As restaurants re-open this week there is an air of optimism that the food service sector will begin to return to some form of “new-normal”. Demand for early varieties continues as more Queens come onto the market. Reports from early growers suggest average yields with some frost damage on the earliest crops.
In the U.K. this week has seen free-buy trade in all sectors at low levels. As the end of the 2019 season approaches, contracts and material bought are being “cleared” up in preparation of new-crop supply. Earlies trade is reported to be sluggish. There seems to be a reduction in demand for earlies on the free-buy market with the lack of catering demand being felt.
Across Europe the impact of the lockdown is beginning to come to light, processing activity in Holland in May is estimated to have reduced to 65% of capacity compared to the year before and in France it reduced to 52%. The Dutch industry is estimated to have used 330,000 tonnes or 7.7% less raw material over the twelve-month period to the end of May. The situation is improving now, however, the long-term impact is likely to be felt for some time.