“Greek strawberry prices reduced, but demand expected to increase in May”

More strawberries have been planted in Greece this season, says Nick Nafpliotis, company director of fresh produce exporter Greek & Fresh: “Greece has further expanded its acreage allocation of strawberries by 10% compared to the previous season. It’s been established as the second major supplier to the EU supermarkets after Spain, which is attributed to the varietal change over the past ten years. It’s gone from the traditional Camarosa to the modern varieties such as the Fortuna, Victory, Rociera, Limnvalnera, and such.”

There’s still a while to go in the Greek strawberry season, but when the season first started, consumers were not spending as much money on strawberries, Nafpliotis explains. “More than half of the strawberry season has passed, and the season is going as expected. At the beginning of the season, prices were a bit lower than last season, as consumers have reduced their spending on the more expensive products in anticipation of the high energy cost as well as inflation.”

As both Spain’s and Greece’s recently added a lot of volumes to the market, prices have gone down slightly, Nafpliotis states: “In the first two months of the year, prices remained higher than usual due to the lower supply from Spain. From the end of March onwards, prices have reduced a lot, as the first production cycle peaked both in Greece and Spain. The quality has been generally good, with the exception of March, during which we had a lot of rain and cloudy weather, which affected the quality slightly.”

The ever-increasing costs of production and packing are becoming a real challenge, according to Nafpliotis. “This season was faced with two main challenges: The lack of labor for harvesting and the increased production costs, both in the field and in the packing house. Without exaggeration, the costs increased on average by about 30-35% compared to last year, but this increase has never been forwarded to retail, as it has happened with almost all other products. This is certainly a huge challenge for the future viability of both the growers and packers, which will lead to further consolidation of the sector and to bigger production schemes.”

“For overseas shipments, we now see a bit better freight availability compared to last year. However, freight rates are much more expensive, and this is a problem because we can’t absorb all these costs. We now see good demand from Asia and the Gulf, as Egypt has finished its production.” 

Looking forward, the month of May should increase demand for Greek strawberries: “The demand has been good until Easter but has dropped considerably in the last two weeks. This is partly normal and partly attributed to the colder-than-usual weather in Europe. We expect demand to improve as we are heading towards May, when traditionally the weather is warmer, and strawberries reach their peak taste,” Nafpliotis concludes.

For more information:
Nick Nafpliotis
Greek and Fresh
Tel.: +30 215 215 8063
Email: Nick@greekandfresh.com 

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