The Spanish fruit vegetable season is now well into its second half. The season has been rather slow so far, one German importer reports. "Due to low prices, growers have partly stopped cutting yellow peppers, which is why the produce has lost quality and storability."
The cold spell in Spain's Almería vegetable garden has affected cucumber plants very badly, he said. Currently, they are in the so-called transit phase, in which the plants are bent once. "That means in the next two to three weeks we have to expect smaller calibers. After that, there will be normal calibers again and it goes towards the end of the season. From today's perspective, we will have to end the cucumber season 2-3 weeks earlier, in early February."
Generally, 1-1.2 kg of cucumbers are harvested per cutting, but this year, he said, the net yield per plant has been significantly lower, sometimes 700-800 grams per cutting. "This in turn has affected the quotations. At the auction clock, cucumber prices have tripled in some cases compared to last year's level," the product specialist outlined.
Stable tomato market
The only exception to the fierce price competition in the fruit vegetable market is tomatoes. This, he says, has partly to do with the fact that tomatoes can be sourced from different places - Morocco, for example - around the cold season, which is why there are fewer price fluctuations. "In the longer term, Spain tends to grow fewer date tomatoes. Only in tomato varieties with higher brix values are there still opportunities for Spanish growers."
Higher freight costs, lack of manpower
Overall, the Christmas business in the fruit vegetable segment in German food retailing was rather weak, he said. On the other hand, relatively higher sales figures were observed in week 1. "What is vasuing us trouble are the extraordinarily high freight costs and a lack of manpower in the wake of the Omikron outbreak in Spain: We feel the latter not only in production but also at the packing stations."