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Leander van Bellen: "To not only spot damage, but also prevent it"

HDG Survey Group acquires Otflow

Coming into effect from 1 July, the HDG Survey Group, has acquired Otflow. This further expands the group's range of services alongside HDG The Fruit Consultants, HDG Ibérica, Fruitify Experts, HDG Germany, Agri Software and the HDG Academy. With locations in the Netherlands, Germany and Spain and a global partner network, the HDG Survey Group relieves companies around the world in their quality management in AGF with an integrated service package of quality inspections, expertises, software, and training.

Otflow is a patented floor-cover that aims to ensure optimal internal airflow in reefer containers during overseas transport. The technology was devised by HDG owner and founder Otto de Groot, in collaboration with Wageningen University & Research. The technology was devised to get better air distribution in a container. After extensive testing by WUR, it was found to improve airflow by 30%. Especially at the doors of refrigerated containers, the risk of too hot fruit is a problem that leads to damage. With the Otflow floor-cover, this is prevented.

"Better air distribution is important for temperature-sensitive products like fruit. In a refrigerated container, air circulation is not always optimal. And if the cold temperature is not the same everywhere, this comes at the expense of shelf-life and ultimately product quality. With our group, we collect an incredible amount of data regarding arrival quality and damage containers throughout the cold chain. This data highlights the importance of using Otflow in containers. That is why it is so great that we now not only identify quality issues, but also have products under our own control to prevent damage claims," says general manager Leander van Bellen.

Reducing food waste
"We help companies meet their sustainability efforts by reducing food waste and CO2 emissions, but also maintaining the quality of the products transported, which immediately leads to fewer claims and financial losses," Leander says. "The mats are sustainably made from remnants and old packaging from the food industry and are also fully recyclable after use, or sustainability at its best."

Fruit exporters in South Africa and South America, India and Mexico are currently the biggest users of the Otflow floor covers. "But we are also seeing increasing interest from European importers buying them for their overseas suppliers," says Leander. Regular users include The Grape Company, Frusan and The Greenery. The Otflow's applications include sensitive products such as blueberries, cherries, mangoes, avocados and stone fruit. "But in principle, the Otflow can be used for all palletised cargo in reefer containers. This is also how we have already achieved good results in the flower and bulb industry."

"Due to the increasing demand for our product, we have increased our volumes, which has allowed us to reduce our prices. However, we are still working on making Otflow more affordable so that we can contribute even more to making the fruit sector more sustainable," Leander said. He sees many synergy benefits in the acquisition. "With our team of over 70 colleagues, we offer a comprehensive package of quality services. Where previously the focus was on quality inspections, we can now also really contribute through training (HDG Academy), software (AgriSoftware) and technology (Otflow) to further improve quality in the chain."

For more information:
Leander van Bellen
HDG Survey Group
Marconistraat 33
3029 AG Rotterdam, the Netherlands
Tel: +31 10 2441414
[email protected]

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