The Spanish soft fruit import is underway after a challenging start due to severe weather in January which slowed production.
“Spain experienced cold weather and snow, the likes of which have not been seen for 30 years,“ said Edward Velasco, from Rodanto. “Spanish fruit was delayed but we did have some imports from Morocco which filled the gap. Imports from Spain are back online now, blueberry supply is a low at the moment but will ramp up in the coming weeks.”
Rodanto has Spanish strawberries, raspberries, blueberries and blackberries.
The quality of the Spanish fruit is good according to Edward, “For strawberries we have a good varietal basket, the change in temperature from very cold to humid has caused a few small problems with a couple of varieties, but we have manged to cover this with other varieties which are showing really good flavour and shelf-life. The cold weather stalled production a bit especially for raspberries as they stop growing in low temperatures while strawberries just grow a bit more slowly. Volumes of strawberries are back to normal now and raspberry volumes are recovering well.”
“Although the wholesale trade has fallen off due to the closure of the food service sector, we have seen the retail trade pick up.”
There were problems before Christmas when the French shut the borders due to fears of COVID spreading, but Rodanto rose to the challenge and set up a testing facility on site to help get the truckers home and keep things moving. This was together with the FPC and DEFRA. “Nigel Jenney from the FPC was heading up the initiative to help the drivers and make it a bit more attractive for the drivers who didn’t want to come to the UK because of the border issues. It was a bit more challenging than we had expected, it was difficult to find people to do the testing etc. but we have it set up and continue to test drivers on site before they head back to Europe.”
The main issue since 1st of January and the new Brexit regulation is the increase in freight costs.
“There are now a lot of trucks going back empty, they would normally have been filled with seafood or meat products, but those exports have dramatically fallen. This adds costs when importing. We are fortunate in that we are an Anglo-Spanish company and have our Spanish export company, Terra Agricola as well as our own logistics company which is very experienced in import and export procedures. We have a great team in place who have been putting in many extra hours to ensure the paperwork is correct as there is no room for errors or even changes to loads. We have set up to import a full range of products including vegetables and salads so that we have full trucks coming in.”
For more information:
Tel: +44(0)20 8305 2000