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German strawberry prices fall to €2/kg by end of May


The beginning of May saw the first early varieties of strawberry appear on the shelves at a market price of €4.52/kg. Despite the lack of rain, the ripeness and quality of the fruit turned out to be very good due to the mostly favourable weather conditions. By the middle of the month, supplies were strong, resulting in a fall in price to €3/kg. However, the cool start to May dampened demand and, with harvest delayed, the flow of goods slowed down, which put pressure on the market and prices fell to €2.00/kg.

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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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Increase in foreign visitors at Macfrut 2018

The 35th edition of Macfrut was an extraordinary occasion, with attendance at the three-day event up 15% to 43,000, 25% of whom came from abroad. Within the expo, the Tropical Fruit Congress was held for the first time, gathering 300 professionals from the global mango and avocado supply chains. Renzo Piraccini, president of Macfrut, said, “This year we hosted a trade fair that generates business not only during this event but also throughout the year.”

Macfrut was also a great opportunity for Colombia. Adriana Senior Mojica, president of CCI Colombia, said, “Colombia had 25 companies at the event producing tropical fruits of great interest to Italy and the world. At Macfrut 2018, we managed to attract new customers not only from Europe but also from China, Abu Dhabi and South Korea.” Great enthusiasm was also expressed by the delegation from Uzbekistan, represented by Ulugbek Bekchanov: “This was our second year in a row at Macfrut. This year we decided to set up a collective stand so that three companies could exhibit their fresh and dried fruits. Professionals from all over the world, especially from Eastern European countries, Asia, the Persian Gulf and our long-term customers from Russia showed interest in our products Therefore, it was a very fruitful trade fair for us, certainly the best one this year.’

The next edition of Macfrut will be held from 8 to 10 May 2019 at the Rimini Expo Centre.

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Sharp fall in Spanish citrus output in 2017-18 ­

Preliminary data for estimations of Spanish fruit and vegetable production in the first five months of 2018 show extra-early potato volumes are up 4.3%, while tomato volumes are down 6.2% compared to 2017. As for other vegetables, increased volumes have been recorded of cucumber (+20.3%), leek (+17.5%) and broccoli (+10.8%). In contrast, lower output has been registered for green peas (-17.3%), green beans (-7.8%), artichoke (-2.8%) and celery (-1.8%). The first production estimates for fruit over the same period show increases in peach (+7.1%), cherry (+4.5%) and apricot (+3.8%), with a fall recorded in plum (-11.4%). Final estimates for avocado production in 2017 indicate a 10.2% rise compared to 2016.

Source: Spanish Ministry of Agriculture and Fisheries

As for citrus production, estimates for the 2017-18 campaign indicate a decline in all crops,
except in grapefruit, which increased by 8.2% The biggest drop was recorded in satsuma (-26.9%), followed by clementine (-17.6%), orange (-8.7%) and lemon (-6.1%). Production of the mandarins group as a whole fell 14.8%.


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Adverse weather leads to Poland’s apple production plunging by 34.7% in 2017

manzana polonia

In 2017, following a record harvest in 2016, Poland’s overall fruit production plummeted by around 34.7% to 2.7 million tons. The dramatic drop in production was mainly due to frost damage and difficult conditions during the final harvesting phase. However, conditions differed greatly from orchard to orchard, even within the same fruit farm. According to GUS data, Poland’s total apple production was almost a third lower than during the previous year – 2.4 million tons. Nevertheless, where frost damage did not occur, there were instances of high yields and good fruit quality.

The scale of loss depended on the plantations’ varieties, age and location. The least affected varieties were Champion, Gala and Gloster, while the most affected variety was the Idared, which is the most produced apple in Poland. On some plantations, losses reached nearly 100%, but in general, there was just a lower amount of fruit on trees. In many cases, poor fruit quality was also recorded as the fruit was misshapen by the frosts and, in some places, by hail, diseases and pests. There were reports of physiological and fungal diseases.

As for other fruits, Poland’s pear production was similarly affected, with a 32.3% lower harvest than the previous year. Plum volumes were almost half the level of 2016, while cherry production was over 60% less than in the previous year. Apricots and peaches also suffered a heavy toll from the adverse weather conditions according to the Central Statistics Office.

