To propose a conference topic or to take part in Fruitnet Forum 2018 as a speaker or expert panelist please contact:

Mike Knowles –

Fruitnet forum south-east europe PROGRAMME 2017 was:

Tuesday 21 November 2017


09:15 – 09:30 Opening remarks 

Mike Knowles, Fruitnet Media International (UK)

Mihai Ciobanu, Fresh4cast (UK)

09:30 – 11:00 THE BIG PICTURE

Hear about the most important trends in the international fresh produce business and how the market is changing worldwide.

Andriy Yarmak, FAO (Italy)
Structuring your export business to attract investment
How can fresh produce companies in south-east Europe attract institutional investors in what continues to be a rapidly changing international business?  And how should those companies diversify their exports, if at all? Drawing on his work as an economist at the Food & Agriculture Organization’s Investment Center Division, Andriy will cite a number of different examples to demonstrate how market intelligence plays a central role in adding value through exports, and how quality control and efficiency along the value chain are critical for those competing in the international market.

Piet Schotel, Fruit Consultancy Europe (Netherlands)
Trends and developments in the European fresh produce market
One of the world’s leading experts in fresh fruit and vegetables, Piet will comment on various important aspects of the business, including the role of supermarket buyers and the changing role of importers, as well as growing demand for certification in areas as diverse as food safety, sustainability and social responsibility. Plus, he will assess the potential impact of key trends such as organics, health and convenience.

11:00 – 11:45 NETWORKING BREAK


Find out how fresh produce companies in south-east Europe are tapping into new and emerging commercial opportunities.

Julka Toskic, AgroBrand (Serbia)
Marketing fruit in an international marketplace
What opportunities and challenges lie ahead for fresh produce exporters in south-east Europe? Drawing on her experience of working in the Serbian apple business, Julka will chart the progress made by exporters during the past few years as they looked to capitalise on Russia’s EU ban and, more generally, adopt the right commercial strategies to secure their place in the international marketplace. Julka will also consider what chances there will be to explore new markets in future.

Fred Douven, ABB Growers (Netherlands)
Building new sources of supply
With an extensive knowledge of the blueberry market and a vast network worldwide, Fred has embarked on a new venture to develop production of the fruit in Serbia. Exclusive to Fruitnet Forum South-East Europe, Fred will outline the new project’s aims and outline the opportunities and challenges he expects to face in developing sales in the region itself as well as further afield.

Eldina Muftić, Zeraa (Bosnia & Herzegovina)
Investing wisely to maximise your market potential
Finding a dependable source of investment can be a major stumbling block for any new horticultural venture, as can deciding how best to spend any investment funding once it has been secured. Eldina will report on her recent experience of helping fruit and vegetable companies in Bosnia & Herzegovina to invest in ways that offer the best possible chance of success in the international marketplace.

Caslav Maksimovic, Maksimovic Brothers (Serbia)

13:00 – 14:15 NETWORKING LUNCH


Discover how new technologies, for example in the fields of monitoring and traceability, are improving fresh fruit and vegetable supply chains.

Karin Gorree, Innovative Fresh (Netherlands)
Be the best in fresh
The first of three technological innovations in our Fruitnet Forum produce export toolkit relates to quality monitoring. Dutch company Innovative Fresh has pioneered a new model for monitoring fresh produce quality at retail through the eyes of the consumer. Karin will explain how live data drawn from more than 80 stores throughout Europe each week can offer suppliers and customers a unique perspective on the entire produce industry.

David Psomiadis, Imprint Analytics (Austria)
Advanced analytical tools to verify geographic origin
Our second Fruitnet Forum produce export tool is food fingerprinting. Imprint Analytics offers monitoring of a different kind, analysing stable isotopes in fresh produce to fight food fraud by determining a product’s authenticity and origin. As David’s presentation will show, fruit or vegetables from specific sources have their own unique multi-isotope fingerprint. Identifying and monitoring that fingerprint can help companies safeguard the integrity of their supply chain.

Reshat Ajvazaj, USAID/AGRO (Kosovo)
Food safety certification trends
The third and final instrument in our Fruitnet Forum produce export toolkit is food safety certification. Having helped hundreds of produce companies to achieve the certification standards required in international markets, Reshat will talk about the importance of compliance and constant improvement when it comes to production and post-harvest operations.

15:00 – 15:45 NETWORKING BREAK


Learn about how retailers and marketers are adapting their approach in order to meet consumer demand and boost sales of fresh produce.

Mihai Ciobanu, Fresh4cast (UK)
Between the lines: market opportunities hidden in data

Alexandros Arampatzis, Win Consulting (Greece)
Promoting premium: raising the profile of Greek kiwifruit
Alexandros knows a thing or two about building reputations in the produce export arena. As he will explain, Win Consulting has been at the heart of a project to improve awareness and acceptance of Greek kiwifruit in export markets. His talk will explain how to: achieve economies of scale and boost capacity; formulate the right marketing campaign; secure funding; and get the required results. Plus, he will offer new ideas about how south-east Europe’s own produce business might raise its own profile in future.

Ferrán Cabrera, Anecoop Praha (Czech Republic)
Strategies for success: selling Spain to south-east Europe
One of Europe’s largest fresh produce companies, Spanish group Anecoop is a leading supplier of fruit and vegetables to markets around the world. As managing director of subsidiary Anecoop Praha, Ferrán has spent more than two decades working to build sales in eastern Europe. He will offer expert analysis of market opportunities that exist for suppliers into south-east Europe, picking out some of the key trends that will shape the market in the coming years.

