We have faced multiple challenges in recent years. We have overcome them thanks to good supplier relationships, rapid innovation and excellent cooperation in the supply chain. Our ability to quickly mobilise our resources and find new solutions helped us once again in 2022.
And that was a good but challenging year. We supplied fruit and vegetables from a number of exciting sources to our customers. At the same time, it was clear that the pandemic would impact the first month or two of the year, with several restrictions remaining in place until February. The terrible news that Russia had invaded Ukraine came just a few weeks later.
Whereas the pandemic led to many people treating themselves to little luxuries, price consciousness was the order of the day in 2022. Rising interest rates, persistently high inflation and price increases had Norwegians tightening their belts. This resulted in products in the value-for-money group attracting more attention, so we increased our focus on them. Tomatoes in 500 g tubs sold extremely well, as did apples and carrots in the budget category, loose produce and round tomatoes.
The situation affected most product categories and necessitated a great deal of innovation. We found new solutions for both the short and long term. In order to satisfy the market while deviating as little as possible from our original plans, we changed a number of specifications and countries of origin. We also increased our flexibility with regard to sizes and units, with long sweet peppers being a good example. We changed the packaging and increased the weight to provide scope for new ways of packing them. This flexibility benefited consumers and producers alike.
During spring and summer, it became apparent that the year would also be affected by extreme weather conditions across Europe. This took the form of sandstorms and heavy rain in March and April, followed by a heatwave in the summer. This inevitably impacted a number of products. We discovered that the intense heat led to lower melon production, as well as more pips in some grape varieties. Some trees ‘protected themselves’ by producing less fruit. In order to safeguard deliveries, we came up with alternatives in the form of new suppliers and countries of origin. In recent years, we have made a concerted effort to diversify the supply chain, as a result of which we have identified several new partners for the future.
BAMA has unwavering requirements with respect to quality and ethics, and we demand the same from old and new suppliers alike. We are therefore working continuously to ensure that they understand our values and what we require in terms of social and environmental standards, quality, food safety and traceability, for example. With 260 producers on five continents, ethical trading is a cornerstone of BAMA’s business model and presence in the international market. This involves a strong commitment to promoting sustainability and good working conditions in the countries we trade with, and ensuring transparency along our entire value chain. Any non-conformances with our requirements are resolved using a dialogue- and process-oriented approach. A continuous focus on this area is vital if we are to continue being a leading company in fruit, vegetables and fresh produce.
We employ a lot of experienced and dedicated people who have been with the company for a long time. Together with unique cooperation in the supply chain and long-standing supplier relationships, this equips us to meet our commitments even in demanding circumstances.
More meetings were held in person again in 2022. Maintaining good, close contact with our suppliers is important to us, and in-person meetings are vital. Digital platforms make an important contribution too, and the pandemic gave us valuable experience in how to use them intelligently and effectively. All this relationship-building work results in mutual respect, loyalty and high priority in challenging times.