News roundup

Belgian fruit, vegetable and potato sector organises tomato conference
From 13 to 15 April 2016 inclusive, the Radisson Blu hotel in Antwerp is staging an international tomato conference on the topic of 'Tomatoes, trends towards 2020'. The conference aims to focus on tomatoes and current developments within the product group, and at the same time offer opportunities for networking.
The event starts on Wednesday 13 April 2016. The daily programme offers participants the choice between a scientific side and a commercial side. Both production and consumption of tomatoes for the global fresh market are on offer; as well as topics such as sustainability, innovation and trends. On Thursday 15 April, during the plenary slot, a trend watcher has the 'last' word. On Friday 16 April, there is a programme of visits to auctions, experimental centres and practical businesses.
The event is organised by: LAVA, VCBT, BelOrta, Hoogstraten Auction, REO Auction, Experimental Centre for Vegetable Cultivation in Sint-Katelijne-Waver and Hoogstraten Experimental Centre.

New EU funding for VLAM export campaigns
The Flemish Agricultural and Fisheries Marketing Board (VLAM) can once again depend on European support as from 2016 for the development of a follow-up to its export programme for fresh fruit and vegetables. Under the cofinancing principle, Europe is to fund half, so that VLAM can claim a total of 2.45 million euro worth of subsidies. In this subsidy round, Europe was focusing on products affected by recent market problems. In addition to earlier destinations such as North America, Japan, Russia and the Middle East, the new VLAM programme over the next three years will also target Kazakhstan and India.

Agro-Expo Vlaanderen
From 23 to 25 January 2016, the Hallen van Roeselare will be playing host to the 17th Agro-Expo Vlaanderen, the biggest horticultural show in Flanders. The forthcoming event will see REO Auction concentrating on strawberries and carrots. Strawberries are the fourth most important product in terms of sales at REO; in the space of ten years, the total supply figure at the auction has more than doubled. A strawberry competition will reward the most innovative growers. Carrots - the second most popular vegetable among Belgian buyers - will also occupy one of the well-earned 'hot spots'.

Successful Fructura fruit show
After being held four times, Fructura has expanded into a top trade show for hard and soft fruit, an initiative organised by and for the Belgian fruit sector. For the 2015 event, the organisers attracted as many as 124 stand-holders from home and abroad, who took over the Ethias Arena in Hasselt from 27 to 29 November. Fructura's jubilee edition ensured a spacious framework, with specialist seminars and the very latest developments in the sector. Some 3,500 visitors flocked to this interesting forum for networking. BelOrta was in attendance with a show stand.

Trends for 2016: more vegetables and more eating occasions in the day
The British market researchers Technomic present a number of trends for the catering and kitchen sector in 2016. Vegetables take pride of place. A plate full of local or regional vegetables is being increasingly seen as a full meal, such as main dishes using superfoods like kale. The watchword here is: healthy and delicious. In addition, the researchers anticipate that the number of eating occasions in the day will increase. Consumers are looking for food service concepts which fit in seamlessly with their busy lives. Ready-to-eat, healthy snacks are becoming more and more popular.

Source: FoodService Instituut

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