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Philippines bananas being squeezed out of Chinese market

Philippines bananas being squeezed out of Chinese market © Marlith (Creative Commons)

© Marlith (Creative Commons)

 

The Philippines Banana Planter and Exporter Association (PBGEA) has announced that profits in banana exports fell by 15% due to the outbreak of Covid-19, which increased shipping costs and delayed transport, reports Business Mirror.

Shipping costs increased by 15%-20% last year, and the transport period increased from an average of 25 days to an average of 30-33 days. The main reason for this delay in transport is the spillover effect from backlogs in Chinese and Singaporean ports in late 2020. Backlogs in one port mean that supply ships miss their rendezvous, which leads to further delays.

The Philippines suffers more from distribution problems in comparison with countries like Vietnam and Cambodia that are closer to the Chinese market. That is why Vietnamese and Cambodian bananas gradually push bananas from the Philippines out of the Chinese market. Last year almost 90% of the Chinese import bananas came from the Philippines, while only 10% came from Vietnam and Cambodia. This year almost 40% of the Chinese import bananas come from Vietnam and Cambodia.

Banana exports declined by 51% in January to 186,000 tons of bananas, while the export value dropped by 47% to US$85 million. Japan is still the largest export market for bananas from the Philippines in terms of export value, but China is the largest market in terms of volume. The income from banana export slumped 20.6% in 2020 to US$1.55 billion.

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Russia’s mushroom production increased by 80.2% in 2020

Russia’s mushroom production increased by 80.2% in 2020 - Source: Flickr

Public domain (Source: Flickr)

 

Cultivated mushroom production in Russia has been growing steadily in recent years. Production increased by 80.2% to 86,300 tons in 2020. This is nine times higher than in 2016 (9,700 tons). 

Preferential short-term and investment loans are the key state support measures for mushroom producers. According to Mikhail Glushkov, director of the National Union of Fruit and Vegetable Producers, production optimisation will enhance industry development.

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China’s fresh fruit imports slip 8.9% in 2020

China’s fresh fruit imports slip 8.9% in 2020
Photo: Retail China – CR Vangard

Despite China’s imports of fresh produce falling y-o-y in volume terms in 2020, they were up in value, according to Chinese customs data. China imported 5.3 million tons of fresh fruit in 2020, with bananas leading the way (1.7 million tons; 32%). Next came dragon fruit (618,000 tons), followed by durian (575,000 tons), mangos (379,000) and longans (347,000 tons). 

Due to the impact of the pandemic on logistics, the total volume was down 8.9% compared to 2019. However, the value of fruit imports increased by 7% to US$1.73 per kg. Durians were the fruit that registered the highest price rise over the 12 months (+44%). Cherry imports bucked the trend, increasing in volume by 8.7% to 210,000 tons.

Fresh vegetable imports slumped 22.6% y-o-y to 72,000 tons.

 

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Jump in Peru’s citrus exports 

Jump in Peru’s citrus exports 
Photo: Promperú

On the back of the pandemic, Peru exported 37% more citrus in 2020  than in 2019, with shipments reaching 244,000 tons, worth US$262 million, according to data released by the country’s Foreign Trade Research and Development Institute (Idexcam). 

In a statement, Idexcam said: “There is a growing demand for citrus, especially mandarins, due to their antioxidant properties and high content of vitamin C which strengthens the  immune system, creating a rebound of global  commercialisation.”

Mandarin exports were up 36% y-o-y to $250.4 million, with the main market being the US, followed by the Netherlands ($15 million), Canada ($17.8 million), China  ($15.7 million) and Russia ($13.2 million).

 

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Morrisons’ profits plunge in 2020

Morrisons’ profits plunge in 2020
Photo: Morrisons

UK retailer Morrison’s has announced a 50.7% fall in profits to £201 million for the year to January 31. The plummeting profits are mainly due to the additional £290 million in costs linked to the Covid-19 pandemic. A large contributor is an increase in staff absences, as well as the £230 million impact of handing its business rates relief back to the Treasury.

Like-for-like sales (excluding fuel and VAT) rose by 8.6% thanks to strong grocery demand, with the final quarter seeing 9% growth. Full-year revenue was up by only 0.4% to £17.6 billion. 

However, Morrisons’ online sales tripled during the year and its capacity jumped five-fold.

 

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Lidl dislodges DIA among top-three Spanish supermarkets

Lidl dislodges DIA among top-three Spanish supermarkets
Photo: LIDL España

Spaniards are consuming more but less frequency and without leaving home, and price is becoming an ever more critical factor. These are the findings of the recently published Kantar data, which show that each shop is 14.1% larger, but visits to supermarkets have fallen by 2.7%. In 2020, consumers preferred local supermarkets, which reached a share of 26.2%, while online sales reached 3.1% (up 62% in revenue terms). During the Christmas period, hypermarkets and the cash and carries recorded their best numbers, reaching a 15.4% share.

