Marc Peyres, Blue Whale:

“Ups and downs in the demand for French apples”

With the global Covid-19 health crisis, the demand for apples is more irregular than usual. “There are ups and downs in the number of orders,” reports Marc Peyres, sales and export marketing director at Blue Whale. “Our clients are on unusual sales patterns, and it is difficult to predict the volumes. They place large orders, then the demand decreases because they still have some stock. Adapting to the current demand requires high flexibility from the entire supply chain.”

Generally speaking, Blue Whale is selling slightly more apples than before the Covid-19 crisis. Marc is not very surprised. “Apples keep well, project the image of a wellness product and are easy to consume. Moreover, they are sold at an accessible price. It is therefore not illogical that their sales are better today than usual. The same goes for the kiwi and citrus fruit.” Marc adds that at the European level, the apple market needs to be active. “We are nearing the end of the European season, so there starts to be a shortage for some varieties.”

The sales of the main apple varieties are going particularly well. For the so-called secondary varieties, like the American red, the demand is lower. “Our clients tend to reduce the number of products on the shelves,” explains Marc. “It corresponds to the demand from the consumers, who not only limit their choice of stores, but also their choice of product.”

Export is getting complicated
The export of apples is getting complicated. “Covid-19 has become a global problem. With most countries, there are complications, with a lot of uncertainty. There are lockdowns in India, Bangladesh and Africa...in a few weeks, trading will likely hit a significant halt. Each day, there are new developments.”

In France, Marc emphasizes the significance of the closure of open markets. “Open-air markets are highly important for the sale of fruit and vegetables. The apple will most certainly be impacted as well.”

Preparing for the next harvest
While Blue Whale tries to supply its clients, its teams are also getting ready for the next harvest. “Nature does not wait. We are getting organized to work. This requires a certain number of procedures, but once we are able to implement them, we must get to work.”

Following the recommendations from the French government, most of the Blue Whale team is working from home. The teams in the orchards and at the fruit stations are still on site. “We think a lot about the people working on the front line. While everybody is in lockdown, they are the ones ensuring the supply. A huge thank you to our committed employees. All the stores get their supply, and it is very important that it stays this way.”

Currently, Blue Whale is mainly focused on its ability to keep its fruit stations running in the next four weeks. “For the moment, it is really our critical point. We must get through this period while maintaining the pace.”

For more information:
Marc Peyres
Blue Whale
marc@blue-whale.com 
www.blue-whale.com  

 


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