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Mutual trust

How did the high and consistent quality of Lento Melo actually occur?
At the end of 1993 my business partner and I purchased a container chilled beef from the former co-operative of cattle-breeders ‘PUL’. After 6 weeks the container with 11,000 kg of meat was delivered. There were excellent cuts, but also meat which obviously was of a lower quality. I sent my complaint by fax: 'Why had they also sent me lower quality meat?' I did not receive a convincing answer. Then I jumped in an aircraft, flew via Sao Paulo to Porto Alegre and thereafter I drove 5 hours to Melo, Uruguay. I had to cross the frontier at Açegua where an ‘Indiana Jones like’ person surveyed the border crossing. Subsequently I was received with due respect by the president of the co-operative. They showed me splendid oxen but also older animals. I told them I only desired meat from the splendid oxen. The reply was ‘That is what all our customers want’. I told them I was willing to pay a premium for the high quality young oxen. Reply: ‘That is what all our customers promise’. My proposal to three or four large farmers was: ‘Put the premium of $ 45 per animal separately on the invoice’.
With scepticism ‘van Messel is probably just as reliable as all the other importers’ my offer was accepted. Four weeks later the invoice arrived, including the premium of almost $5000, which we duefully paid. A few weeks later the container arrived with only top quality beef derived from young oxen. To this day this is the secret of Lento Melo. “Quality based upon mutual trust.”

by Jack van Messel on 20-12-2012

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Lento Melo
Prins Hendrikkade 146
3071 KN Rotterdam
The Netherlands
+31 85 7600778