Staay Food Group is an independent family company active in the cultivation, sales and marketing of fresh fruit and vegetables with a global network; The World is our Garden. We were founded in The Netherlands in 1946. We provide customised solutions for customers in the retail, wholesale, foodservice and processing industries.
Our mission: Optimum fresh at minimum costs
We deliver the best and freshest products available at any time with the least amount of added time and cost.
This is how we offer our growers guaranteed sales and our customers a continuous supply.
Willem van der Staaij starts operating out of his home in Ridderkerk as a wholesaler of fresh fruit and vegetables at the Rotterdam wholesale market on Noordplein.
Like father, like son(s)
In the 1960s, Willem his sons Ad and Dammis join the business. The company begins growing along with the Rotterdam wholesale market, becoming increasingly larger and more professional. Dammis later replaces the ‘IJ’ in the name with ‘Y’ for commercial reasons.
The next step
Van der Staay moves into the then brand-new wholesale market in Rotterdam (Spaanse Polder area). It was here that the family moved into their first real business premises, accompanied by their first employees.
The first supermarket becomes a customer and with it, a new customer base emerged. The first in-house vegetable shop opens in 1982. This would later grow into a chain of 75 shops. At this time, the first acquisition also takes place. In France, the vegetable, fruit and potato wholesaler Frutigold S.A.R.L. is acquired. The first international ambitions are taking shape.
Start of own cultivation.
Staay takes an important strategic step, deciding to grow its own produce. The cultivation of leeks and flat beans starts in Oud Gastel in Brabant province.
Expansion of own cultivation to include Spain.
Ad van der Staay immigrates to Spain to start another growing facility there. The aim is to provide Dutch customers with high quality outdoor vegetables and fruit even in winter. Near Tarragona, the cultivation of melons, parsley, beans, carrots and endive, among other crops, starts under the name of Savasun S.A. The house brand Masia del Pino is also created at this time, which loosely translates into an ‘old house in the middle of an estate surrounded by pine trees’.
Expansion in the convenience market
The processed vegetable market segment is growing rapidly. Staay decides to acquire the vegetable cutting company Dekker Frissland in Uden. Soon after, competitor Hoeve Dronten is also acquired. In this same period, the Heerlen-based fruit, vegetable and potato wholesaler Eussi/Meyers joins what had become Staay Food Group.
Growth in Limburg
Staay Venlo is created with the acquisition of Habets-Van Wylick in Venlo and its integration with Eussi/Meyers. In addition, innovative salad grower Deliscious domiciled in Beesel is contracted. Together with Staay, the successful tri-coloured lettuce ‘Salatrio’ (a mixed head of lettuce with a root ball) is launched in 2006. This lettuce is first cultivated under LED lights in an enclosed vertical farm before continuing to grow in a greenhouse in water channels. Meanwhile, Staay Venlo continues to grow by acquiring the Eastern European exporter Van Doorn from the village of Enspijk.
Specialisation in melons, pineapple and pip fruit.
The company further expands its expertise in melons and pineapple with the acquisition of Hispa Fruit. Shortly thereafter, SFG Dulce is founded in Costa Rica. This would allow for improved monitoring and control of the own cultivation of melons and pineapples and their export. Around this same time, Hispa Eastern Europe and Alexport, both with a focus on Eastern Europe, are also acquired. In the Netherlands, pip fruit specialist Frupaks is acquired. This step ensures that pip fruit would get more attention within Staay.
Innovation and growth
Staay wins the Fruit Logistica Innovation Award together with the grower Deliscious for its city farming concept that produces Salatrio root ball lettuce. Staay Venlo continues to grow with the acquisition of wholesalers Langfruit and Van Rijn. New acquisitions in Spain and Poland follow shortly thereafter; Savasun Fresh Group Iberica (Barcelona) and Staay Warszawa are created as a result.
Further growth in pip fruit
Pear grower and hard fruit specialist J.C. Vernooij is acquired and merged with Frupaks to form Frupaks-Vernooij B.V. Shortly afterwards, C.G. Timmermans hard fruit is also added to this BV. Three years later, the rights were acquired for the Red Conference pear. This would give fresh momentum to both the pip fruit product group and its in-house cultivation.
Back to basics
A completely new building is constructed for Staay Venlo, including a Cash & Carry department. In addition, the successful convenience industry location in Dronten (Fresh-Care Convenience) is sold. Staay would remain affiliated as a supplier of the vegetables to be processed. This signals a shift back to basics for Staay and a renewed focus on the cultivation and import/export of fresh fruit and vegetables. In 2021, Staay Food Group’s Dutch trading subsidiaries are merged into one private limited liability company with new drive.
Expansion in pip fruit
Direct Fruit Services BV is acquired from Total Produce to strengthen its position in pip fruit and expand its customer base in European retail.MORE ON PIP FRUIT