2020, a year we will all remember. The global pandemic had a huge impact on us all. Some companies struggled, others prevailed, and everyone had to adapt. The virus had no prejudice, it created an equal playing ground for all the companies. Consumer behaviour was changing, social distancing was the new standard and air traffic came to a complete stop or was very limited. You either had to adapt to the new normal or be swept away by the effects of the pandemic. So, we did, we adapted!
The first wave hit The Netherlands around March 2020. At Yex we immediately made the decision to work from home in order to guarantee the safety of our employees and their families. This was not an easy task, as it was quite new to us. To my surprise, the team adapted swiftly, and work continued. Even more, it showed many positive changes like: people being more relaxed, meetings being more time-efficient and overall a more flexible workday. Working from home is not something to be feared, but to be embraced. It showed me, as someone who has been in the fruit and vegetable business for many years, that some changes are good and that the Yex Family is resilient.
Financially, 2020 had been a stable year. The pandemic influenced our sales significantly, our turnover dropped compared to 2019. This was mainly influenced by high air freight prices, food services closing, and changing consumer behaviour. Again, we had to adapt to these changes. We launched a fully functioning online shop within a month’s time. This store supplies exotic gift boxes to consumers filled with surprising and delicious fruits and vegetables. This innovation showed us that we can achieve a lot when we put our minds to it. Secondly, to counteract the increasing airfreight prices and food services closing, we focused even more on sea freight and our retail customers. All in all, we are blessed to be working in the food industry, and our thoughts go out to companies are struggling during these difficult times, stay strong!
Looking to the future, we see that long-term relationships, innovation & digitalisation and sustainability are focus points for us. Particularly in these turbulent times. But we should cherish the things we have in the present. We cherish the great relationships we have with our growers and customers and how we helped each other overcome these difficult times. What I am most proud of and cherish, is our team, who stayed strong and passionately continued working. From the bottom of my heart, I want to thank the entire Yex Family for all your hard work. And last but not least, thank you to all the growers and customers that worked with us in 2020!
Martijn de Graaf