“Demand for prickly pears has been increasing in recent years,” says Frits de Bruin of Nature’s Pride. The buyer has been working with prickly pears for years, and is therefore not just familiar with the potential, but also with the limitations of the product. “From August to November, they’re available in large numbers from Sicily, but it’s difficult to supply them year-round outside of the season. Due to their short season, the prickly pear remains a niche product.”
“The Italian season has been going well this year. Prickly pears are shipped in large numbers at once, so that it’s actually difficult to get prices at the right level throughout the Italian season. Yet we’ve seen renewed interest from German and Dutch retailers to agree to programmes for prickly pears this year as well. The product has potential, and we’re always willing to provide our customers with any necessary marketing support,” Frits says.
“Outside of the window from August to November, it continues to be difficult to get continuity in supply. We work with a supplier from Colombia, who ships us the prickly pears both in containers and via air freight, but that is a completely different price class, and retailers aren’t queuing up for those,” Frits continues. “We’re currently working on importing prickly pears from Peru, in order to extend the season, and hopefully supply our customers with larger and more constant volumes in winter.”
“The production of prickly pears isn’t an easy process. A few years ago, South Africa still had a fairly large production, and we imported a few containers from them every year. However, yields were fairly low, and because means are a necessity in this production, all producers stopped their productions one by one for fear of MRL infringements. All in all, prickly pears continue to be a challenging product to supply year-round, but with our growers we’re working on utilising the potential of this product as much as possible,” Frits concludes.