“The pear market is in a lot of difficulty this year, because of last summer’s warm and dry weather. People overestimated the quality of the pears, and they took a lot of risks by waiting too long to sell. Pears that should’ve been sold in February, were sold in March or April. Too often, people waited to sell, at the expensive of quality. The bad quality is bringing down the image of the market, and good pears have been the victim of this,” says Pieter Devos of Devos Group.
Pieter Devos and his colleague Louis de Cleene
The Queens Forelle and Early Desire have done well, despite the bad market. “Club varieties can be guided much better than, for example, Conference. Last year, prices of the exclusive pears were better, but this year was definitely not disappointing, considering the market,” Pieter says. “We’re gradually expanding the supply of Queens Forelle and Early Desire, and we’re adjusting our supply to demand. We don’t want the same thing to happen to these varieties as with Conference. That market is too fractured.”
“The market should actually have minimum prices. Growers work hard throughout the year to supply a beautiful product, but they now have to sell below cost price. When minimum prices are used, growers could at least cover costs. A lot of growers will be in trouble this year, and that’s very regrettable,” Pieter continues. “At the end of the line, everyone in the supply chain is needed, but it all starts with the grower, and they should get a fair price.”
Primo apples and Queens Forelle pears
According to the grower/trader, the market is currently facing a turning point. Very few good pears are still on the market, this could cause problems. As a result, there’s a chance prices for these batches might increase somewhat. “It’s therefore important to continue providing permanent customers with good quality Conference until the end. We just have to make sure quality is good and not take any risks. Yet we shouldn’t lose faith in the market, because we’re very dedicated to quality. I hope that dedication will still be rewarded,” Pieter says.
“The sales of apples weren’t exactly easy either this year. Competition from Poland is destructive, they’re literally giving the apples away. With our exclusive Primo, we’re aiming for the higher segment, because this is an incredibly high-quality apple. Yet we also felt the competition from the cheap mass of apples from Poland this year. We already sold a good volume, but we still have quite a bit left, and it’s already May,” Pieter explains.
The red apple variety Primo is exclusively traded by Devos Group. “All Primo apples are stored and packed in one central place. This is to guarantee an excellent and uniform quality year-round. Only the very best apples are sorted to be packed under the Primo brand name, quality is of the utmost importance. Primo apples have extremely good shelf lives and storability, and as a result, they’re available from October to August. We’ll continue to look for new potential partners abroad to work with this exclusive variety,” Pieter concludes.