After several eventful months, the fruit and vegetable trade seems to be stabilizing again to some extent. So also has the market for bio bananas, confirms Sascha Suler, plant manager of the BioTropic LLC. "In March and April the market registered a rapid sales increase of 40-50 per cent. In the following months, sales recovered again, which is why we are now at the level of the pre-Corona period".
Climate-related loss of quality and quantity
BioTropic LLC, headquartered in Duisburg, Germany, serves food retailers and organic retailers throughout the year with high-quality organic bananas from Ecuador and the Dominican Republic. Traditionally, the marketing of bananas in the summer is done in quiet lanes due to vacations. "In other years, we have experienced significant overproduction at this time of year. The production quantity of organic bananas was simply too large compared to the rather modest demand."
This year, on the other hand, supply and demand are roughly in balance. "Due to the difficult climatic conditions in South America - such as storms and hurricanes - it was somewhat more difficult for a while to meet the quality requirements. In some cases, this led to a drop in volume because part of the production was unsuitable for export. However, in view of the usual overproduction in summer, I would speak of a healthy market shakeout."
"I am pleased about the tireless work of the producers and their employees in the countries of origin. They have done an incredible job and despite all the difficulties and dangers they have kept up the safe supply of all products", says Sascha Suler.
Tough competition for organic bananas
Although bananas have always been the second most popular fruit among German consumers after apples, the competition on the fruit shelf has increased significantly according to Suler. "The per capita consumption of bananas has been declining for several years. In my opinion, this is related to various market trends. Firstly, we are observing an increasing presence of fruit exotics that are ready for consumption, such as mangoes, in the retail trade. Secondly, the banana has now lost its status as the cheapest fruit par excellence. During the season, nectarines and peaches from the Mediterranean region, for example, are offered at very reasonable prices.
Bananas still the most important sales pillar
As one of the main suppliers of the German organic trade, BioTropic GmbH is constantly willing to invest. "We are now thinking intensively about the use of reusable crates for our organic bananas. An important milestone for our company was the commissioning of our ripening chambers and sorting plants for organic mangoes a few years ago. This service has been very well received by our customers. However, our main concern is that the end consumer is now provided with ready-to-eat, ready-to-eat mangos. It is not without reason that we have been able to increase our production volumes by 50 percent since the new capacities were commissioned in 2017," explains Suler.
Sorting line for organic mangoes / Picture: Freshplaza.de
Increased focus on goods procurement
Despite the gratifying growth rates in the organic exotic segment, organic bananas remain the most important sales pillar of the Duisburg-based fruit group. "In the coming years, we will continue our efforts to gradually expand our activities in the procurement of bananas. Currently we already have our own agricultural engineers and offices in the Dominican Republic, Costa Rica and the Ivory Coast. But we are also striving to expand our own banana cultivation. By the way, we are also pursuing this strategy for our other products at home and abroad.
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