The warm spring following Easter this year has caused the banana market to collapse in many European countries.
"Prices have dropped by 50% in just the last 4 weeks. Summer fruits, which have started early this year, like strawberries and cherries, have caused an immediate slowdown of banana sales. On top of that, leading producing countries like Poland are facing a new, and previously unknown problem, ... a shortage of labour. Unemployment in Poland has dropped below 6,2% creating large vacancies in the agriculture industry," explains Bartosz Szatkowski from Quiza.
The European banana import industry is still dominated by companies in the Benelux and Germany, whose ports receive the majority of imported bananas from Central America and Africa. However, Polish banana importers receive around 60% of their supply from direct imports, coming from Ecuador, Colombia, Costa Rica, Guatemala, Nicaragua and the Dominican Republic.
"Re-export of bananas imported to Poland constitutes only a 15% share of trade, primarily with the countries of Eastern Europe: Ukraine, Belarus, Romania, and the Baltic States. Most of the neighbouring countries bring these fruits from the production areas on their own," shared Bartosz Szatkowski.
According to Eurostat Poland imported an estimated 485.000 tons of bananas in 2017. The consumption of bananas on the Polish market is stable at 8 kg per capita per year and continues to grow.
"Strong price competition between retailers operating on the Polish market gives the consumers a broad selection of places to find new options, especially in the case of fruit and vegetables, where price is a key factor for 53% of Polish consumers," said Bartosz Szatkowski.
In Poland, the sales of bananas are carried out by discount stores (30.3% of the total number of sales places), supermarkets (16.4%) and hypermarkets (13.5%). The other distribution channels are multi-assortment stores (11.6%) and street vendors (14.0%).
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