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Colombian fruit exporters turn their eyes to China and South Korea

Colombia’s fruit producers have set their sights on the markets of South Korea and China. Agriculture minister Juan Guillermo Zuluaga indicated his government’s intention to forge closer trade ties with these countries, where demand for high-quality tropical products is growing. With a Free Trade Agreement signed in 2016 with South Korea, Colombian delegations have been working hard to seal protocols that will allow the entry of several of its products. Indeed, Colombian exports to South Korea rose 44% between 2010 and 2017, to US$104m. As for China, Colombian exports of agricultural products reached US$177m between 2010 and 2017, a dramatic rise from the US$19m total for the 2022-2009 period.

The Fruitnet Forum Colombia is a new two-day event taking place in Bogotá on 26th-27th June. The conference will feature presentations by major importers from both China and South Korea.


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Drop in Belgians’ consumption of fresh vegetables

vegetales belgas

Belgians are consuming fewer fresh vegetables but slightly more fresh fruit. According to data from the market research agency GfK Belgium, the average Belgian purchased 38 kg of fresh vegetables in 2017 – 1kg less than in 2016. Average vegetable prices were higher, which meant that overall spending on vegetables remained stable. Fruit consumption climbed slightly, from 46.6 to 47 kg per capita. With fresh fruit prices being 4% higher last year, spending on fruit grew by 5%. Consumption of organic vegetables and fruit continued to increase – half of Belgians now buy biofruit. However, the growth has slowed down from previous years.
Belgian’s favourite vegetable remains the tomato, closely followed by the carrot. While apples are still the county’s favourite fruit (especially the Jonagold variety), consumption has fallen and bananas are making up ground on them. Strawberries too saw increased consumption in 2017.
In terms of distribution, the picture changed very little. Although DIS 1 remains the market leader, its share fell slightly, from 49% to 48%, followed by hard discount (24%), and neighborhood supermarkets, whose market share rose from 14% to 16%.

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The 11th edition of iFresh Fair Asia will be held in Shaghai in November


iFresh Fair Asia will take place this year between 13th and 15th November at the Shanghai New International Exposition Centre. The fair will bring together domestic and overseas traders from over 50 countries, including Australia, Thailand, Malaysia, Ecuador, and Peru. There will be exhibits of high-quality fruit products and innovative technologies on display at the prestigious event centre. The Shanghai New International Exposition Centre (SNIEC) is one of China’s most successful international exposition venues. SNIEC has 17 single-layer open floor halls and hosts more than 100 major expositions every year, attracting more than 5 million traders from China and abroad.

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Calls for relaxation of EU’s “food beauty” laws

EU Kromkommer

Dutch fruit company Kromkommer has made a call to relax strict EU laws governing the appearance of fruit. Certain products are banned merely on the grounds of their appearance. One such example is the twin kiwi, which does not satisfy the EU’s guidelines. According to the company’s website, “About 10% of all fruit and vegetables is wasted because it is not pretty enough. Kromkommer believes that quality should stand for a fresh, safe and above all very tasty product. That is why we think it is time for a new definition of quality, which means that more fruit and vegetables end up on our plate.” On 18th April, the firm arranged for a special delivery of “forbidden fruit” at the Dutch parliament on the day prior to a debate on the subject.


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Surge in Chinese fruit imports


During the first two months of 2018, China’s fruit imports jumped 22% in volume and 58% in value. The main contributors to this growth are cherries, oranges, blueberries, and bananas. China’s cherry imports set a new record, surging 191% higher to 135,000 tons compared to the same period in 2017. Chile is enjoying a record crop this year and the country’s producers are doing their utmost to satisfy Chinese consumers’ apparently insatiable hunger for cherries, exporting 134,000 tons in just two months (+194%).

Orange exports to China were up 40%, with 17,600 tons coming from the US (+30%), and 11,100 tons from Egypt (+76%). China’s domestic orange production was hit this year by citrus greening disease. As for blueberries, imports volumes are up 71% this year, with almost 95% arriving from Chile, with the remainder coming from Peru. China is the fastest-growing market for Chilean blueberries thanks to the perfect sequencing of the two counties’ seasons and the hard work carried out by Chilean trade delegations to promote the fruit in China.