Between January and March, in Germany and Europe the demand for bananas traditionally increases. Thus, prices are starting to rise slowly. "The quality is satisfactory and there are only minimal or no delays in overseas deliveries. At the moment, premium wares are priced at €12.00 per box, Category 1 go for between €10.50 and 11.00 and I expect a rise of €0.50 to 1.00 per week in the next few weeks," says Severus Nacsa, Export Sales Manager at Andretta Fruchtimport GmbH. That's a full euro less than in the same period last year. The company currently buys its goods from Colombia and Costa Rica, and smaller quantities come in from Guatemala and Ecuador.
Normally, prices will rise quicker in weeks 3-5. The late rise is a consequence of the Christmas season: "Since both Christmas and New Year fell in the middle of the week, only a few goods were shipped." It was only in week 2 that the forwarders got going again, so now some 'older' goods were intermixed with newer supplies." Due to the high demand, these products were marketed quickly, so little is left for the market, which led to a price increase. "Everything is still average right now, but as soon as the stocks that accumulated have been marketed, prices will probably react - we have a good buffer."
"For the free market, the main demand comes from Eastern Europe. In Germany, all food retailers have solid contracts, and only in moments of scarcity will they use the spot market." Due to the good demand there has been a partial increase of €2.00 per week on the open market in recent years. "But in the summer it went down just as fast." In addition, there were delays of up to four days. In those situations, everyone will pay any price to get bananas."
Andretta Fruchtimport GmbH has its seat at the Stuttgart wholesale market. From there, the company supplies organic food retailers in Germany with bananas and around 100 other types of fruit and vegetables. The Eastern European market is serviced by a ripening firm and long-term partner of Andretta. The company's services also include logistics, quality management and a modern banana ripening facility.