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Spanish stone fruit sector under immense pressure

Spanish stone fruit sector under immense pressure, credit. Alexandra Sautois, Eurofresh Distribution
© Alexandra Sautois, Eurofresh Distribution


Spain’s Afrucat stone fruit committee has agreed an Emergency Plan to protect the sector through a range of short- and long-term measures, including a request to the Ministry for a start plan consisting of 10,000 hectares throughout the Spain in Catalonia, Aragon, Murcia and Extremadura. This plan would remove about 300 million kilos of peaches and nectarines from the European market (25% of which is controlled by Spanish production). According to the director general of Afrucat, Manel Simon, this measure could be enough to reverse the negative trend that has seen the sector hit by a series of losses since the end of summer 2014 when the Russian veto began.

The association estimates that Cataluña’s stone fruit sector alone will lose €90 million this campaign and expects the Spanish ministry to invest €50 million in the aforementioned plan. Sisco Palau, president of the Afrucat Stone Fruit Committee highlights the need to apply the measures “in a sector that has been heavily affected by losing three consecutive campaigns and suffering cost increases.” Palau insists on the importance of uniting the entire sector (organisations and unions) and extending this union to other state organisations.

Other measures proposed include investments in reducing production and plant costs with the implementation of existing innovations, as well as campaigns for promoting consumption and the opening of new markets for Spanish fruit.

The 2019 stone fruit campaign was marked by a full European production of peach and nectarine, with a 10% increase in volumes. The calibres were fair and there was a saturation of markets caused by the high amount of stone fruit in the traditional European markets due to the ongoing Russian veto.

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Imported Chilean stonefruit recalled in US due to listeria fears

Imported Chilean stonefruit recalled in US due to listeria fears

Stonefruits produced in Chile have been recalled by retailers across the US due to the possibility of listeria contamination. Fresh peaches, nectarines and plums sold at a six major retailers in 18 states are affected. The Food and Drug Administration said the recall from the Yonkers wholesaler includes 1,727 cartons of peaches, 1,207 cartons of nectarines and 365 cartons of plums. No illnesses have been reported in connection with the recall, which occurred following a routine sampling by a packing house that found some products contained listeria monocytogenes. The affected peaches and nectarines are sold as a bulk retail produce item with the PLU sticker showing Chile as the country of origin. At Aldi, the recalled peaches, nectarines and plums are packaged in a two-pound bag bearing the Rio Duero label.

Source: Supermarket News

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Tany Nature goes for flavour

Tany Nature recently invested roughly €100M in its packing house at Zurbaran, Badajoz, to optimise processes and lower reduce costs, having achieved a reduction of €0.02/kg fruit in 2015.

Tany Nature, a leading agro-industrial group specialising in stone fruit, sold 40,000 in 2015 from its own orchards – 2,800 ha located in south-west Spain (Extremadura and Andalusia), south-eastern Portugal and Morocco. The Extremadura-based company works throughout the value chain, all the way from nursery plant production to marketing the fruit.

In recent years Tany Nature has been developing a broad range of varieties in stone fruit, with uniform lines from April to November, thanks to constant innovation and strategic alliances with breeders worldwide. “We’re focused on developing and marketing premium quality fruit, so flavour is a top priority in our breeding lines. In plums we are working with Sun World varieties, mainly in red flesh fruit, early ripening lines. Our plum orchard area has also increased in recent years. In apricots, we have a very interesting portfolio too. Our goal is to deliver fruit throughout the season with uniform quality,” said Celso Mateus, commercial manager at Tany Nature.

Tany Nature recently invested roughly €100M in its packing house at Zurbaran, Badajoz, to optimise processes and lower reduce costs, having achieved a reduction of €0.02/kg fruit in 2015. The target is set at €0.03/kg for 2016. Tany Nature exports to Europe and overseas, mainly to South Africa, Brazil, Canada and Asia.

