The 2020/2021 pear campaign is already taking shape for the PDO Pera de Lleida. The marketing of the Limonera variety started on July 22, the first Conference pears arrived on August 31 and the Blanquilla is expected to hit the shelves around September 15. Therefore, the campaign is kicking off around the same dates as last year.
Due to the torrential rains recorded in spring, Lleida's pear production this year will be reduced by between 2 and 4%, depending on the variety and production area.
Although the size of the Conference pears will be smaller this year (a widespread issue in Europe), the fruit generally has more russeting on the skin, which is something that Spanish consumers appreciate in the variety. Limonera pears have reached similar calibers to those of the previous seasons.
According to the commercial director of the Regulatory Council of the PDO Pera de Lleida, Lourdes Salazar, “the campaign started with a slightly higher demand compared to the beginning of the previous year. However, we expect there to be a noticeable increase in the demand from the third week of September, since the stone fruit campaign is finishing earlier this year due to a notable drop in the supply.”
Also worth noting is the influence that the coronavirus pandemic has had on pear consumption in Spain. “Since the State of Alarm was decreed and the lockdown was enforced, the consumption of pears has grown remarkably, especially in the case of packed pears. The demand increased so much that we finished the campaign more than a month earlier than usual,” she says. "I'm quite optimistic. I think this will be a nice pear campaign."
The Conference pears from Lleida, which account for around 65% of the total pear production, compete strongly with Belgian pears. "Belgium's production is similar to last year's, so once again there will be high price competition, even though the calibers are smaller. For its part, Italy reported a sharp drop in the production last year, but this year its volumes are recovering."
"The truth is that the demand for pears sold under the PDO has been growing little by little in recent years, despite the fact that their price is also higher. We have noticed this especially since the health crisis started. It seems that Spanish consumers are increasingly aware of the need to buy domestic products; however, the price continues to have a lot of weight at the time of the purchase," says Lourdes.