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Good South African table grape yield despite ongoing drought

Good South African

Despite experiencing its worst ever drought, the South African Table Grape Industry (SATI) has announced a good table grape crop of just over 62 million cartons (4.5kg/carton), with a drop in production of just 8% from the record 67.5 million cartons harvested in the previous season. The drought has been ongoing for three years in three out of the five production regions, especially in the west of the country.

The Orange River region recorded smaller berries and lower bunch weights, resulting in 7% less than last season. The Northern Provinces Region produced a record crop of 6 million cartons, an increase on last season. The Olifants River region recorded a fall of almost 30% in volumes due to a sustained heatwave. Producers in the Berg River region were also hard hit by the drought, with volumes around 16% lower. The Hex River region’s season was just under 8% lower than last season, which constituted a relatively normal season.

Source: SATI

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20th AECOC Fruit and Vegetables Congress to be held in Valencia on June 19-20


More than 500 experts from Spain’s fruit and vegetables sector will meet in Valencia for the 20th AECOC Congress. The event will offer market data, analyse trends and share success stories of leading companies in the sector. The event will begin with a presentation by Pedro J. Domínguez (Nielsen) followed by Cindy van Rijswick (Rabobank). Rabobank will share market data that will help contextualise the current situation and offer an overview of the new opportunities and challenges for the global fruit and vegetable industry. Nielsen, meanwhile, will describe the increasingly demanding consumers of fruits and vegetables and their demands (pleasure, convenience or sustainability).

On the subject of organic products, there will be presentations from HaciendasBio, Almaverde bio and Carrefour, which has opened the first urban supermarket with exclusively organic products. Sergio Román, from Auchan Retail will share the firm’s experience of incorporating a controlled production line to offer products with taste, responsibility and proximity. In addition, Álvaro Muñoz, CEO of AMC Fresh Group, will present the keys to success and the vision of the future of the leading company in citrus and fruit juices.

The congress will also feature the vision of Eurogrup Spain Frutas y Verduras and Metro Food Sourcing Fruits and Vegetables, two distribution leaders with almost 80% of the sales of Spanish fruits and vegetables. They will discuss the challenges and opportunities for the sector, such as the commitment to a more efficient and sustainable value chain or innovation.

Precise innovation, agriculture 4.0 and the impact of new technologies in agribusiness will also be discussed in a round table that will feature the participation of Miguel Sabater of Deloitte, and disruptive startups such as ec2ce, a benchmark in artificial intelligence, and HEMAV, which works in precision agriculture using drones.

Furthermore, the congress will address the keys of digital marketing and new communication with the consumer with Gonzalo Madrid, chief strategy officer of the Wink agency. Gonzalo Madrid will present the keys to bringing value to the consumer and becoming the chosen brand.

The event will close with an inspirational presentation by Patrick Dixon, guru and renowned futurist and author of more than twenty books, who will show us the future of our sector and the keys to growth.

AECOC is the Association of Companies of Large Consumption, one of the biggest business organisations in Spain. It is the only one in which industry and large-scale distribution work together to develop good practices and technological standards that help companies to be more efficient and competitive, thereby providing value to the consumer. AECOC includes large, medium and small enterprises and represents sectors as diverse as food and beverages, textiles, electro, hardware and DIY, health and hospitality, among others. At the end of 2017, it had more than 28,000 associated companies whose joint turnover represents close to 20% of GDP.

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Total Produce pursue continued growth

total produce

Despite having recently acquired a 45% stake in Dole, Total Produce is targeting even greater growth in 2018. The Dole transaction reflects a continuation of the group’s successful expansion strategy. However, unusual weather conditions and currency movements will restrict growth in the first half of the year.

On 1st February 2018, Total Produce entered into a binding agreement to acquire a 45% stake in Dole Food Company for US$300m. The deal remains subject to regulatory approval but is expected to be confirmed in the second half of 2018. The Dole acquisition was financed by the issuing of 63 million new ordinary shares, which raised $180 million. The results of the huge transaction will not be seen until 2019. A final dividend of 2.5 cents per share in 2018 represents a 10% increase on last year.

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Greenyard announces dip in sales of 1.7%

Green shoots appear for Greenyard as it sets out on road to recovery

Global market leader in fresh produce Greenyard has announced a slight dip in sales over the past twelve months. In the year ending March 31st 2018, the group’s net sales declined by 1.7% to €4.175 billion. Results were below expectations due to pricing pressure in the group’s main markets and a number of one-offs. Volumes were lost in some core fresh markets. Lower volumes led to a fall in fresh sales of 2.4%, which were also affected by an unfavourable sterling exchange rate.  Meanwhile, horticulture sales were up 20.2%, mainly thanks to the acquisition of Mykogen and favourable exchange rates.

