“Last year, hurricane Irma caused a lot of damage in Florida. Tropical storms rarely affect the interior, but at the time, Irma also wreaked havoc on the grapefruit plantations. We’ll be feeling the consequences of this due to a lower production, resulting in less supply, this season,” says Cédric Geens of importer W. Jonckheere. “We expect 50 per cent less volume until the new year, which will also affect prices. Florida grapefruit has a very strong domestic market, but also a very strong export market. Because of this, exporters can easily get good prices for their products elsewhere.”
Cédric Geens, left, and Stefan Andriani of W. Jonckheere.
“Florida grapefruit is a very specific product and is seen as the best of the best. The South African, Spanish and Turkish fruit isn’t as good regarding flavour and quality compared to the product from Florida. Yet consumers don’t eat a lot of grapefruit. Belgium, however, has a good market for grapefruit, people are willing to spend more money on a qualitatively good product,” Cédric says. Due to the low supply, the trader is worried Florida grapefruit will be forgotten. “We supply the grapefruit mostly to wholesalers, and we can’t supply them until January due to the low volume. It would be a shame if the product were forgotten.”
The importer says demand for citrus is changeable at the moment. “The weather affects demand, it’s still too warm for the time of year. The weather from last summer also has an effect on the quality of the citrus. The citrus is fine regarding flavour, but based on appearance, a lot more was removed during sorting this season. Yet we’re still waiting for the majority of the Spanish citrus, and we’er therefore also still waiting for what the rest of the season has in store for us,” Cédric says. “The cactus fig season is also slightly less than in previous years. The weather wasn’t optimal, so that volumes are much lower than in the past.”
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