used to support any fruit damage claims should anything go wrong.
  3. Collaboration: We look to develop long-term partnerships with our customers, taking the time to understand your unique challenges and build a tailored solution for your different fruit and vegetables. Because when you win, we win. It’s that simple.
  4. Innovation: At Fruit Attraction, we showcased the freshest addition to our reefer fleet, StarRipe CR (Controlled Ripening). It’s an innovative solution that combines the benefits of StarCare CA (Controlled Atmosphere) with ripening functionality to revolutionise cold chains. With StarRipe, you can effortlessly attain your preferred banana colour and ripeness stage en route, ensuring longer shelf life for flexibility and cost efficiency.
Female packing strawberries

Fruit Attraction – the key takeaway

We had a thoroughly enjoyable and productive time at Fruit Attraction 2023, packed with exciting conversations with key people in the industry. It was great to hear so many different perspectives about where the fresh produce industry is now and where it’s heading.

And for us, if there’s one key takeaway among all those learnings, it’s the invaluable role of the cold store that, with an integrated logistics strategy, maintains the quality of fresh fruit and vegetables. 

For example, our new cold store in the Netherlands, Maasvlakte, is strategically located to provide a gateway into Europe, helping customers reach new markets and scale their business.

To leverage our expertise in refrigerated cargo solutions, click learn more. To talk to one of our cold chain experts, contact us.









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