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EU set for lower peach, nectarine production this season

A 3.7% drop in EU peach and nectarine production – to 4 million tons – is forecast for 2015/16, while that for cherries is projected at 745,900 tons, remaining flat compared with last season, according to the USDA Foreign Agricultural Service (FAS).

A 3.7% drop in EU peach and nectarine production – to 4 million tons – is forecast for 2015/16, while that for cherries is projected at 745,900 tons, remaining flat compared with last season, according to the USDA Foreign Agricultural Service (FAS).

Despite the Russian embargo, EU-28 exports of peaches and nectarines in 2014/15 grew 16%, while those of fresh cherries fell 10%, a new Global Agricultural Information Network (GAIN) report – the EU-28 Stone Fruit Annual – from FAS says.

Peaches and nectarines

The main EU-28 producers of fresh peaches and nectarines are Italy, Spain, Greece and France. The production area is projected to remain stable in MY 2015/16 with 232,778 ha planted.

The 3.7% drop in MY 2015/16 peach and nectarine production for the EU-28 is due to unfavorable weather, with considerable decreases in the main European producers, Spain, Greece and France, while Italian production shows an increase.

In MY 2015/16 fresh consumption of peaches and nectarines is projected to remain flat reaching 2.8 MMT.

The EU’s exports of peaches and nectarines were valued at 390 million USD in MY 2014/15, a 9% decrease despite 16% higher volume from the previous year. Despite the Russian ban, EU- 28 exports increased in MY 2014/15 by reorienting the markets. The 12% decrease of exports to Russia were compensated with an increase of exports to other M.S. and to new markets such as North of Africa as Algeria and Brazil.

The main supplier of peaches to the EU-28 in MY 2014/15 was South Africa. Chile used to be the main supplier of peaches and nectarines to the EU-28 but in MY 2014/15 imports coming from Chile declined 60% resulting with South Africa and Morocco as main suppliers to the EU-28.

Due to lower production forecasts in MY 2015/16 imports may increase.


The main EU-28 producers of fresh cherries are Poland, Italy, and Spain.

Spain is the biggest exporter due to its early season harvest and Italy the number one consumer of fresh cherries.

Total cherry production in MY 2015/16 is projected at 745,900 MT, remaining flat compared with last season, where the important growth in Italy and Greece could compensate the decline that may occur in Spain.

Consumption of fresh cherries in the EU is estimated at 443,023 MT in MY 2015/16, remaining stable.

The EU is a net exporter of cherries but with trade values almost balanced. These are sourced mostly from Turkey, the world’s leading cherry producer. While the main destinations for the major EU producers are other MS, the most important external destinations are Russia, Switzerland and Belarus.

New markets, such as Algeria, are showing important growth for the second year in a row surpassing Ukraine, the report said.

Source: EU-28 Stone Fruit Annual

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Chinese and Catalan collaboration on agri-food industry

The Chinese province of Fujian and Catalonia to collaborate on agri-food matters.

A delegation from the southeastern Chinese province of Fujian, including the head of its Department of Agriculture, Jiang Shaofeng, visited Fruits de Ponent last week.

They toured the trading cooperative’s facilities in Lleida, as well as learning about the company’s fruit production, packaging and marketing. Fruits de Ponent said the visitors showed interest in exporting its fruit to China.

Plan to increase Catalan trade with China

The visit was organised by Prodeca, which promotes the Catalan agri-food industry, and was one of a series of activities it hosted for the delegation over July 1-3. As part of its China Plan, Prodeca aims to increase Catalonia’s trade with Asia in food and other agricultural products.

During its visit, the Chinese delegation signed a memorandum of understanding with Catalan government representatives designed to foster cooperation and mutual assistance between them in the agri-food industry area, and closer institutional collaboration.

Fruits de Ponent (source of photos) 

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How Australia is tapping fresh produce opportunities in China

"Australia is in quite a nice position to be able to segment the market by focussing on being a niche market player rather than getting caught up against the big volume suppliers."

