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Conserve Italia

Paolo Sgorbati: "No growth for preserved fruit"

Paolo Sgorbati, Conserve Italia Group’s produce and agricultural services manager, spoke about the global market of preserved fruit, where Italy shows a halved turnover compared to France: 65 million Euro vs 130 million Euro.

With four factories in the south-east of France, a turnover of 200 million and 400 permanent employees, Conserve France is now under the same general management of Italy, in order to make better use of synergies, handling the same processing, except for juice: fruit, tomatoes and vegetables.

Production (in tons) of peaches in Europe, trend 2005-2012.

In the last 10 years, peach and pear production in Europe has been halved. Italy and France show the same problem of acreage reduction as those who grow peaches destined to industry must meet determined rules and standards and for this big retail does not identify an increase in costs.

Production costs of peaches in syrup in the main producing countries. (Source Profel, 2009)

"The market is mellow, for preserved fruit no growth is expected. But, while fruit in syrup production was halved, in the same period its consumption recorded only a 25% decrease" Paolo Sgorbati said.

In practise, consumption is greater than supply and the gap of 30,000-40,000 tons is covered by an increase of third country export. Among these, Argentina shows an increase of acreage, but not too significant to cover the gap. On the contrarySouth African export trend is decreasing.

The United States, first producer in the world, recorded also a decrease, from 600,000 tons to less than 400,000, with prices lower than costs.

Chinese peaches in syrup imports in the United States, 2002-2011.

On the contrary China increased significantly its export to the United States (chart above), from 115,000 to 2,280,000 boxes, and also to the European Union (chart below). "On these products there is no control about MRLs, no product standardization, no constant quality and there is no interlocutors professionalism. The increase in Chinese consumption and the lower supply destined to export are reducing the power of the Asiatic giant" Sgorbati underlined.

Canned peach imports from China to EU.

"The demand of health, traceability and food safety gives very narrow profit margins, but in the end the price always makes the difference, for big retail but also for discounters" Sgorbati continued.

For pears and peaches this means an acreage reduction. In Europe, the total peach production from 2005 to 2012 has gone from 1,200,000 to less than 800,000 tons.

In the last three years, France lost 25% of peach production. Also the Spanish one  decreased from 475,000 to 250,000 tons; in 2011 the processing of Spanish products decreased from 130,000 to 48,000 tons and some factories in Spain even closed for chain mismanagement.

Finally, the greatest canned peach production, Greece shows the same reduction in peach production. The negative trend signals a decrease from 350,000 to 170,000 tons.

As for Conserve Italia, from 13,000 tons of processing products it has now reached 6,500 tons. After some fluctuations, Conserve France should reach again its standard of 12,000-13,000 tons this year.

Forecast for 2012 campaign
The acreage reduction trend continues in the whole of Europe. For this reason a good individual production is expected but in total it is still decreasing.

Italy and France: 5-10% down compared to 2011.
Spain: 10% down with fresh market and fruit purées as destinations.
Greece: the same as in 2011, but with some difficulties in raising cash by processing industries.

Price level of raw material will rely much more on industry demand of European product. In general, no price reduction are expected compared to 2011.

Williams pears
Lower production is expected compared to 2011.
France: 10% down.
Italy: 10-15% down. Some economical difficulties are expected for some industries.
Spain: 5-10% down with fresh market as main destination.

Finally, both for peach production and pear one problems in the whole southern hemisphere were recorded.
South America: lower production due to climate damages.
South Africa: the very strong local currency determined growing prices of final product, in particular on English market.
Australia: decreasing production and non-European destination markets.

Paolo Sgorbati
Conserve Italia
Via Paolo Poggi 11
San Lazzaro di Savena (BO)
Phone: +39 (0)51 6228311
Fax: +39 (0)51 6228312
Email: psgorbati@ccci.it
Web: www.conserveitalia.it

Publication date: 5/25/2012


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