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Ive Lambert, Starfruit:

Lime importers without regular customers are ruining the market

Now that December is here it is very busy for the exotic fruit specialist, Starfruit. According to Ive Lamert the market for limes is recovering somewhat after some difficult weeks. "Starting at the end of the week the market will start declining again. Due to a drought in Brazil the season got a late start and the fruit was much smaller, especially the 60 and 63 sized fruits. Some even shipped size 72 in order to fill the containers. The current sizes are 48 and 54, so that is a big difference."

More supply from Brazil
Lambert talks about how the situation was a few weeks ago. "At the time we were getting 8 containers from Brazil whereas in previous years we would get 40 containers in the same time period. A few weeks ago it rained again in Brazil, so the supply increased and the sizes better." He also notes that limes are coming from Mexico and Guatemala as well, but that the Brazilian limes are of a higher quality. 




Prices up to 16 Euro
Over a month ago the price was coming out of a slump. "At the time prices were around 5, 6 Euro. You would get more for the better brands, maybe around 7 Euro. When there was a shortage the price would rapidly increase to, on average, 13/14 Euro. We even had to fly in more. Then you are looking at a hefty price tag including import tax, so then it was costing 15/16 Euro." He expects the price to fall to 12 Euro by the end of this week. "Maybe even lower and this trend will persist in the coming weeks. But that will not continue for long because there is always a peak around the holidays. After New year the price will fall considerably."

Messed up
Ive tells us that prices used to be much more stable. "Before you used to have fixed importers, who also had their own market. With the increased popularity came more and more importers with an order. They see the higher prices and order a container. By the time the limes arrive, the market is different and demand has decreased. The problem is that the other importers do not have any fixed customers so this screws everything up. You cannot store limes for weeks and weeks, you have to sell them off. This is the cause of fluctuations seen in the market in the last few years, from extremely high to extremely low. This will only increase in the coming years, as expected." He also sees that lime sales have increased in the last few years. "Ten years ago almost no one drank Mojitos, but now even outside the summer months you will see this drink on the menu."


For more information:
Ive Lambert
Starfruit Company
Werkhuizenkaai 112-154
Brussel - België
Tel: + 32-022420876
Fax: + 32-022421208
www.star-fruit.eu

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