Grounded planes, countries in lockdown, closed borders... In an entirely unprecedented situation for international trade relations due to the Covid19 pandemic since early 2020, Capexo has drawn an initial assessment of the consumption of exotic products in France during this period. With a nice surprise!
Interview with Gorete Pinto, purchaser and François Bellivier, development manager at Capexo:
How is the consumption of exotic products since the beginning of the health crisis in France?
Despite the high prices, the demand for exotic products continued in March, April and May. Now, prices are starting to go down, which is normal at the beginning of summer and with the success of local seasonal fruits.
Air transportation costs doubled, and even tripled for certain products such as Vietnamese passion fruits, sweet potatoes, limes, avocados and mangoes, for example. Even the ginger from China, which we thought would be boycotted by consumers, saw an explosion in demand, and therefore, a record price increase. The conclusion we can draw from this is that the main exotic products are now an integral part of everyday consumption in France. There is no longer any doubt about it.
When will we return to normal?
It depends on the products. We had to stop very small exotic products, like the combava or star fruit, because of the lockdown measures specific to each country of origin, the higher air transportation costs, and the nearly nonexistent demand from our clients. For other products like the mango, passion fruit or lime, consumption is returning to normal, with a loss of speed as the summer season approaches. Except for the avocado which is highly popular in the summer.
What about the campaign of avocados from Peru, South Africa, Kenya and Tanzania?
We are in June, the “world avocado month”, an operation launched in 2018 by the World Avocado Organization (WAO). The campaign is starting very strong, with very nice volumes. Avocados sold very well during lockdown, in spite of the high prices. Promotional actions must be in full swing now, because it is doing very well. Salads, smoothies, guacamole, it is the indispensable product for summer aperitifs this year!
Created in 1996, the company imports and markets exotic fruit and vegetables in France under the brand Lilot Fruits. A key player at the MIN of Rungis, Capexo ensures a constant supply of very high quality products in terms of taste and nutrition to wholesalers, wholesale markets, as well as large specialized food chains (Grand Frais, Métro…) and regular supermarkets (Carrefour, Casino, Monoprix…).
Very close to its suppliers through a common requirement bond, Capexo selects origins that reveal the excellence of the products. The company maintains a close collaboration with one of the main cooperatives of Reunion Island. Therefore, 60% of the air freight importing fruits from the island is carried out by Lilot Fruits.
Victoria pineapples, avocados, mangoes, passion fruit, limes...are among the key products of Capexo.