“Since last Monday, people have been rushing to buy citrus fruit because of the coronavirus. The demand is especially high for grapefruit, lemons and oranges,” explains Xavier Rosario of Louis Rosario. The demand is increasing on all markets.
For the coming days, the company is expecting a decrease of the available volumes. “In Spain, it started raining a week ago. As long as it rains, it is impossible to pick the fruit, and the intended stocks are starting to run low. We may run out of stock at the beginning of the week.” Besides the rain, pickers are also facing other challenges, like enforcing new sanitary standards. “For example, pickers must keep a distance of 2-2.5 meters from each other.”
Xavier adds that some packing stations are already exercising their right to withdraw. “Some stations operate with half their staff at the moment so they cannot provide the volumes originally planned.”
Regarding logistics, Louis Rosario has no problem supplying his clients. “The logistics are going as well as before the coronavirus crisis. However, the delivery pace is making our drivers tired. Another challenge is that the safety measures do not allow more than one person per truck.”
Two teams that never meet
In order to reduce the risks, the staff at Louis Rosario has been divided into two teams that work alternately. They are in the office every other day and never meet. “In the event that one of us gets the coronavirus, the other team will still be able to keep the company running. We wanted to reduce the risk in half.”
Finally, Xavier wonders if the coronavirus context will lead to an inflationary situation for fruit and vegetables. “The price of citrus fruit is already increasing. They gained up to 20 cents per kilo. Will consumers keep paying more?”