Italy: Things are slow at CAAT

"Things have been rather slow over the past few months, with dropping quotations despite the good quality," reports an operator from Centro Agro-Alimentare di Torino.

As regards seasonal vegetables, the price of cabbage, broccoli, cauliflowers and Savoy cabbage hovers between €0.30-0.60/kg, the only exception being turnip greens, which reach €1 for good-quality produce. Oakleaf and Iceberg lettuce are sold at €1-1.20/kg, while the rest is sold at €0.50-0.70/kg. 

The hope is for courgette prices to pick up as well, which so far have reached €1.20-1.30/ for the white and €1.10/kg for the dark-coloured variety. It also seems the hailstorms and frost of the past few days in Almeria have damaged production, meaning fewer quantities and therefore higher prices. Peppers from Southern Italy sell at €1.50-1.60/kg while those from Spain sell at €1.60-1.80/kg. 

The market of winter tomatoes (ribbed, camone and merinda) is rather critical, with prices between €0.80-1.50/kg caused not so much by the lack of quality, but rather by the lack of demand. Beefsteak and plum tomatoes were much more popular.

Trends have changed over the past few years: artichokes used to be very popular and are now difficult to sell, with very low quotations (8-17 eurocents/head) due to the high quantities available. Consumers only require semi-processed artichokes in trays.

Potatoes are also going through a rough patch, as the high volumes compromised quotations (€0.22-0.45/kg). Fennel is sold at the same price.

The fruit segment hasn't been doing so well, as the price of apples has increased by 15 eurocents/kg. Top-quality apples actually sell at €2/kg.

Banana prices have also increased, thanks to the fewer quantities from Costa Rica. Other tropical fruit also sells well: even though they are bought not for their price but for their appearance, the colour of mangoes and papayas drives purchases.

The citrus fruit market hasn't been characterised by exceptional movements. Clementines are more popular between November and December, while oranges sell more from January onward. Clementine quantities decrease every year, as they are not much appreciated and maybe not very 'understood' by consumers. At the moment, the quotations of Spanish clementines and oranges hover between €1.20-1.50/kg depending on grade.

Kiwis are doing well: unbranded domestic ones sell at €1.50-1.80/kg, while Zespri kiwis sell at €3.50-3.80/kg.

Strawberries have become available one month ago and they sell at €3.50-4.00/kg (from Sicily) or at €5.00-6.50/kg (Candonga).

Fruit is doing much better than vegetables, for which prices have dropped due to the lower demand.

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