He indicates that the improvement of the market is normal for this time of year. "Belgian endive is still a winter vegetable, of course. It all started around mid-November and there were more promotions in supermarkets." He points out that a change from 'old' to 'new' tap roots is more and more noticeable in recent years. "There is summer and winter endive, and around October/November, that change of seasons occurs. In that period, supplies are disrupted, and it's more difficult to get good quality. So in turn, the endive is more expensive then."
Coosemans exports to different parts of the world, including America, Canada and Asia. "We have been exporting for 30 years now, and the export has become quite stable when it comes to volumes and prices. We are suffering much less from fluctuations, domestically for instance. Good volumes are going to America, but it has stalled. Still, that's not a bad thing, because the market situation has been more difficult in recent years. There's more competition, so it's quite a feat if you can manage to hold onto volumes." He sees a large expansion of Belgian endive production, mainly in the state of California. "There's a large producer there, which has expanded. Particularly in California, large stores prefer own production. On the west coast, this endive producer has a firm hold on the market from north to south. Not so much on the east coast, because it's more expensive for them to ship there as well."
Product of nature
Export to Asia is also stalling. "The volumes going there, are stable. When it comes to packagings, this market is similar to America. Japan is an exception. Regulations are stricter there than in the US. That does mean you are likely to get a better price though. Demand in Asia can also fluctuate. In Japan, for instance, they work with a number of items per crate. It takes quite a bit of work to fit 30 stems into a 4.5 kilo crate. Perhaps they think endive is made in a factory, but it's still a product of nature, of course."