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Melons: a lucrative staple of EU fruit trade

Total melon imports within the European Union, including watermelon and papayas, last year reached a value of €1 billion and a volume of 1.7 million tons

Total melon imports within the European Union, including watermelon and papayas, last year reached a value of €1 billion and a volume of 1.7 million tons

The value of watermelon imports in the EU last year – €485.78 million – was almost equal to the €489.93 million total for imports of all other melon types combined. But the 1.09 million ton volume of watermelons imported was almost double that of the 599,339 tons total for all other other melons, revealing a considerable difference in value. While overall the melon trade remains mostly within the EU, for watermelons it is more mixed, with imports and exports to non-EU countries as well. In 2015, the perfect combination of weather, supply and consumption occurred in June and July, keeping prices and sales volumes high.

The market is becoming more EU-focused

Compared to 2014, European melon production and imports were lower in 2015, which allowed for a quite stable market and a slight rise in prices. Companies have released many innovations in the melon category, such as seedless or mini-varieties, packaging and in ready-to-eat products. Such innovations are important for the European market. The most important drivers for melons consumption are taste and convenience. According to a CBI (Confederation of British Industry) report, the EU imported 1.2 million tons of watermelons and 1 million tons of other melon varieties in 2014.

Developing countries the top suppliers

Within the EU, Spain is by far the largest melon exporter (especially watermelon), followed by Greece and Italy. France and Italy specialise in other melon varieties. However, every year extra-EU supplies from developing countries are increasing, especially from Costa Rica, Morocco, Brazil, Panama and Turkey. While most of the EU’s melons are sourced and sold within the EU, those from non-EU countries traded at higher prices in 2015. This is illustrated by the fact that imports from outside the EU represented 37% of the volume of melon sales in the EU yet a higher 49% of the value.

The EU’s main melon importers are Germany, France and the UK, which together account for 75% of total EU melon imports. Germany imported 475,251 tons of melons for a total value of €299.3 million, France imported a total volume of 257,697 tons for a value €164.6 million and the UK 136,480 tons for €82.8 million. About 70% of the EU’s melon trade takes place in summer. For instance, of the 482,264 tons of melons imported into the EU last year, 30% took place in July.

An extended peak season

Intra-EU imports of melons reached 599,339 tons in 2015 for a total value of €489.94 million. The main melon importers within the EU are Germany and France, for respective values of €106.8 million and €102.47 million. Extra-EU imports totalled 330,060 tons. The vast bulk of trade in melons take place over 3-4 months, with the peak period starting in late May and the last big volume of imports in September.

Watermelon

Intra-EU imports of watermelon reached 1.09 million tons in 2015. The biggest watermelon importer inside the EU is Germany, which represents almost 50% of total intra-EU imports (€178.2 million).

July is the peak season by far for the watermelon trade (over 350,000 tons for intra-EU ). Extra-EU imports totalled 260,001 tons (47% of intra-EU imports).

SM

Watermelon image thanks to stux via Pixabay (CC0 Public Domain)

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Fashion watermelon intensifies final consumer campaign

Backed by a production noted for high quality standards, Fashion watermelon has been present this season in all Spanish households, thanks to a widespread dissemination and advertising campaign.

Backed by a production noted for high quality standards, Fashion watermelon has been present this season in all Spanish households, thanks to a widespread dissemination and advertising campaign including the country’s main audio-visual communication groups. To this end, Europe’s ‘seedless’ frontrunner has sponsored TV entertainment shows such as ‘El Hormiguero’, ‘Sálvame’ and ‘Espejo Público’ as well as cookery programmes like ‘Al Punto’, and series such as ‘El secreto de Puente Viejo’ and ‘Amar es para siempre’, among others. Two actions were staged at the Atocha (Madrid) and Sants (Barcelona) railway stations as part of the spectacular marketing campaign, with eye-catching advertising posters beguiling thousands of travellers over several weeks. “Once again this year, our customers have been enjoying the uniform sweetness and crisp, refreshing texture of our watermelons. An effort which has undoubtedly been worthwhile,” adds the Fashion watermelon CEO.

Image: courtesy of http://www.sandiafashion.com/

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Patent sought for award-winning watermelon pouch

According to the andnowuknow website, the ‘ready-ripe watermelon pouch’ won the 2015 Innovation Award for Best New Packaging at United Fresh Produce Association trade show and has since been endorsed by America’s National Watermelon Association (NWA) for its ¼ sliced watermelon program.

A resealable, anti-fog watermelon pouch which comes with a handle for easy carrying is the subject of a United States patent application by Wisconsin-based grocery wholesaler The Fresh Group, Ltd.

The application says the zip-lock bag has a gusseted floor to accommodate a large watermelon slice. A transparent window allows consumers to see the watermelon inside the pouch, which also features an upwardly concave interior volume – to orient and stabilise a watermelon for best presentation and least damage – and sturdy sidewalls to support the pouch on a flat surface.

The packaging was developed to keep larger sliced produce, such as watermelon, viable, at a high quality level and freshness for consumption, and easy for the consumer to carry home, the document says.

In an interview with the Australian Broadcasting Corporation (ABC) earlier this year, Maglio product manager Joseph Delgadillo said an 11-day shelf life had been consistently achieved with watermelon in such a pouch. He said that in a trial in the US, the bags proved popular with consumers, who liked the added convenience, and retailers, who particularly appreciated the extended shelf-life. Delgadillo said the bag was attracting interest from other countries and markets and was a concept that would apply to other kinds of fresh produce, the ABC said.

The patent application has also been published by the World International Property Organization.

According to the andnowuknow website, the ‘ready-ripe watermelon pouch’ won the 2015 Innovation Award for Best New Packaging at United Fresh Produce Association trade show and has since been endorsed by America’s National Watermelon Association (NWA) for its ¼ sliced watermelon program.

 

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Some of the drawings included in the patent application.

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UK market sweet on honeydew, galia melons

Melon sales in the UK retail sector were up 6.2% in volume and 4.9% in value for the 52 weeks to March 29, Kantar Worldpanel data shows.

Melon sales in the UK retail sector were up 6.2% in volume and 4.9% in value for the 52 weeks to March 29, Kantar Worldpanel data shows.

Altogether 134,402 tons of melons were sold, for a total spend of nearly £135 million (€187m), with honeydew/yellow and Galia accounting for nearly 62% of that value. Honeydew/yellow sales were up 6.3% in volume and 4.1% in value on the previous 52 weeks, and Galia 4.3% for both.

But the biggest percentage change was seen for watermelon, Piel de Sapo and Charentais melons. Watermelon – which accounted for just under a sixth of the total melon spend – enjoyed growth of 13.4% in value year-on-year and 14% in volume (to 30,570 tons).

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Piel de Sapo gained almost 11% in value and 12.3% in volume (to 5,297 tons) and the specialty melon Charentais leapt up 190% in value and 171% in volume but off a much smaller base – 251 tons sold for the year to March 29.

Cantaloupe sales slipped 1.6% in value and by the same amount in volume, to 13,054 tons.

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