The impact of the Corona crisis is extremely varied for the companies in the fresh produce sector, commercial manager Henri Schockman of Levarht from Aalsmeer notes. "Companies that focus on supplying to retail in Northwestern Europe have generally performed well in recent months. The companies that specialise in food service are once again facing unprecedented difficulties. We anticipate both and I estimate that at the bottom line will therefore be a normal year. "
"Levarht has traditionally been broadly oriented in both product and sales. Normally we can predict with reasonable certainty what will happen in the coming weeks. That is now more difficult due to the Corona measures. July and August are normally months in which we have good sales in North America, Canada and Japan. These countries are now demanding, but are still more difficult to supply due to insufficient airfreight capacity. That puts the market in a completely different perspective," says Henri. In this interview, he provides an update on the current fruit vegetable season.
"The loose tomatoes have been in a bad place from the very beginning. Pricing was bad at the start of the season because of competition from Southern Europe and Morocco, and then the Corona pandemic came over it. Catering is the outlet for loose tomatoes, just think of the sandwiches. Now the catering industry is slowly opening up, but that is not enough to restore the balance on the market. Last week, the market seemed to revive slightly, but partly due to the increasing productions in Eastern Europe and Scandinavia, prices have also fallen immediately. "
"The vine tomato market is not good at the moment. There is a large supply on the market, which makes it difficult to achieve a decent price level despite all efforts," continues Henri. "The Dutch cucumber season already started very badly. Prices have risen a bit since June 15. A number of growers are in the crop rotation and production is now also somewhat lower. The sunny weather now also boosts consumption and the large number of promotional offers in the supermarkets certainly contribute to that. The weather forecast for next week will be a bit less good, but hopefully we can keep the prices up to par. "
The peppers got off to a good start this year. "Now the productions are increasing and it is important that we do not relax. This is normally the period when the United States and Canada participate fully and we are now missing those markets. That overseas export would have been very welcome to keep the market at a higher level. The market in Japan is not yet at its peak, so we have to wait and see how that demand develops. We also see that the orange peppers are partly distinguished by higher pricing this season, partly due to the lower area of the other colours."
"The aubergines always have competition from the Spanish supply at the start of the season and then find their way up. That has also happened this year and the good weather in combination with Ramadan certainly contributed to good pricing. The last two weeks, however, prices have fallen to an all-time low," said the commercial manager. He looks forward to summer with confidence. "I expect that because many consumers will now be on holiday in their own country, consumption will look different. Basically, this is very positive for greenhouse vegetables, because even more of them will reach the consumer via the catering industry or the supermarket. "