New Dutch company to get first Greek asparagus
“I’m from Greece’s horticultural region”
Thanos Motsiopoulos has been back and forth between the Netherlands and Greece his whole life. Although born and raised in the Netherlands, he lived in Greece from 2008 to 2019. There, Thanos worked in retail export to Eastern and Central European, among other things. After yet another Greek crisis, he decided to return to the Netherlands, where he ended up in the fruit and vegetable sector. After working at Levarht and Yex for several years, Thanos went independent last year, and GrecFresh was born.
“In Greece, I lived in Veria, a small city of 60,000 to 70,000 people. It was surrounded by peach, nectarine, and cherry orchards. I’ve always wanted to do more with Greek trade. The Central Macedonian region, where I come from, is Greece’s horticultural region. Plus, the town sits at the intersection of the country’s two major highways. When, from my balcony, I’d see 15 truckloads of citrus leaving, I knew one of the supermarkets was having a promotion,” Thanos begins.
His entry into the Dutch fruit and vegetable sector proved a good match. “I love the dynamics and the ever-changing challenges. I like the sector so much; I regret not entering it sooner. I enjoy the daily interactions with European customers, from large international retailers to small family businesses, and the contact with growers and importers.”
In the Netherlands, Thanos realized much more is possible with Greek products in stores. “German and Eastern European stores are full of Greek products, but in the Netherlands, you rarely see it. At my previous employers, there was little room to introduce Greek products to the European market. That’s why I stepped out of my comfort zone and took on the challenge of putting beautiful Greek products on the European map,” explains Thanos.
“Spanish goods dominate the Netherlands. I’m under no illusion that Greece will play the same role, but I believe Greek products can be a nice addition. Greek’s location and lots of sunshine mean its fruit and vegetable products’ quality can genuinely be called unique.”
Along with stone fruit, GrecFresh also sells things like Greek kiwis and citrus. Next week, the first Greek white asparagus will also arrive. “The asparagus season forecast looks excellent. The weather’s good in Greece,” says Thanos, “and the growers association I work with expects a doubled harvest from last year. Also, the season’s begun much earlier, so we can get off to a good start.”
“It’s hard for me to say where GrecFresh will be in five years, but I’m glad I followed my heart. Few importers focus on Greek produce. I have an extensive network of growers and cooperatives in Greece and know my way around European retail. I hope that will make me stand out,” concludes the Greek Dutchman enthusiastically.
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