The traditional Big 3 (Mercadona, Carrefour and DIA) lost market share in 2020. While Mercadona maintained its leadership, reaching 9 out of 10 Spanish households and with a market share of 24.5%, its share was down 1.1 points from 2019. The suggested causes are the delay in setting up an online channel and not offering local stores across the country. Carrefour’s hypermarket channel suffered during the pandemic, and the retailer’s market share was down 0.3 points to 8.4%. DIA’s performance improved markedly compared to previous years, thanks to its extensive network of stores. Nevertheless, it lost 0.6 points in 2020, with its share dipping to 5.8%. Replacing DIA in the top-three was Lidl, which gained 0.5 points to achieve a 6.1% share of the Spanish market.

 

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UK organic sector reports record growth in 2020

UK organic sector reports record growth in 2020
Photo:Creative Commons

The UK organic market grew 12.6% in 2020 and is now worth £2.8 billion, according to Soil Association Certification’s Organic Market Report 2021. This is the highest growth rate seen in 15 years, with over £50 million per week spent on organic food and drink during 2020. 

The online channel has fuelled much of this growth, with e-commerce sales up 36.2% in 2020. This channel now accounts for almost 25% of total sales. Meanwhile, sales of organic items in supermarkets increased by 12.5% per cent, with fresh produce sales up by 15.5%. Organic carrots performed best in this category, with sales soaring by 17.2%.

Sophie Kirk, senior business development manager, Soil Association Certification, said: “The unprecedented crisis of 2020 has brought immense challenges for organic farmers and the entire food supply chain. So it’s heartening that in times of crisis, more people are supporting home – grown organic produce, with many British organic products such as eggs, cheese, carrots, beef and lamb benefitting from strong sales growth through supermarkets this year.”

The UK organic market is on track to be worth £2.9 billion by the end of 2021, with many new organic shoppers expected to remain loyal to the sector.

 

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Bulgaria’s organic farming contracts despite growth in consumer demand 

Bulgaria’s organic farming contracts despite growth in consumer demand 
Photo: Pixabay

Bulgarian consumer demand for organics has grown in recent years due to economic stability, improved purchasing power, and increased popularity for products perceived as healthful. In 2020, the Bulgarian organics market was valued at about US$38 million (USDA data), with growing sales of packaged foods and beverages, but declining sales of fresh produce due to pandemic-related farmers markets closures. Demand growth is expected to increase by the end of 2021 and in 2022 due to favourable consumer trends and better prospects for the hotel, restaurant, and institutional (HRI) sectors.

Bulgarian agricultural land under organic production (fully converted and under conversion) at the end of 2019 declined by 9% from 2018. 2019 organic land accounted for 2.34% of Bulgaria’s total agricultural area, down from 2.56% in 2018. Certification, compliance, and domestic support for organic farmers remain as policy priorities for the Government of Bulgaria.

Conversely, the number of processors and traders of organic foods continued to grow in 2019 by 1.3% and 32.2%, respectively, over 2018. This development was encouraged by higher consumer demand for processed products, newly built processing facilities in Bulgaria, and increasingly efficient value chains. As a result, the number of Bulgarian organic food processors in 2019 has increased 47% since 2014 and the number of traders in 2019 has tripled since 2015.

Bulgaria’s organic horticultural area declined in 2019 from 2018. The fresh vegetable area declined by 19% and the organic orchard crop area declined by 10%. Nevertheless, vegetable production increased by 7.8% and orchard crop production by 7.6% due to higher yields, with pome fruits the notable exception. Higher demand from processors and for direct consumption for fresh organic produce has incentivised farmers to improve and inputs for better yields.

 

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India’s pear imports to surge by 29% in 2021

India’s pear imports to surge by 29% in 2021
Photo: Eurofresh Distribution

India’s 2020/21 pear crop is estimated to contract to 305,000 tons, due to adverse weather conditions during the flowering stage, according to USDA data. Pear imports for 2020/21 are forecast to rise by 29% to 22,500 tons due to steady consumption growth and lower domestic production. Since the Chinese pear import ban in June 2017, South Africa has remained the top pear exporter to India, with 72% market share in 2019/20, followed by the US (13%), and Spain (5%).  South African Packham pears are at a competitive advantage as they can be stored longer than other imported varieties, thereby extending their availability.

 

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Growth of US fruit imports stalls

Growth of US fruit imports stalls
Photo by Dirt to Dinner

US fruit imports were rather flat in 2020, with the exception being for fresh citrus and  frozen fruit,  according to new  USDA data. Overall imports of fresh, frozen and processed fruit rose by less than 1% Y-O-Y to US$19.9 billion in 2020. This contrasts with the significant annual growth recorded by the  category since 2010, when imports were as low as US$10.4 billion. There were falls in imports of avocados (-12% to $2.3  billion), bananas (-2% to $1.9 billion), blueberries (-5% to $982 million),  strawberries (-2% to $819 million), and apples (-18% to $110  million). Citrus imports rose  by 11% to $1.4  billion, driven mainly  by growth in mandarins and oranges. Table grape imports were also up, +4% to $1.7  billion,  

In terms of sources, shipments from Mexico and Chile were both down 3%, to $8.2 billion and $1.9  billion, respectively, while fruit imports from Guatemala fell by 2% to $1.9 billion. By contrast, Peru registered a 17% increase in shipments to the US ($1.7 billion), and imports from Costa Rica climbed 2% to $1.1 billion.