"Compared to last year, a 13% increase in volume is observed," Dominiek continues. "At the moment, we're at 2.8 million kilos of supplies so far this season. When it comes to buyers, about 50% is destined for the domestic market, and 50% for abroad. At certain times, the export share is even 60%. We are pleased to see the share grow, so we can really play a significant role in supply to Belgian retailers."
Not just in strawberries, but also in other soft fruit varieties, REO Veiling is gradually developing. "We're still small in raspberries and other berries, but there is increasing interest from growers to produce soft fruit. We can only applaud that. Soft fruit is truly a rewarding product group, with which children are also more easily persuaded than with other fruit or vegetables."
Higher supply in soft fruit, he says, doesn't have to cause negative pricing. "Especially when you look at the latest GfK figures. Some fruit varieties are struggling, but a clear increase is noticeable in strawberries. In Belgium, we eat 1.7 kilos a year on average. Five years ago, that was 1.5 kilos. And more families are buying strawberries as well. Last year, the penetration was 74%, while five years ago it was less than 70%. With raspberries, the penetration was 23% last year, so that means there's still a potential for 77%. Perhaps the higher prices in stores cause people to hesitate when buying raspberries, going for other products instead. But it's definitely still evolving."