It is not a bad time for garlic on the German market at the moment. The product has staying power and expects another sales peak at Christmas. This is explained by Jörg Sturmberg, Managing Director of Jersa Fruchtimport LLC, a garlic specialist based in Bergisch Gladbach.
"At the beginning of 2020, the season of fresh Dutch garlic will come to an end. Since the last few months have seen high failure rates in order to maintain the required quality standard, the price is rising steadily and it will probably be necessary to switch to Egyptian fresh garlic earlier. Goods from Argentina are only entering Europe at a small scale. The trade is accepting the prices."
The Spanish season will continue until the beginning of the new harvest, in May and June of the coming year. Producers and packing stations also report high losses there - in spite of the initial high yields, the base price has also risen enormously. "Nevertheless, it is difficult to achieve a price increase within retail."
Right: Spanish garlic
"Of course, we would like the price to be adjusted so that producers are put in a more stable position. Many producers, especially in Spain, cannot build up reserves and are experiencing financial difficulties. The German consumer is not reluctant to spend more on garlic: "This can be seen, for example, with regard to French garlic. Special varieties or special growing areas can achieve prices, three to four times higher than those of Spanish garlic. The production costs themselves are usually not significantly different".
A good middle road is the goal for him, although he knows that wholesalers and retailers are not involved here. "With central sales' systems, often traders' hands are tied, as far as prices go."
Products of various origins
In addition to Spain, China is an important player on the European market. For Jersa, however, far away points of origin are being reconsidered: "Sustainability is on everyone's lips - this development is also evident in the purchasing philosophy of wholesalers and retail centres. It is simply more environmentally friendly to transport goods from Spain to Germany than from China. European goods are preferred more and more often." Of course, there is still a certain clientele for Chinese garlic: "We have been importing Chinese garlic since 1992 and will continue to keep it in our range. The demand for Chinese garlic is often related to mass and price".
Chinese goods in different sizes
German garlic is also very popular and the quantities are increasing steadily: "Of course we don't see huge quantities yet, but everyone started small," says Sturmberg. "The growers enjoy growing the goods, their shape and size are very good and the product is easy to market. I therefore expect this segment to continue to grow well, albeit slowly, in the future."
Greek garlic is also very good and tasty: "Under the quality and packaging requirements that exist here, however, it is ultimately too expensive for the German market".
In the pre-Christmas period and around the holidays, garlic also shows a peak in sales. "In the last weeks of the year the shops are often stocked with twice the amount of goods. Many consumers have their days off and the holidays always show an increased demand for garlic."