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Cédric Geens, Jonckheere:

South African grapefruit prices at historic high

It is still too early for Florida grapefruit, but South African grapefruit is still on the market. There is not much on the import market in Brussels, "This is mainly due to the fact that Belgians have a preference for Florida grapefruit," says Cédric Geens from Jonckheere import company. 

Historic high
Cédric thinks it is interesting that the South African grapefruit prices are so high, "The season ended on 18 Euro, that is an historic high. You can see that the markets are seriously changing. Europe is no longer South Africa's only customer; South Africa is concentrating more and more on other markets as well." Cédric believes that the historic high has passed, "I expect that South Africa will focus more on Europe again in the coming years. The euphoria in China is gone; we, along with other continents, will definitely feel this."

Predictions for Florida
It has yet to be seen how the season in Florida will start, "The market is unpredictable, but there are always expectations of course. Up to now everything has been looking pretty normal, but there are several factors that will either be to our advantage or disadvantage. The advantage is that the entire South African season was quite expensive and the market will be empty when the Florida grapefruit arrive. This means that we will most likely have a good start to the season. In addition, the price gap between the South African and Florida grapefruit will probably be smaller this year. Usually the South African grapefruit are around 9 or 10 Euro and then the price jumps ten Euro higher when the Florida grapefruit come on the market. This scares a lot of customers. Right now the South African grapefruit are 18 Euro and the Florida grapefruit will start around 20 Euro." Cédric believes the strong US dollar puts them at a disadvantage, "The cost price for the Florida grapefruit will most likely be high for the entire season. We will see how the markets will react to that. I am not too worried about what will happen here in Belgium; the Belgians are big supporters of this high quality grapefruit."

South African quality
Jonckheere is a specialist in Florida grapefruit and imports them directly. The rest of the year they get their volumes from Spain, Turkey and (partly) South Africa, "When the Florida season ends we often supply South African grapefruit to Dutch importers so that we still have something to offer. Then sales crash and we quickly stop supplying this grapefruit. This mostly has to do with the quality of the South African grapefruit. On the Brussels market there is only one supermarket left that is selling the South African grapefruit. The Belgians are very sensitive to quality, and not only with grapefruit, but with all products."

For more information:
Stefan Andriani
Cedric Geens
W. Jonckheere SPRL
Werkhuizenkaai 112
1000 Brussels
Tel: +32 - 22426103
Fax: +32 - 22451079

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