Michel Lesage, Lesage Champignons:
"Mushroom trade going well, England becoming more difficult"
"The mushroom trade is busy at the moment. The season has started again and it's going well," says Michel Lesage of Lesage Champignons enthusiastically. "We have had a very good summer. September was lower in temperature, so we can't complain. There were also continual shortages and we heard of quality problems here and there."
He indicates that they have few problems supplying the right quality at Lesage. "It isn't the easiest period to be growing in, but we invested in a special climate installation. With this we are better able to tackle this problem." Mushrooms are increasingly popular. "It's a product that is being used more, partially due to the promotion in cooking programmes. Both domestically and abroad the demand is good. We also sell a lot to Spain and Portugal. This is usually just int he summer, but at the moment it is continuing."
Yet it isn't all rosy. "England remains difficult. A lot of our products go to the United Kingdom, but this is lessening. Due to Brexit the exchange rate is unfavourable and it's difficult to carry through an increase in price there. Everything is becoming more expensive for the importers there and they are focusing more and more on what's cheapest. For these reasons we are no longer actively investing in England. It doesn't look like there's going to be a positive shift any time soon."
Smaller time span
According to Michel the opportunities are closer to home. "The Belgian market has a good demand and the supermarkets are very active in promoting local produce. We have to play into this as much as we can. The sales are also more stable than in the area of export. It's also much easier logistically. Quick delivery is key and this is manageable in Belgium. A lot has changed here. We used to supply over a number of days, now it's hours. We like to play into this quick demand."
Shrinking cultivation area
He looks towards the coming years with positivity. "The pressure from imported mushrooms from Poland is gone as far as we're concerned. They just can't up to it in terms of quality and in the area of reliability of supply. I also see a decline in the supply. There are producers who want to stop and don't have anyone to succeed them. This will also cause a breathing space. What will still be a challenge in the future is getting the right staff and keeping them. Your company is nothing without good people. It's important to invest in this."
Publication date: 10/23/2017
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