Spanish stone fruit is in a very different situation compared to last year. In fact, the sector's situation could have been devastating if nothing had changed. The supply is more limited compared to last year's big harvest. The good demand from day one of this 2020 campaign, motivated by the good weather in central and northern Europe, and the changes in consumption patterns have been key for sales to continue to be smooth.
"Record high temperatures are being recorded this spring in several European countries, something that has undoubtedly given a boost to the demand almost since we started the stone fruit campaign in the earliest areas," says Santiago Vázquez, manager of the Murcian company La Vega de Cieza. "Furthermore, the fact that people have been in lockdown for so long has made consumers more aware of healthy eating trends."
"At the start, we lost some sales in wholesale and street markets, greengrocers and food stores due to the pandemic crisis; however, the demand from large retailers has been such that it has kept sales high and the warehouses almost empty at the end of each day. In any case, the demand is now again spreading out as other sales channels recover. There were fears that the fall in tourism in Spain would affect sales, but it is likely that consumption in the countries of origin of those tourists will rise, so there will be balance in the demand at a global level.”
According to the representative of this company, the reduction in the supply in Spain, as well as in other countries of the Mediterranean arc, has had a direct impact on the price levels, which are higher than last year. “The most remarkable situation, without a doubt, is that of nectarines, since due to the low yields and some quality problems, it is one of the species that is in shortest supply, with a reduction of more than 20%. Nectarines are recording the best demand and prices.”
At the same time, apricots are also quite scarce in the markets, but there is more uneasiness and speculation with its sale prices. "Unlike last year, when the apricot supply was still considerable, this season there is a significant demand and higher prices (depending on the quality). Many buyers who chose France and Italy to buy their apricots are now buying in Spain,” says Santiago Vázquez. "As for peaches and Paraguayo peaches, their demand and price levels in the retail are higher this year."
“The campaign will continue for a few months and we don't know how it will end. What we can say is that it has had a very good start, and that the good sales will help compensate for last year's difficult campaign. Still, given the times we are living, we also want the price of the fruit on the shelves of supermarkets to be affordable for consumers."