Some difficulties on the tomato market

According to a Dutch professional who exports a lot to France, the conditions in January were very favorable for the cluster tomato market. The market was doing better than it is now. The difficult weather conditions in Spain have indeed directly impacted the quality (color and hold) as well as the production volumes. The red coloration is a very important criteria on the French market. Therefore, prices and demand were higher in Belgium and in the Netherlands. During the month of January, prices went up to 1.80€/kg [0.93 USD/lb] for the Spanish origin, 2.00€/kg [1.03 USD/lb] for the Belgian/Dutch origins and more than 3.00€/kg [1.55 USD/lb] for the French origin.

Since the beginning of February, however, the situation has turned around. The Spanish and Moroccan productions are more qualitative, the products are more red, which means that the volumes available on the market are more important, while consumption in February is relatively low. As a consequence, the market is not balanced with a surplus of production and prices that have fallen dramatically, way below the average prices of the past 5 years. For Spain at the moment, prices are around 0.80-0.90€/kg [0.41-0.46 USD/lb]. For the Netherlands, the average is 1.30€/kg [0.67 USD/lb], and for France between 2.20 and 2.30€/kg [1.14 and 1.19 USD/lb]. Consumption has been very low for at least three weeks. People are not buying tomatoes. They have turned to other products instead because prices were too high in January. According to the professional, the mild temperatures of the past 2 weeks did not lead to an increase in consumption. This nice weather however coincided with school holidays in France, when markets are habitually a little more calm.

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