About 90 percent of the world's cabbage is produced in Europe and Asia. In Northern Europe, there is a good market for cabbage. This situation is partly due to the growth of the convenience market. Cabbage is added to many of these products. While small cabbages thrive in these countries, Russian consumers actually have a preference for the large sizes. In the US, growers are facing problems with the cultivation that are delaying the supply and pushing prices up.
Moth problematic for US crops
Thanks to the mild climate in the Santa Maria Valley, California, growers are able to produce cabbage all year round. The harvest of red and savoy cabbage does indeed take place during the entire year, according to a producer. In the warm spring and hot summer, the growing season lasts for 125 days. In the cool months in the autumn and winter, this is extended to 165 days. At this time of the year, the Central Valley in California and the eastern states of Georgia and New Jersey are also on the market.
Growers in the west of the country are being forced to deal with the Diamond Black moth. Despite the good supply from other parts of the country, the volume is consequently under pressure, resulting in an upward trend for prices.
Ahead of celebrations like Thanksgiving and St. Patrick's Day, the demand for cabbage increases. There is a particularly good market for savoy cabbage, which is much more popular than the red. Demand increases because the cabbage is widely used in fresh-cut salads.
Cabbage market grows in Belgium
In Belgium, the popularity of white cabbage is on the rise. While this variety is already very common in the Netherlands, in Belgium it is still much lesser known. A grower stated they were unable to meet the high demand for this cabbage. He plans to have it available for 6 months. The red variety is even less known than the white, with some interest from the hospitality industry, but almost none from the market. In general, the Belgian cabbage market is recording a positive flow. The demand for cabbage is switching towards smaller sizes, weighing between 1.3 and 2.2 kilos. Thanks to ready-to-eat meals, the demand for cabbage has increased in recent years.
Russians demand large cabbages
Up until November, there is enough domestic cabbage available on the Russian market. Afterwards, Serbia comes to the market. A major importer explains that the market has been negatively affected by the boycott. The company says that they used to import from the Netherlands, Germany and Poland, three countries which have been cut off as trading partners by the boycott. There is some smuggling through Belarus, mainly of Polish cabbage, but the market for those products seems to be shrinking.
The Russian consumer has a preference for white, Chinese and red cabbage, with the white being the big favourite. There is a especially good demand for the large sizes. In general, there is little demand for the smaller sizes that do just fine in other parts of Europe. The market records a peak in the winter months, while in summer the demand is considerably reduced. Furthermore, the market is prone to price fluctuations and changes in the supply.
Germany: Cabbage remains popular
A trader explains that a large share of the cabbage they market is imported from Italy. Over the last two years, the demand for cabbage has increased. The product remains popular among German consumers, with the green, red and white varieties doing particularly well. According to a trader, this is due to the versatility of cabbage. Traditional vegetables such as cabbage and potatoes do well on the German market. A company explains that in the wake of the growing demand in recent years, their production has also expanded by 5%.
Portugal grows cabbage for export
Although Chinese cabbage is not a popular product among Portuguese consumers, a company managed to see the potential of the product on the Nordic markets. The grower currently produces cabbage in the winter months for the Nordic countries and the UK. This way, the country fills in the gaps in the seasons of the Nordic countries. The season runs from November to May. Last year, Portuguese growers had a good season. Several countries suffered problems with the quality and demand was good. The southern European country was almost alone on the market for over a month. The grower tested the cultivation of red Chinese cabbage, a product which they believe has a good potential. Portuguese consumers have a preference for more traditional types of cabbage.
Italy expects good harvest
The main growing areas are located in southern Italy. Lazio, Veneto and Emilia Romagna, are the largest cabbage producers. The cabbage supply is very diverse, ranging in colour from white to dark red. The season in Verona, Padua and Rovigo has started well for the 300 growers based there. The summer months were not too hot, so prospects point to a good harvest in the middle of this month. The acreage devoted to savoy cabbage is under pressure, with a 30% decrease already confirmed.
Due to the large supply of vegetables, the price on the market in Lusia was low in early October. The sudden drop in temperatures led to increased demand for cabbage in the Turin market. The sale of savoy cabbage has been doing well, with prices ranging between 0.40 and 0.45 Euro per kilo for cabbage from Piedmont and Veneto. A new trend is the growing popularity of kale in the market. This cabbage owes its growth to its status as a superfood.
Prices in France range from 50 to 75 cents per piece, depending on the variety and quality. Organic cabbage is much more expensive, with a price of between 3 and 4 Euro.
Every week, FreshPlaza and AGF.nl publish an overview of the market situation of a product in a global context. With these articles we aim to provide a view of a global market shrinking due to globalisation. Next week, pears will be on the spotlight.