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Complicated situation for French apple exporters

A promising start to this year's apple season for French exporters turned into a complicated one as suppliers had to contend with a slew of problems. Volumes were off from early estimates, sizes skewed smaller than in previous years and exchange rates made it hard for exporters to enter some markets. But French suppliers are trying to adapt to the circumstances in order to finish off strong this year.

“We've had a complex market,” said Marc Peyres of Blue Whale, “which has been due to many factors.” For one, this year's French apple crop was delayed by about three weeks, and while the dearth of fruit made for good prices at the start of the season, the situation has changed during the last few weeks.

“Unfavourable weather in spring was responsible for an apple crop that turned out to be smaller than expected,” said Peyres. “So while customers want more fruit, we don't have the volume for it.” Further complicating the market has been the distribution of sizes for this year's crop. Peyres pointed out that average sizes can vary widely depending on the variety, but, in general, sizes have been smaller than in typical years.

“For some varieties, we have good sizes,” said Peyres. “But for others, the fruit is too small.” Exchange rates in some key markets have also spelled trouble for French exporters. Peyres also pointed to tricky political situations in some countries outside of Europe as a reason why they didn't fare well exporting outside the continent. Meanwhile, inside the E.U., overlapping Chilean and South African seasons resulted in increased competition. It all made for a complicated situation, but it's one Peyres said savvy exporters can handle.

“The situation is more complex than we initially thought,” said Peyres, “but I believe it will get better.” In that spirit, Blue Whale is expanding their product line with more organic varieties, like organic Crimson Crisps and organic Dalinette apples. Additionally, new orchards are coming into production that will augment their supplies of Fuji apples.

As far as their other products, they're also expanding, with a new deal to begin exporting kiwis to South Korea. “The next step will be for us to go to Japan,” said Peyres. “Our kiwis are selling as a premium product, so we need lots of different markets in order to keep a premium return.”

For more information:
Marc Peyres
Blue Whale
Tel +33

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