The importance of suppliers building long term trade relationships with China and adapting to its customers’ tastes was recently stressed by Loren Zhao, co-founder of the country’s rapidly-expanding online fruit retailer, Fruitday.

Speaking as part of the London Produce Show breakfast panel, Zhao singled out Australia and New Zealand as countries doing a good job in this regard. He said that in the future, China “will be consuming most of the global produce” and he said it is looking to these suppliers, which he said are already focusing on India and China. “It’s very important to grow products with the Chinese customer in mind.”

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Zhao said the US and Australia are spending a lot of money in order to change their fruit varieties and grow newer ones in response to demand from Chinese customers. “We see that they also want to invest for the market for us.”

“A lot of exporters just want to trade and they want to sell everything to China but other exporters want to cooperate…like Zespri and Sunkist,” he added.

Promising export future: Australian table grapes and citrus

Speaking to ED at the London show, PMA Australia-New Zealand CEO Michael Worthington said table grapes are a good example of where Australian growers are adapting to Chinese tastes.

“Australia is producing a lot of very good quality red and black grapes which the Chinese love. Crimson seedless has been a very successful variety, because it’s obviously seedless but it also has good Brix. There are some black grapes coming on to the market that have got a very high brix, so very much going for sweetness, which suits the Chinese palate,” he said

The Chinese very much buy on colour and a sweet taste, so I think Australia is in quite a nice position to be able to segment the market by focussing on being a niche market player rather than getting caught up against the big volume suppliers such as Chile” he said.

“On the citrus side, the Australian navel quality is very good – probably the best in the market – and well-recognised in China, and some of the mandarins that Australia is now producing also fit in very well with Chinese consumers because of their good colour and flavour.”

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“Another real positive is that grapes and citrus fit very well with online sales – you can make nice convenience packs of table grapes. And with online sales booming in China, this is a great area for a niche marketer such as Australia to supply.”

Aussie Cherries also popular in China

Tasmanian cherries provide another example of Australian fresh produce fitting very well with Chinese tastes, Worthington said. “Tasmanian cherries tend to be larger size, very high quality and coming from grower-marketers of a small enough scale that they can go very niche as opposed to being a mass supplier that’s always trying to shift big volumes.”

Hopes FTA will see new protocols expedited

Worthington said it’s hoped the recently signed free trade agreement between China and Australia will speed up quarantine protocols allowing more fruit varieties to be traded between the countries.

“There’s a number in the pipeline both ways, such as stonefruit from mainland Australia and I am confident that as direct trade builds up (as opposed to the traditional “grey channel” supply into China via Hong Kong), we will see more vegetable lines, such as broccoli and carrots, and products such as mangoes and avocadoes exported out of Australia.”

Efficient distribution: key to success in e-retail

On online sales, he said China is doing very well in its ability to get the produce to consumers. “I think in a lot of other countries, particularly western ones, that last mile of logistics is the biggest challenge to growing online sales, whereas in China they’ve got these multiple small distributors on motorbikes and bikes and everything else that can get the product to the consumer.

“It’s a mixture of finding the right product, that is of a high enough value, matched with a distribution system that’s very much more efficient, as opposed to trying to look at it just purely as a price point and keeping the cost of an online sale at or below what you’d pay if buying in a supermarket,” he said.


Relief map of Australia by Hans Braxmeier ( [CC BY-SA 2.5 (], via Wikimedia Commons

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Why DPS is shortening its supply chain and adding value for the UK market

A series of apricots from the Carmingo range are among the new varieties invested in over recent years by dps, one of the main year-round suppliers of stone fruit and exotic fruit to UK retailers.

A series of apricots from the Carmingo range are among the new varieties invested in over recent years by dps, one of the main year-round suppliers of stone fruit and exotic fruit to UK retailers.