Maja Jojovic, Delhaize (Serbia)
Engaging with consumers to boost fruit and veg sales
As the market for fresh fruit and vegetables evolves in south-east Europe, retailers are adopting more sophisticated methods of communication in order to raise their profile and connect with consumers. Delhaize Serbia’s category manager for fruit and vegetables will assess the latest market trends and explain how such methods are being applied to products like berries, a category which offers plenty of potential for growth.

Gordan Tolevski, Eurogroup Italia (Italy)

Wednesday 22 November 2017

08:00 – 16:00 Delegate tour

Guided tours to regional points of interest. You will be asked to sign up for the tour upon completing your registration for the conference. Spaces are limited and allocated on a first-come, first-served basis.

Fruitnet Forum South-East Europe

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Mike Knowles
Eurofruit (UK)

Mike Knowles is editorial director of Eurofruit, the leading magazine for fresh produce buyers in Europe, and managing editor of trade publisher and event organiser Fruitnet Media International. Having started his career with The Times and Haymarket Media Group, Mike joined Eurofruit 15 years ago and has built up an in-depth knowledge of the international fresh produce sector, visiting markets across Europe as well as producers and suppliers worldwide, and chairing a number of industry events.

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Maja Jojović
Delhaize (SerbIA)

Maja Jojovic has worked at Delhaize Serbia for four years, and has spent the last three as the retailer's category manager for fresh fruit and vegetables, handling a range of seasonal fresh produce. Jojovic is excited by the future challenges that the country's ongoing retail revolution will bring.

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AGROBRAND (serbia)

Julka Toskic is the founder of AgroBrand, a new agency that helps develop marketing projects and offer strategic consultancy to brands in the business. Toskic plans to draw on her more than 15 years’ industry experience, including seven years as marketing director at Serbia’s largest horticultural exporter Delta Agrar.

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Czech Republic

Ferran Cabrera has been working at Spanish cooperative Anecoop for 25 years, and has enjoyed roles as CEO of Anecoop Prague and director for Anecoop South-East Europe. Cabrera is responsible for the three branches that represent the cooperative in the in Southeast Europe region – Anecoop Polska, Agrikoop (Russia) and Anecoop Prague.

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USAID/AGRO (kosovo) 

Reshat Ajvazaj has more than 16 years of experience with international agricultural projects in Kosovo, and is currently working as a postharvest/certification specialist with the Agriculture Growth and Rural Opportunities programme where he is responsible for the implementation of international food safety standards at local producers and processors.

David Psomiadis

David Psomiadis
Imprint Analytics (GREECE)

Dr David Psomiadis is head of the laboratory and business development manager at Imprint Analytics. He has performed research on palaeoenvironmental and palaeoclimate reconstruction, and his expertise in using stable isotopes to interpret past changes has been enriched by studies on applied science of isotope geochemistry in food, environment and biogeochemistry.


Karin Gorree
Innovative Fresh (Netherlands)

Karin Gorree is director of quality and business development at Innovative Fresh. A produce quality expert, she has operated in countries across the world including the UK and Chile. Gorree has worked with suppliers and retailers, and has a deep understanding of product quality, taste and consumer perception.

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andriy yarmak
FAO (UKraine)

Andriy Yarmak is an investment centre economist at the FAO, where he leads technical assistance projects in Eastern Europe and Central Asia. He previously worked at the director of Eastern European fresh produce consultancy Fruit Inform, which he founded in 2007, providing market information and services to companies in the region.

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FRED DOUVEN                  

Fred Douven is sales director and chief executive of ABB Growers, a Dutch company that grows, packs and sells blueberries using the latest machinery. He is co-owner of blueberry grower Douven and has been sales manager, Europe, at sorting and packing line specialist BBC Technologies.

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Caslav Maksimovic is part of the Serbia-based Maksimovic Brothers blueberry company, which has since 2015 imported plant material and exported fruit. A graduate of Belgrade University and Golden Gate University in San Francisco, Maksimovic has successfully established himself in the customs brokerage and freight forwarding business, and also spent three years in the Hong Kong banking industry.

Mihai Ciobanu

Mihai Ciobanu
Fresh4cast (UK)

Mihai Ciobanu is the chief executive of artificial intelligence platform, which is dedicated to improving predictability in the fresh produce industry. The company provides automated forecasting solutions to some of the largest growers and distributors in the UK, while also aggregating trade statistics for dozens of countries.

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Fruit Consultancy Europe (netherlands)

Pieter Schotel is the owner of Netherlands-based Fruit Consultancy Europe, which is responsible for programme negotiations with supermarkets and service providers across Europe for a number of different fresh produce companies. He has an extensive background in the industry having worked for Verdi Import, Geest Sure and Chiquita Netherlands, among others.


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eldina muftic
ZERAA Agriculture Investment & Management
Bosnia & Herzegovina

Eldina Muftić has over 15 years of experience in agricultural economic development programmes for the fruit and vegetable sector, where she analyses the value chain and looks at customer food safety requirements. She works for ZERAA Agriculture Investment & Management, where she is responsible for business strategy, development and Investment programmes for member companies.

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alexandros arampatzis
win consulting (greece)

Alexandros Arampatzis is the founder and general director of Win Ltd, a leading Greek food and drinks export promotion firm. He has worked extensively in strategic business consulting and communication, assisting major UK media ventures to establish and develop their online business models, and he has a strong track record in the publishing business.