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"We should market tasty tomatoes"
Spanish cherry tomatoes - less competition from central Europe and Italy
Organic cherry tomatoes prices have not been very good so far in this campaign. They have been very measured and controlled by large distributors. However, the market could improve in the coming weeks.
"We expect prices to increase a bit in the following weeks, as we expect Central Europe will produce less volumes of cherry tomato than last year," said David Caparros of the Balcon de Nijar company from Almeria. "We expect May and June will be better than in 2017, as they were quite negative last year. In addition, our late crops have yielded more production than is usual at this moment. As a result, we'll have a good production level and, hopefully, better prices," he added.
Spanish cherry tomatoes are currently competing with Italian cherry tomatoes. However, the Italian production could dwindle due to the bad weather and frosts that are currently affecting Italy. Italian cherry tomato volumes are expected to drop in the coming weeks.
The next few months will be key, as that's the moment that Europe begins to transition from the Spanish production to its local production."This trend is becoming increasingly common, European channels are betting more on the local product when it is available. In addition, local production schedules are increasingly long, with the exception of July and September, in which there is less pressure," stated the exporter.
The Balcon de Nijar company specializes in the production and commercialization of organic cherry tomato. "All our production is organic since 2007. We offer teardrop cherry tomatoes and round cherry tomatoes throughout the whole year, and vine cherry tomato throughout most of the year. We also produce vine tomatoes from December to June and other rotation products, such as peas, zucchini, and watermelon." This company's main markets for its cherry tomatoes are Germany and the Netherlands, followed by the United Kingdom, the Nordic countries, France, Portugal, and the Czech Republic, among others. "In the last three years we have noticed a large increase in demand from the Netherlands, both for local consumption and for re-exportation."
Retailers must know how to differentiate the tomatoes to be able to offer tasty tomatoes
In recent years the cherry tomato seems to have become a commodity. "There is a lot of talk that you have to bet on tasty varieties, but one must understand several nuances. Finding productive varieties that compensate losses is very important, specially in organic production. If we offer varieties that have more flavor but are less productive, the large distribution must be able to pay prices that compensate producers for these losses."
"To do this, I think consumers should be aware of what they are buying. They need chains to give them more information on the differentiation of varieties. We can send a very good tomato to the market but if the retailers do not differentiate it, the client won't know what variety it is and won't be able to buy it again. A good variety may have different flavors depending on the area where it is produced, the type of soil, water, handling and many other factors... it is not as easy as it seems."
Round cherry tomato production stabilizes and the teardrop cherry increases
According to David Caparros, the demand and supply of organic cherry tomatoes continues to grow.
"We've noticed that there is a certain stabilization in the growth of the area devoted to round cherry tomatoes. However, the production of cherry tomatoes continues to increase every year. There's been an increase in demand for cherry tomatoes in Germany and the Netherlands in recent years, as this tomato tends to be tastier and have higher Brix degrees. However, as production increases, prices decrease.
Larger containers trend
"We work with all types of packaging, and most people would think there is a trend for smaller packages, but it's quite the opposite in cherry tomatoes. In the Netherlands, for example, consumers demand containers of 200 and 400 grams. Distribution chains, which seek to reduce costs, even seem to prefer the 500 grams container in organic production," he added.
For more information:David Caparrós
Balcón de Níjar
T: +34 950 955 936
M: +34 619784 016
Publication date: 3/1/2018
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