All over northern Europe, after a hot, dry summer, there are problems with the supply of onions. Some sources are expecting shortages, while others are still approaching the situation in a more relaxed way. Daniel Voll, manager of Vau-Ge GmbH in Bobenheim-Roxheim in the Palatinate: "At the moment we are selling in-stock goods that were harvested in Europe in August and September. New goods will soon be available from New Zealand, but new European onions will only be available from Italy and Spain, from the end of April until the beginning of May."
"This year, the market is cleared very well by the extreme drought and inventories are as low as they have been for a number of years - but, in my opinion, there are enough onions available in Europe." He does not believe there is an emergency. "Packers who need to deliver daily to large supermarket chains might feel the pressure a bit more than we do, of course.We, as a shipping company, have it a little easier and in any event we can also source goods from other German states, the Netherlands or France."
He expects an earlier, stronger start of New Zealand sales on the German market. That's how it generally goes. "In recent years, more and more attempts have been made to market European onions as long as possible. And this is not without reason, I think. Why bring shiploads of goods from Tasmania, New Zealand or even Argentina to Germany, when there are European growers having trouble selling their vegetables?"
The quality of the onions is not significantly worse this year, says Voll. The difference to the past years would be in the selection of the retail trade: "This year many bulbs are traded, which would have been rejected in the past many times. Everyone knows that there is not much in circulation and so all trade partners are really somewhat less picky." He questions the extremely fussy selection criteria in normal harvest years as well: "If the packers and dealers know that there are onions available in large quantities, sometimes even good quality lots are criticized."
Prices are currently at € 0.45-0.50 per kilo and thus far above the ratings of the last 20 years, says Voll. "Last month, there was another price hike of 10-12 cents. But compared to the last few years, only half of the common supply is still available, so prices are fully justified."