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Robert van Melle, Origin Fruit Direct

"Pressure on the grape market after good sales weeks"

Sales on the grape market have now fallen a little after a few good sales weeks. "We had very good sales weeks up to and including week 11/12, with the panic run at the supermarkets as the highlight. However, that also had a downside, because many consumers are now sated. The volumes started to decrease last week and this week demand has fallen even further. We currently only sell about 30% of our normal volume," says Robert van Melle of Origin Fruit Direct.

Still, he is hopeful that retail demand will pick up again soon. "Sales to the wholesale markets have almost disappeared and catering establishments have closed. The extra demand is all going to the supermarkets. People are expected to consume more fruit for health reasons. We see that strongly in all citrus varieties, but I also expect grape consumption at retailers to be higher than before the crisis. "

Harvest of Crimson grapes in San Filipe (Chile) on Thursday April 2

"What the market is currently working against is that huge volumes are arriving from South Africa, initially destined for China or the Middle East, but now coming to Europe. For the past week to the next two weeks you are talking about 1 million extra boxes (8.2 kg eq) ", says Robert. "We ourselves have closed our programs from South Africa and we have fully started the Chilean season. Together, this creates more volume and as a result the price will still be under pressure in the coming weeks. There is also pressure from Chile to finish the grape harvest quickly for fear that there will be a lockdown there too and that the workers will not be able to go to the fields. Therefore, I expect that the last grapes will be picked in two to three weeks."

"That would mean that when the peak in South Africa is over, there will be a gap before the Egyptian season starts again from week 23 or 24. India is not currently exporting anything with the government measures. At the moment the quality of the Thompson grapes is already bad and a lot has been pushed at the retail to switch to red seedless, soon white seedless will hardly be available anymore. I can get some from Brazil because they can harvest all year round, but otherwise there is hardly any supply . "

"It is possible to store grapes under good conditions, but you have to have strong, high-quality fruit. I emphasise with all our shippers to send high-quality fruit. There is no backup in the wholesale channel. At other times you might have been able to make some money from a rejected party, but now there is no alternative. Grapes in wholesale packaging are therefore difficult to sell and repacking is an expensive affair. "

For more information:
Robert van Melle
Origin Fruit Direct 
Tel: +31 (0) 88 244 93 57

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