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Peppers more popular in Poland

They rank third among vegetables grown in Poland, with 1,400 ha in covered area and a 90,000 ton crop.

After tomatoes and cucumbers, peppers come third in terms of area for growing vegetables under cover in Poland. The bell pepper harvest from open-field cultivation is much smaller than that grown under cover. In 2014, 23 ,000 tons were harvested, followed by 28,000 tons the next season and about 34,000 tons forecast for this season. Over 2009-2014, Poland’s bell pepper exports grew from 9,000 to 19 ,000 tons, most going to CIS countries. Agricultural greenhouse farms growing peppers are spread all over Poland, but the commodity production occurs mainly in the area of Mazovian, Greater Poland, Lesser Poland, Łódzand Kuyavian-Pomeranian Voivodeships. About 90% of the peppers grown are red and the rest are yellow, orange or of another type, such as violet.

40,000 tons from the Przytyk province

Radom is presently the biggest area of pepper cultivation in Poland. One of the leading producers of pepper is the farm of Barbara and Grzegorz Małek, located in the Przytyk region. “Przytyk is the heart of the Polish pepper cultivation. The region‘s pepper crop totals about 40 ,000 tons a year, from around 2,000 farms and over 30,000 foil tunnels on a combined area of over 800 ha and 1,500 ha of open field cultivation.

“For example, in just one village in Przytyk, peppers are being grown by 220 farmers in a total of 3,000 tunnels for over 6,000 tons of this vegetable a year,” estimates Grzegorz Małek. Peppers are its main production in greenhouses, with 62 ha of covered crops. It is located in the biggest pepper area in Poland, in a central part of Mazowieckie district. Members of its producers group also grow yellow, green and white peppers. This region boasts favourable climatic conditions, having warmer weather and 44 less frost days than in neighbouring areas. Farmers from Przytyk have started to combine in bigger organisations that allow them to produce a great er volume of peppers with customised and standardised parameters and therefore to be able to sell their produce more profitably, Małek said. More than 20 pepper varieties are currently under cultivation, mainly mixed varieties originally from the Netherlands.

This article appeared in edition 146 of Eurofresh Distribution magazine. Read more from that edition online here.
Read more pepper news here.

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Piotr i Pawel’s innovation in the F&V space

Piotr i Paweł, one of Poland’s biggest supermarket chains, is once again promoting a range of innovations in fruit and vegetables in stores nationwide

Piotr i Paweł, one of Poland’s biggest supermarket chains, is once again promoting a range of innovations in fruit and vegetables in stores nationwide.

Special areas where customers can try fresh fruit and vegetables, new sections featuring wooden tables and racks for fresh organic produce, and new stands promoting produce that is not familiar to the Polish – such as collard, black salsify and exotic fruit – are among the measures.

“We have been using the slogan ‘Cheaper than you think’ to promote a line of vegetables including Polish tomatoes, cucumbers, iceberg lettuce and also peaches grown in Małopolska, in southern Poland. And we have the ongoing promotion of our own brand products with the ‘Always Quality’ tagline,” said Jacek Grzyb, from Piotr i Paweł’s fruit and vegetable sales department.

“Fruit and vegetables account for about 10% of all our products. In 2015 our general turnover increased 5.6% to 2.12 billion zlotys, making Piotr i Paweł one of Poland’s most fastest growing food retailers.

“The same year, our fruit and vegetable sales totalled over 200 million zlotys,” Grzyb said.

“Right now in Poland there is a trend towards demand for better quality food, particularly in regard to fruit and vegetables and especially among young and middle-aged professionals.

“We are also trying to introduce our customers to lesser known vegetables such as topinambur and pitahaya. These specialty items will be sold in the majority of our outlets in different regions across the country,” he said.

Founded in 1990 and fully Polish-owned, Piotr i Paweł is also well-known for the premium class products offered in its expanding food store chain.

“In just two years we have opened over 130 new stores in 61 towns across the country. The average sales area is 1,100 m² and our assortment is up to 27,000 different articles.

“The number of our private label products has increased to 1,000 items and covers various categories of products. Piotr i Paweł is able to compete with other retailers whose fruit and vegetables are often cheaper,” Grzyb said.

