The Dutch auction house, ZON, again has a range of Spanish vegetables on offer this winter. These are available alongside products from the Netherlands. It is the fifth year they are doing so. "The start of the Spanish season was difficult," says ZON's Auction Sales Manager, Els van Herpen.
"Prices were, unfortunately, not in line with the Spanish market. There is a good recovery this week. You can see this with aubergines, cucumbers, and bell peppers. The tomato market is, however, still challenging."
Piet Crienen, ZON's lead quality inspector, has moved to Almeria, Spain. He will be there until February. This is to ensure the quality of the Spanish vegetables. He will inspect the partner cooperatives' products.
"We try to limit the overlap of Spanish and Dutch products as much as possible. For example, last week, we auctioned the last Dutch red bell peppers. Since then, the supply of this product from Spain has started up nicely," says Els.
ZON now also offers unsealed Spanish cucumbers. This option is as a result of the current plastic discussion. "Our German clients, in particular, are requesting this. With cucumbers, the demand for 'naked' products is higher. With aubergines, there is an equal demand for unpackaged and flow packs."
"I cannot rule out the possibility that we might switch entirely to unsealed cucumbers. That is if the demand for this kind of product continues to increase. The supply of flow or 'naked' aubergines depends on the weather and the product's quality," states the Sales Manager.
The goal this season is to, once again, get more Spanish volume to sell at the ZON auctions. "We are looking specifically for Spanish products that can fulfill our auctioneers' needs. We want to grow with the Spanish cooperatives with whom we currently work."
"For instance, we have started auctioning Padrón peppers and pak choi. Later we want to start with Spanish Romanesco too. There may also be some new tomato varieties arriving. But, that will be later in the season," concludes Els.