The group’s gross operating profits (REBITDA) decreased by 3.8% to €140.2 million, mainly as a result of the aforementioned losses in the fresh category. Long Fresh continued to improve, even in difficult markets, mainly thanks to an improved product mix and increase in prices in the frozen segment. However, these improvements were largely offset by rising raw material costs that could not be passed on to customers under annual contracts. Profits in the horticulture segment were up by €1.5 million, which was somewhat offset by the postponement of the expected spring sales season in March due to the bad weather in Belgium.

Greenyard has announced that it expects REBITDA to rise by 10% over the coming year. In its statement, Greenyard said, “We remain committed to steer our organisation closer to our customers to jointly create a strategic view on fruit and vegetables in our mutual interest. By keeping our focus on creating added value in partnership with and for our growers, our retailers and our consumers, we are confident that we can make the difference in strengthening our position as a global leader in fruit and vegetables in all its forms”.

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Global banana market in crisis

banano mundiall

After 2018 got off to such a positive start in terms of both price and volume, the banana market has experienced a rapid fall in prices since April due to overproduction. This crisis, which started in Russia before moving westwards, comes at a time when negotiations are set to begin between Europe and the countries of the dollar zone with a view to lowering tariffs. This crisis has been on the horizon for some time now and has only been averted thus far by adverse weather conditions lowering output. But the long-expected trouble now appears to be at the gate. The exceptional beginning to 2018 has made the subsequent fall that much more dramatic. Prices have fallen from a record high of €18-19 to a record low of €3-4.

The oversupply derives from the huge international production base which has grown to meet the rising consumer demand. Meanwhile, productivity is also rising and other producing countries are re-emerging such as Honduras and Nicaragua. West Africa is also expanding (with the noteable exception of Cameroon.)  

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Germany’s apple campaign extended by four weeks due to low demand

manzana alemana

Weaker consumer demand in April allowed Germany’s apple season to be extended by a total of four weeks despite low volumes and diminishing quality. The German market saw normal demand at the start of April followed by low sales after the Easter holidays. By mid-April, supplies of most varieties were coming to an end and by Week 16, supplies of Braeburn, Golden Delicious, Kanzi® and Pinova had cleared, with the last remaining quantities of Gala Royal sold at the end of April.

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Third country suppliers drive 1% rise in Spanish fresh produce imports


Customs data for the first quarter of the year show that Spain imported 1% more fresh produce (823,000 tons) than over the same period last year. Most of the rise is attributable to larger volumes arriving from third countries (+11%) to 358,000 tons. By contrast, imports of fresh fruits and vegetables from the EU were down 5% to 468,000 tons. Third country imports made up 43.5 per cent of the January-March total, rising from a share of 39.7 per cent in 2017. This data reflect the displacement of the Spanish market to imports from third countries due to greater foreign competition from countries with schedules and crops coinciding with Spanish production.

In terms of value, imports from the EU were down 20% to €213 million, while imports from third countries climbed 12% to €487 million. Spain’s largest EU supplier was France (€74.5 million tons / -33%), while its largest non-EU suppliers were Morocco (€253 million / +11%) and Costa Rica (€38.1 million / +1%). Fruit imports totalled 357,000 tons (+0.5%), worth €465.3 million (+11%). Overall vegetable imports weighed in at 466,000 tons (+1.8%) and were worth €234.2 million (-18%).

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Delayed opening to French asparagus season


France’s 2018 asparagus campaign got off to a late start this year. By April, prices were already in decline with the gradual increase in volumes that remained above the five-year average. At the end of the month, there were problems with flows and stocks increased. Volumes continued to increase while demand slowed down due to poor weather and school holidays. Public holidays in early May led to a boost in demand and prices recovered slightly.

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France’s tomato season opens with downward pressure on prices

tomate consommation

April’s cool weather conditions dampened tomato consumption in France. This has created an imbalanced market as supply has continued to increase. Meanwhile, the market was flooded with imported tomatoes at highly competitive prices, which drove average prices down. Between April 5th and 19th, the tomato market was declared to be in a cyclical crisis. By the end of April, the market had gradually restored a certain balance. The weather was more conducive to consumption and promotional campaigns were enlivening the market. Prices are now rising again across all varieties.

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Europe’s peach and nectarine production expected to fall by 8% in 2018


Europe’s peach and nectarine output is estimated at 3,670,000 tons for 2018, constituting a fall of 8% from the previous year. The only country with a positive trend was Greece, (+20%). Spanish production fell 11% to just over 1.5 million tons, with the most affected regions being the mid/late areas of Catalonia and Aragon. In these areas peach production is expected to be 15% lower and nectarine -18%. The earliest regions are also affected, but less so. In Murcia, Extremadura and Andalusia, the decline is 7% for peaches and 13% for nectarines.

Estimates published by CSO Italy show a drop of 16% compared to 2017 with the south of the country expecting a fall of over 20%, while output in the north is predicted to be 13% lower. French production is expected to be 10% lower than in 2017 at around 200,000 tons.