“Our Brazilian lime season started a few weeks ago. From now on, we expect to receive the better volumes. This is necessary as the retail always demands more around Christmas time. This is why Mexico is still in the market with the necessary volume as well. After Christmas, we expect Mexico will lower its volumes and Brazil will be the main supplier”, explains Efrain Saucedo Nuñez from Fruta del Huerto, a producer based in Breda, the Netherlands.
He expect a positive season for the import of Brazilian limes. “During the past few weeks we received smaller sizes. However, the weather has been positive for the production. There has been rainfall over the last few weeks. The rain is positive for limes to get bigger in size, so we expect to have better sizes available soon. I believe sales will improve and it will be easier, as the smaller sizes like 60-63 are sometimes difficult to market.”
Brazil has new plantings which will start supplying good volumes this year. “I have visited plantations in Brazil this September and I saw the limes on the tree already. We don´t foresee that the weather will affect the production a lot this season. There will most likely be more rain, but probably not in the regions of the lime production. Mexico is dealing with some quality issues because of the extremely wet months September and October.”
Different origins in the market
Fruta del Huerto Produces and Imports Mexican Limes and Imports Brazilian limes into the Dutch market. “We notice that there is supply from other origins as well, such as Guatemala and Colombia. However, these origins are mostly not accepted by the supermarkets yet. This means that these limes end up at the wholesale market at lower prices. This is unfavourable for the Brazilian and Mexican supply.”
“There is not much availability of limes in Europe at the moment, but every now and then we get comments on our prices because of what's happening. The price per box of the other origins are sometimes 1 euro less than our prices, continues Efrain. The demand in Europe is good, but pricewise Guatemala and Colombia hinder the Brazilian supply. We do not encourage other countries such as Guatemala, Colombia and even Peru to supply Europe because Brazil and Mexico, with the exception of a few weeks in the year, have more than enough limes to meet demand.
As a company they invest and see a lot of potential in untreated limes. “The demand for bio is growing, however, we see more potential in the untreated limes. This means no treatments after the harvest. We noticed the appreciation from the retail for untreated limes as well. The advantage of having untreated limes compared to bio production is a better quality. In addition, we can guarantee a year-round supply. In bio limes, it’s impossible to guarantee constant supply.” We have untreated Limes both from Brazil and from Mexico. Next season we expect to offer Untreated Fairtrade Limes from our own Farms from Mexico. A step forward in sustainable supply.
Efrain explains that the consumption of limes in Europe is mostly for cuisine. “There are some brands in the market that are active in cross merchandising. However, in my opinion there are almost no activities in supermarkets to stimulate the consumption of limes. Limes aren’t a very big product group. Even though it’s a growing and developing market, as the demand rises and the import volumes increase.”
“There are many people who aren´t exactly aware of what to do with limes. Consumers might compare them with lemons, but the taste is very different”, says the importer. “Giving more attention to a certain product will always stimulate the consumption.”