How's business? Berry, berry good for KL food importer
AFTER almost a quarter of a century in business, food importer Euro-Atlantic has quietly proven to its naysayers that sticking to your guns is the road to a bountiful harvest.
The Ampang-based company, which has a fleet of 40 refrigerated trucks, specialises in importing and distributing fresh produce and, more recently, seafood.
"When we started, we noticed that apart from the usual tropical fruits and vegetables, the market lacked variety," said managing director Ebby Loo who used to be a banker.
"One of our partners was running a produce-importing business in Singapore so we took a leaf from his book."
Among the produce the company imports are Korean strawberries, raspberries, avocados, red currants, rock chives, artichokes, mushrooms, salmon, Alaskan king crab and caviar.
According to Ms Loo, it was the norm back then that fruits and vegetables were delivered using canvas-covered trucks.
"We wanted top-notch quality from the get-go, and the key to that was ensuring the produce stayed cool all the time," she explained.
One of the first investments the company made was in refrigerated trucks - to the derision of some in the industry, recalled Ms Loo.
She said: "They thought we were just out to create a fancy image for ourselves."
In the company's early days when they had 10 employees, she often pounded the streets to look for customers.
"After five years, our volume grew big enough that we could do our own importing.
"We have continued to grow since then," she added, noting that the company now has over 200 employees.
Euro-Atlantic brings in food from 23 countries. Its top import is seafood from Norway at 23 per cent of the total, followed by fruits and veggies.
One of its most successful imports is Korean strawberries.
In the last five-month season alone, it brought in some 250 tonnes just to keep up with the demand.
Ms Loo thinks education in product handling is important to maintain food quality.
"Some items should not be placed together as it will have effects like quicker ripening. The temperature should also remain the same all the time," she said.
ASIA NEWS NETWORK