Swedish strawberries prices are expected to hit a record high during mid-summer. There are limited amounts of these fruits. They, therefore, have to be supplemented by imported strawberries. And import prices have also increased.
Peter Bilic, a buyer at Fruktimporten Stockholm, says: "Last year, we had only Swedish strawberries. But this year, these account for maybe 30%. Of every ten strawberry pallets we get, seven are imported."
200 krona (€ 19) per kg
The shortage has caused prices to rise. Bilic expects that around mid-summer, strawberries will cost about 100 Swedish kronor (about €9.50) per 500g in stores. That's for both the local and imported varieties. "Retailers decide how expensive the strawberries are, and where the consumer price limit lies."
These high prices lead to higher returns for the growers. And prices will probably climb even further at around mid-summer. At the moment, farmers get roughly 40 kronor (€3.80)/500g. Usually, they get 20 kronor (€1.90) for these during mid-summer's week. Cultivation prices for 500g of Swedish strawberries are at 12 to 13 krona (€1.10 to €1.20). Growers anticipate that price for the remainder of the summer too.
Frost upset the apple cart
Skåne, in South-Sweden, experienced frost at the end of May. This is the main reason for the Swedish strawberry shortage. The fruits should've been ripe by mid-summer. But their blossoms froze. And the period after the frost was too cold and cloudy to stimulate growth. The past few days have been warm. But, that's not enough to meet current demand.
Germany and Poland suffered cold weather in May too. Strawberries from these countries are also hard to come by. Now, most of the imported fruits are from Belgium. And at prices comparable to Swedish ones.
"Strawberries have never been so costly"
Strawberry farmer, Anna Wilén, runs Ängebäck Trädgård near Karlstad in central Sweden. She sells her strawberries to four local supermarkets. She also does trade in her farm store and via public picking. She needs to meet demand until her own season gets started. So, she buys in Swedish and overseas strawberries. "It's been a difficult year so far."
"When I go to bed at night, I don't know if I'll have strawberries to sell the next day. At mid-summer, there'll be strawberries to buy. But they'll be expensive. This week, prices were already at 70 kronor (€6.60) per 500g. And that might still rise. I've never had such expensive strawberries. That's mainly due to the purchase price and what I must charge customers," Anna concludes.