On the exotic fruit market, December was a relatively good month. However, the ‘yellow vests’ protests did pose some problems. “The yellow vests disrupted wholesale markets and supermarket chains. As a result, our customers didn’t have much of a holiday spirit,” explains Stéphane des Roziers, who works for a major importer of the Rungis market. “In the end, 2018 was a normal year: not bad, but not exceptional either.”
The lychee, a festive product
The most highly demanded products in the holiday season are the mango and the lychee. For the lychee, the season started mid-November and will last until the Chinese New Year in February. According to Stéphane, the fruit is very popular among consumers. “The lychee is associated with winter and the holidays. Customers who buy it like to feel the heat of the tropics in the heart of winter.”
French supermarkets have been selling lychees from Madagascar for years. But they are searching for other types, less ‘low cost’. Some importers have turned to South Africa and Mozambique. “The quality of the lychees from these countries is better,” Stéphane explains. “Although they are of the same variety, the lychees from Mozambique and South Africa are more juicy and less sour than the ones from Madagascar, which are often picked too early. Many clients are willing to pay a higher price for this quality.”
Up until Christmas, the lychees from these countries were transported by aircraft. Soon, the first fruits shipped by boat will arrive.
Few mangoes available
“Exceptionally, we had a period with very few mangoes available right before Christmas, between December 20th and 24th. It is a strange period. We ran out of mangoes from Brazil before the ones from Peru arrived, because Peruvian farmers were striking to obtain higher returns. Since we were out of mangoes shipped by boat, customers turned to the mangoes imported by aircraft. Unfortunately, there was little airspace available right before Christmas. Many fruits departed too late and were stuck at airports. So we experienced some shortages. Now the situation is back to normal regarding the mangoes imported by plane. For the mangoes shipped by boat, there is a little bit of shortage, but this will resolve within a week at the most.”
Avocado consumption still increasing
The consumption of avocados continues to progress everywhere in Europe.
He concludes: “We must consume exotic products. They are good for our health and good for the morale!”