The New Zealand onion import season ends at Van der Lans International this week. "When it comes to prices, the season could've been better. But we got a good amount in, and they sold well," says Derk van Stokkum of this Dutch company.
"The Dutch season, however, lasted slightly longer. The new season started on time too. So, clients switched to Dutch onions early. We also have to deal with the local-for-local trend. This has been going on in especially Germany for years now. The window for New Zealand onions is, therefore, getting smaller and smaller."
Derk isn't yet concerned about New Zealand's onions' future in Europe. "It will always exist, even though it'll become somewhat more difficult. At the same time, Germany imported even more New Zealand onions this year. So the import figures show. The German market remains our largest, by far, for New Zeland onions."
"It's followed by the United Kingdom and France. This season, we supplied a lot of these onions to Spain in a short time. That was unusual," says the importer. "These were in pre-pack sorting. And we sent them shortly before the Spanish season started."
"In a sense, this is more of a normal year. The onions were a little smaller. We had more 40-60 and 50-70 sizes than the large sizes. White onions are, however, a typical hospitality industry product. So, their season was slightly tougher. But there was a remarkably high demand for yellow onions."
"It's impossible to draw a comparison to last season. With its shortages in Europe, that was a special year. That's reflected across the board in onion imports - from New Zealand to Chile, Australia, and Egypt. Last year, clients had slightly lower quality standards. This year's an entirely different story," concludes Derk.