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Following several consecutive years of growth, SVZ, the leading provider of processed fruit and vegetable ingredients, is undertaking a three year investment programme at its facility in Almonte, Spain. Beginning with the commission of a new puree concentrate line and improvements to SVZ Almonte’s filling area, the company has now completed the installation of additional freezing capacity in time for the summer 2018 strawberry season.

Strawberries constitute a large percentage of SVZ’s red fruit portfolio and are sourced from a network of carefully-chosen growers in the Huelva region. The premium fruits are processed quickly at source into purees and puree concentrates, which are then supplied to customers all over Europe. With burgeoning demand from the food and drink industry, especially beverage makers and dairy processors, SVZ embarked on a three year plan to increase its Almonte capacity from 12,500 to 20,000 metric tonnes annually. The development will also support the company as it expands Almonte’s product range to include raspberries and blackberries as well as vegetables like bell peppers, cucumbers and zucchinis.

The investment is fundamental to the company’s ambitious growth plans for the coming years, according to Anouk ter Laak, SVZ’s CEO. “Demand for natural and sustainable fruit and vegetable ingredients is growing exponentially throughout Europe and we constantly invest in our capacity, expertise and growers to ensure we remain at the forefront of the industry,” she says. “We have been processing in Almonte for over thirty years, meaning we have an enviable supply chain and superb knowledge of the region, and its unique characteristics, which we can leverage to serve our customers even better in the future. Our facilities are obviously vital in maximising the freshness, nutritional quality and taste of our ingredients as well as our ability to deliver quickly to customers throughout Europe and beyond.”

SVZ’s commercial director, Johan Cerstiaens, adds: “The Almonte investment plan is improving many aspects of our operations and already providing benefits for our customers and our employees. As we move into the last stage of the programme, investment will be built around the specific needs of those customers, so our business is even better aligned to theirs.”