Natures Pride

The success story of Nature's Pride

We spoke to this wonderful Dutch company about entrepreneurship, growth, and the associated risks.
Shawn Harris, CEO at Nature’s Pride, started a career in Fruit and Vegetables by chance when, with her Finance degree under her arm, she moved from America to the Netherlands for love. In 2001, she started her own fruit and vegetable company: and Nature’s Pride was born. Because of the strong vision of Shawn and her team members, the company has become one of the most reputable produce companies in the Netherlands. We spoke about the company with Financial Director, Miranda Duijnisveld, and Senior Financial Officer, Linda Robbers.
“Nature’s Pride is a supplier of more than 500 different types of fresh exotic fruit and vegetables from more than 70 countries. Whatever you can think of, we can deliver it. We have a customer base of more than 300 companies throughout the EU.  When I came to work at Nature’s Pride four and half years ago, the company still consisted of ‘only’ 200 employees and four staff members in the Finance department. We have now grown into a family of 375 permanent employees, 11 of whom work in our Finance department. Miranda joined the company in 2005. At the time, there were only 30 employees. This shows what a fast track we have been on in recent years. And things will continue to go at full speed for the time being”.

Miranda: “In 2015, we achieved a turnover of 300 million euros. We expect that we will reach half a billion euros in turnover within a few years. Growth is not so much expected from new customers but rather from our current customer base. In order to realise this growth, it will be a challenge to ensure that we can source sufficient product."

Linda: “Before the company became big, Shawn knew all the customers personally. She was thus confident that the payment of the invoices was going well. But Shawn realised that as the company grew, this risk became too great and the company had to take measures. However, it is difficult to judge the creditworthiness of a (new) customer, especially in the more exotic countries. When taking out new financing in 2006, we also took out a trade credit insurance, partly on the advice of Rabobank. This insurance has been in place with Interpolis Kredietverzekeringen since 2009 and, after the takeover in 2015, with Allianz Trade."

A trade credit insurance is an excellent way to test the creditworthiness of a (new) customer. We never do business with a customer if we do not receive a positive credit limit. Or the customer must pay in advance.

It’s nice that we have a good relationship with our account manager, Sandra ten Kate, and underwriter Bjorn Stolzenbach from Allianz Trade. We can always contact them for questions and advice, and they respond quickly. In addition to price and coverage, the feeling is also important. No deal without a good feeling. Of course, that also applies to our own partners”.

Miranda Duijnisveld: “Together with our partners, we really make a difference every day. We choose our growers with care and really work with them, share information within our network, and always aim for the best quality. I would also like to mention the involvement of our employees and our unique expertise in ripening fruit. And finally, our marketing concepts, which appeal to experience and feeling. With this, we add a bit of extra value to our product. You can think of fun recipes and handy gadgets such as the mango peeler. The private label ‘Eat me’, which can be recognised by its purple box and sticker, is also one of our great successes.

Before making a decision, we critically consider whether a new activity is appropriate given the size of our company and the capacity of our workforce. Therein lies a major challenge for the future: the right people in the right place".

Miranda Duijnisveld: “CEO Shawn Harris believes that it is the responsibility of Nature’s Pride to give something back to society. That’s why our company supports various projects around the world. I would like to highlight the Nature’s Pride Foundation. This foundation was established to finance local projects in communities where our exotic produce come from. The goal is to stimulate economic growth and social improvement of small-scale growers and field and warehouse workers as well as their families”.

A trade credit insurance helps you and your company. It provides peace and security for entrepreneurs. How? With a trade credit insurance, you know that your invoices will be paid.

Your company maintains financial health through well-organised accounts receivable management. And your cash flow is protected as well. With a customer check in advance, you know precisely which opportunities you can seize. And that works out well.