“The South African date harvest is done. We're currently switching to the Israeli season. Harvesting has only just begun in Israel. And, for now, we expect a similar volume to last season," says Laurent La Morella of Lorre, a Belgian importing company. "We're very optimistic about the Israeli Medjool dates' quality. It's evolving very favorably."
There aren't only Israeli and Palestinian products on the market. There are smaller volumes of Medjool dates from Jordan, the US, and Morocco too. "The new harvest is priced at the same level as last year. But you must be careful. There's still quite a bit of the 'old crop'. It's being offered at lower, dumping prices. Fortunately, you immediately see and taste the difference in quality compared to the new harvest."
“The coronavirus affected the date market, both positively and negatively. On the one hand, dates are an integral part of a healthy lifestyle. That's why the retail market's demand for Medjool dates rose. On the other hand, open market sales plummeted. That was because they were closed during the lockdown. The markets have been open for months now. Considering current developments, we may, however, be in for another uncertain period," says Laurent.
Date consumption peaks in the winter, and around holidays and Ramadan. “There's an increased demand at present. That's because a lot of summer fruit has fallen away. Temperatures are falling too. For many, dates have become an everyday product. More people are eating them as snacks or desserts. But, also as an energy booster, before or after doing sports."
“In the date market, there are a somewhat limited number of top-quality brands. Global date production is at eight million tons. Only 95.000 tons of Medjool dates are grown. That's a mere one percent of the total market. However, the demand for Medjool dates has been increasing for years. We only process the MedjoolPlus brand's new harvests. These are top-quality, fairly-priced dates. Clients who want lower-quality dates can order them, in consultation with us," concludes Laurent.