First South African grapefruit already on the market

Supply shortage on limes balanced out the closure of the hospitality industry

The Spanish citrus season is in its last weeks: Some three to four weeks earlier than last year, people in Germany will switch to overseas goods, mainly from South Africa. This development is the result of three components: Expected yields in Spain were already low this year. This was exacerbated by storms with rain and hail, which made large quantities of the fruit unsuitable for export. The coronavirus and the resulting increase in demand for fruit containing vitamin C also caused inventories to decline more quickly.

"Due to corona, the demand for lemons and oranges was between 20 and 30% higher than usual in recent months. We therefore expect the transition to South African produce towards the end of June or beginning of July," said a German importer. Spain is trying to close the seasonal window more and more and supply the European market itself for as long as possible.

The situation is different regarding grapefruits: "Grapefruits from South Africa have already been on the market since last week. South Africa also remains the only market-relevant origin until the beginning of September, followed by a few weeks in Mexico and then at the end of October the transition to the first Spanish product. This means that the market will be supplied with overseas goods for 21-22 weeks - with oranges and lemons, Spain takes up a much larger area."

"Limes have always been the problem child among citrus fruits, with large fluctuations in supply and prices, between "almost free and extremely expensive", the expert says. "Conventional limes are heavily dependent on the catering trade. Luckily, if we can call it that, this year's yields were low, so the market was not flooded during the closure of the hospitality industry."

Regarding organic limes, this closure was less relevant: "There is a slight shift towards food retail, but it is not as extreme as with other products. There has also been a slight shortage in the organic sector in recent weeks, but this is now recovering."


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