In the wake of the tomatoes and cauliflower, the soft fruit supply is now also lagging far behind. "Supply is very low, and demand is very high," observes Maxim De Roeck of Fruitful- Berries from Venlo. "The Chilean blueberry season is mostly over. We will receive the last blueberries from Chile this week and next, but you have to keep an eye on the quality, and customers are emphatically asking for Morocco and Spain. However, prices are still at an exceptionally high level with a kilogram price of 7-7.50 euros for Chilean berries."
"The berry supply from Morocco and Spain is considerably lower due to the cold, 40-50% less volume is coming in than estimated beforehand, and kilogram prices of 9.00-10.00 euros are easily made for berries of these origins," Maxim continues. "However, the expectation is that in a fortnight, some more product will be released from Morocco, and in a month's time, the same will be true from Spain. After all, the fruit is there, but it just needs to color up."
"The availability of raspberries has been absolutely dramatic. There was just hardly any supply, and Moroccan raspberries were sold for a kilogram price of 16-18 euros, which I had never experienced myself," Maxim continued. "The fact that the Strait of Gibraltar closed twice, resulting in massive delays, caused a frenzy in the market. Consequently, you saw certain customers drop out or significantly reduce their sales in recent weeks due to the high prices."
"Strawberries also come from a remarkable period. There was surprisingly too much volume available from Spain in December and too little in January, which was completely opposite to what we normally see. Meanwhile, volumes from Morocco are starting to loosen up a bit more, and that is putting a bit more pressure on the price, but even Spanish strawberries are still commanding higher prices than they have been in recent years."
"The one big advantage of the cold weather, though, is that the quality of all varieties is really excellent at the moment. And we are betting very hard on that. Soft fruit has always been a more expensive segment and especially today, so we better make sure that what the consumer buys is really top quality."
"All in all, it is an extraordinary start to the Mediterranean season, which, by the way, need not be a harbinger of things to come. After all, the fruit is there, so it will eventually come this way too. But it is also interesting to note that despite the growth of soft fruit supply in recent years, the market can still become a market of extremes in case of a shortage. Soft fruit specialists can offer a certain constancy in this, but at companies where soft fruit is not the main business, prices are currently experiencing truly exceptional movements. That is still what makes our market so interesting and challenging," Maxim concludes.
For more information:
Maxim De Roeck
5928 RH Venlo