“We sold 8 tons last year and hope to have more than 10 times that available this year,” said Paul Beynon, managing director of the London-based family company which expects turnover this year of about £54 million, up from about £46 million last year.

The joint venture in the Carmingo apricots, which originated in France and have better quality eat and a longer season than other varieties, is an example of dps’s constant push to deliver what end customers want.

About a tenth of its business is evenly split between the food service and processing sectors but since 1998, dps has been focused on supplying major retail programmes in the UK and Ireland. Tesco, for example, has been one of its major clients for over 30 years.

Increased demand for ripe stone fruit

The company keeps its eye on what’s happening at the consumer end of the supply chain. In an interview with Eurofresh Distribution, Beynon spoke of a range of ways – including meeting consumers at the shelf edge, focus groups and online surveys – dps uses to increase its understanding of those who eat its fruit.

One of the trends it has identified is that when buying stone fruit, such as peaches and nectarines, UK consumers increasingly prefer to buy them ripe. In response, dps has invested in different varieties and spent about £750,000 over the last four years to increase its ripening capacity in the UK to six ripening units.

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Demand, offer rising for British produce

Beynon said British consumers are also showing strong demand for home-grown produce. The British-grown apricot and cherry offer is growing quickly, while that of plums is more stagnant.

Overall, dps’s main products in summer are peaches, nectarines, kiwis, apricots, cherries and plums. In terms of the company’s total product volume, homegrown produce accounts for about 10–15% in the case of cherries, and 5–10 % each for plums and apricots.

Big growth in demand for apricots, sharon fruit

The products where the company is seeing demand grow most are apricots – last year the value of dps’s apricot sales was 100% higher than in 2013 – and the sharon fruit.

About 65% of its apricots are from Spain, 30% from South Africa and 5% New Zealand, while for the sharon fruit it’s about 80% Spain, 20% South Africa.

Most of dps’s Northern Hemisphere produce comes from Spain and arrives by lorry, while most of that from the Southern Hemisphere comes by ship, mostly into London Thamesport and Tilbury, and a small amount by air.

Revival of demand for organic produce

dps supplies organic citrus, stone fruit, cherry and kiwi fruit, sourcing most of it from Spain, Chile, South Africa and Italy.

Beynon said demand for organic fruit was static, if not receding, in the early days of the recession, but in the last 12 months has improved. “It’s now growing again and there’s no reason for that to stop,” he said.

Consumers want consistency in quality, taste and shelf life

Though it does not have a produce brand – all the produce it procures for retailers is sold under their brands – as previously mentioned, dps takes great interest in engaging with and understanding the end consumer.

“What we find is it’s about quality, taste and shelf life,” Beynon said. Aesthetics get consumers to pick up a product but consistency in the latter three is what keeps them buying it.

An example of dps’s ongoing innovation to address these factors was the launch of a 6-fruit pouch in its kiwi line. More aesthetically pleasing than a punnet and net, it helped drive sales.

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Why shortening the supply chain is crucial

Beynon also talked about the importance of shortening the supply chain – and making it as responsive and efficient as possible – in order to ensure the freshest quality and reduce waste, and thereby costs.

With the advent of new money in the big, newer powerhouses, such as Brazil, China, the Middle East and India – dps’s sources now have many more options as to where they sell their product.

The days of Britain being the number one place to do so is not quite the case now, Beynon said. To have the best chance of securing produce from desired sources means having the most efficient supply chains. “The more efficient the supply chain the higher the grower return you can provide.”

How freight, labor costs have changed the supply chain dynamic

Beynon said dps thus constantly evaluates the way it brings product from source. For example, with plums from South America it used to bring them over in finished punnets but now tends to ship them bulk after an increase in freight prices in recent years. “It’s very important to fill that transport because that cost probably outweighs those for higher labour cost.”

In the past, higher labor costs in the UK meant DPS preferred not to pack there. “Now, due to higher freight costs, it works out more economical to pack efficiently in the UK,” he said.