Could you briefly introduce yourself and your company?
I am Valon Bahtiri, chief executive of MitroFresh B.V., a company distributing mushrooms in the Netherlands. Among the products that Mitrofresh distributes, 80 percent are mushrooms produced in Korea. As you can see, the success of my company has a lot to do with Korean mushrooms.
What made you import Korean mushrooms?
I was not familiar with Korean mushrooms at first, but the Rotterdam aT center played a big part in getting me interested in Korean mushrooms. They introduced me to the products, invited me to several meetings with mushroom suppliers, and provided me with a lot of information. I believe that Korean mushrooms are unique and of a very high quality. The biggest merit is that the Korean mushroom looks and tastes different than the traditional Dutch mushrooms. Both the taste and appearance are exotic. That is why the demand is constantly growing, in spite of the fact that the price of Korean mushrooms is 400 percent higher than regular Dutch mushrooms.
How do Dutch consumers respond to imported Korean mushrooms?
When I first started the business, most Dutch consumers didn’t know about Korean mushrooms. However, in just in few years, the demand for Korean mushrooms has grown so strikingly that I do not have to worry about finding buyers anymore but only about supplying enough volume. Consumers like the exotic look and taste of the Korean mushroom. Wholesalers also demonstrate a very positive response to the product because of the growing consumer demand and long shelf life of Korean mushrooms - some of the mushrooms can be stored for one year.
Have you experienced any problems in importing Korean mushrooms? Any suggestions on what needs to be improved?
Actually I don’t have anything I want to criticize about the imported Korean mushrooms. Korean exporters are very fast in sensing what the European market wants and adapt to the market demands very quickly. Korean exporters are well familiar with the European market and they are happy to make a change in their way of thinking if the market wants it. This attitude really makes the business smooth and successful.
Could you tell us about your future plans for importing Korean agri-products?
Mitrofresh is planning to expand its trading routes to Eastern Europe - to the countries like Romania and Slovenia - starting this year. In my opinion, this is such a very meaningful step. Considering the economic standards of Eastern Europe compared to other parts of Europe, success in Eastern Europe would imply that there are certainly other European markets too. I plan to further increase the sales volume. And I expect such success that, perhaps in two or three years, Korean exporters won’t have enough mushrooms to cope with the demand.
Inquiries MitroFresh B.V
Park Sung Eun email@example.com
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