Focus on medium size cities

Regarding the constant development of the fruit and vegetable sections in Piotr i Paweł supermarkets, there is a need to ask how the retailer will develop its purchase strategy in years to come concerning various categories of fresh produce.

“Our main task in the near future is to invest over €9 million each year from our sales revenue in making our shops more attractive for our customers.”

And while Piotr i Paweł plans to build new supermarkets in Poland’s medium size towns, it won’t neglect bigger cities.

“In Warsaw alone we have six supermarkets and plan to open more,” Grzyb said.

Piotr i Paweł now has 138 stores, including one opened in late October in Warsaw’s Koszykowa St.


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New liaisons & outlooks from Poland’s Fresh Market and Fruit Expo

The Fresh Market Conference and Fruit Expo provides a platform for the biggest and most dynamic fresh produce companies from Poland and abroad to present their offerings, attract trade partners and establish lasting business relations.

This year’s Fresh Market Conference and Fruit Expo were held on September 23 at the Mazurkas Hotel in Ożarów Mazowiecki.

For many Polish vegetable and fruits producers it was their big opportunity of the year to establish business contacts in person with Poland’s top retail chains and to find clients from 15 other countries.

The conference provides a platform for the biggest and most dynamic fresh produce companies from Poland and abroad to present their offerings, attract trade partners and establish lasting business relations.

It brought together in one place representatives of the biggest retail chains from Poland, Russia and Belarus, such as Biedronka, Tesco, Carrefour, Intermarche, Selgros, Makro, Piotr & Paweł and Marcpol. 

Furthermore, over 130 companies from Poland, Italy, Spain, France, Chile, Ukraine, Holland, Egypt, Denmark, Great Britain, the Czech Republic, Hungary, Germany, Turkey and Greece participated in the conference. 

The event’s matchmakers helped attendees connect with the most appropriate people and companies present. 

And a series of lively panel discussions featuring fruit and vegetable sector experts, including representatives of fresh produce group and leaders from wholesale markets, provided further opportunities to make contacts and exchange information and views, such as on the current trade situation, prices and forecasts for coming months and next season.

Panels paint ways forward for Polish sector

One panel discussed the very difficult situation facing Polish orchardists, with input from Waldemar Żółcik from the Active Company, Polish fruit federation Appolonia president Michał Lachowicz, and Witold Boguta from the National Union of Fruit and Vegetables Producer Groups.

Lachowicz said a solution for Polish apple growers and exporters is to focus on the production of varieties that appeal to and will be bought by customers worldwide, a move requiring some restructure in Polish orchards.

Boguta said given the very low apples price at the moment, Polish growers do not have the financial means to increase their commercial activity.

Lachowicz argued for Polish fruit growers to unite in bigger organisations. In his opinion, such commercial organisations can not only provide representation for their members but have more clout in negotiations in foreign markets.

In a separate panel, the discussion focused on the permanent impact of the Russian embargo on imports of Polish vegetables.

Panelist Michał Groblewski, from the fruit and vegetable producer association Cuiavia, said the way forward is, with support of government agencies, to increase the promotion of Polish vegetables as much as possible in other markets around the globe.

Mirosław Łuska, from the association representing Polish pepper producers, said the fact that Poland’s pepper growers do not present a united front in foreign markets makes it harder to achieve export efficiency. However, while the Russian embargo has also taken its toll on Poland’s pepper growers, they have found new sale channels in different countries and even on other continents.

Farmgate sales of organic produce to take off in Poland

A third panel discussed the situation and outlook for organic fruit and vegetables in Poland and worldwide.

Urszula Sołtysiak from the company Agro Bio Test said there has been a big rise in the production and sale of organic products, especially fresh produce, and this is likely to be an enduring consumer trend.

Dorota Metera from the Bio Ekspert company said retail chains now sell much more organic produce than they did 3-4 years ago. Many supermarkets in Poland today have vast sections dedicated to organic products and their ‘eco’ stands are often surrounded by customers who value the health benefits of organic produce.

There was also discussion of the use of other sales channels – such as e-commerce – for organic produce.

Another channel involves direct sales by the growers themselves. Panelists said this farm-direct method is expected to take off in Polish villages when new rules come into effect on January 1 that allow organic farmers to sell their fresh produce without being hampered by red tape.


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