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The Dutch onion chain from A to Z Article Rating

The Dutch onion chain from A to Z

In today's 1,5 meter society, we pay more attention than ever to our health. Fruits and vegetables are essential for this. The onion, in particular, is an excellent addition to our daily menu. Not only because of the refined taste and because the onion can be used in almost any dish, but also because the onion has an antibacterial and anti-inflammatory effect. In addition, onions regulate cholesterol, are good for blood pressure and protect the heart and blood vessels.

The onion and its origin

Onions come in many varieties. The most common types are the yellow onion (regular onion), red onion, spring onion, white onion, shallot, silver onion and sweet onion.
The onion is a vegetable, a bulbous plant and a plant from the garlic family. Onions originate in India, China and Persia. Wall drawings have been found from 6000 BC that show the onion on many occasions. The onion came to Greece from India and became a popular vegetable in Europe.

Onions in the Netherlands

The Netherlands is high in the rankings when it comes to onion exports and is even the largest producer in Europe. Most onion cultivation in the Netherlands takes place in the southwestern delta areas of Zeeland, South Holland and the Ijsselmeer polders. The stone-free, calcareous sea clay soil in these areas is an ideal base for the onion. Besides, the Netherlands is a knowledge centre in the field of horticulture and arable farming, and we have leading knowledge institutes, which guarantees quality.
The growing season determines the quality and shelf life; it is, therefore, important that the batch is always clearly visible to the grower. As a packer, quality, size and interior/exterior are of great importance. It also determines the country of the final destination of the onion. Think of the transit period.

Transport preparation

The harvest period runs from July to October, and the weather always plays a significant role in this. For example, growers cannot harvest the product when it rains. During this period, the onions are removed from the field and stored in storage cells. There they are dried at the desired temperature and humidity. The onion can be stored for up to 8 months under the right conditions.


October to February is the period when most exports take place. With 1.3 million tons of cultivation, the Dutch onion is the largest product of the Dutch vegetable sector. The Netherlands can have 35,000 tons of onions ready for export all year round within one week. Exports from the Netherlands can easily be realized with no fewer than 3 ports, and the onions can be at the nearest port within an hour if necessary. 95% of the Dutch harvest is exported to more than 130 countries. Most of the products go to a destination outside Europe. Senegal and Ivory Coast, in particular, are major buyers of the onion.


During the preparation, in the drying process, care is taken to ensure that the onion reaches the optimum temperature and humidity level. This is done with great attention to maintain freshness and protect the onion against diseases and fungi.
Onions, therefore, are almost always transported conditioned; only the onions are shipped locally with a truck fitted with curtain sides. When these loads are left for a weekend, the risk of moisture is most considerable. Because cardboard absorbs moisture, double-layer cardboard is placed over the onions over the entire length and width of the truck. These must absorb the excess moisture. But if the cardboard gets too moist, it will fall apart over the onions.
If substantial temperature differences occur during transport, the onion releases moisture which is not removed, if insufficient humidity is removed, this causes mould to form on the onion.

How Praxas can help to prevent risks

After the entire process to create a perfect onion, it is essential that the onions also arrive at the final destination in excellent condition. Praxas helps onion companies to counter specific risks during storage and transport to avoid waste of onions. On the one hand, by identifying the risks together with the customer, on the other hand by offering solutions that limit these risks. In the onion sector, for example, desiccants are often used in the container, so that onions do not get too moist and the chance of mould is significantly reduced. Different types of desiccants are available, which take up little space and can be easily applied in the container.

More information

Would you like more information on how to reduce waste during storage and transport? Please feel free to contact us on telephone number: +31 (0)76 50 40 268 or send us an email: We are happy to assist you.

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