In Sint-Katelijne-Waver in Belgium, the BelOrta auction room sells 490 000 tons of fruit and vegetables every year. It's one of Europe's major fruit and veg auction houses and BelOrta is also one of the largest fruit and vegetable cooperatives. Over 1000 farmers work with the association.
Its turnover last year was 480 000 000 euros. This financial success is linked to quality produce from sustainable agriculture and trust between growers, buyers and clients.
How the auction works
The sales take place using six auction 'clocks', which display the name of the product, its quality and the price for potential buyers. The first buyer to signal his or her intention to purchase the produce closes the transaction. The BelOrta clock is sometimes referred to as the barometer of the international trade of fresh fruit and vegetables.
This system has a positive impact on reducing food waste. Jo Lambrecht, the Sales and Marketing Manager at BelOrta tells us that they're able to sell everything on the day. That means that the next day they start with entirely fresh produce which is supplied by growers in the afternoon.
In the rare cases of leftover batches of vegetables, BelOrta doesn't sell them the next day. They are donated to charities and food banks.
Jo Lambrecht, the Sales and Marketing Manager at BelOrta, spoke exclusively to Euronews. To watch the full interview and to see how the auction system works, click on the media player above.