“The year 2020 hasn't been an easy one. There are lockdowns, and the hospitality industry is closed. That makes it very different from other years," says Sven Jordens of Gemex, in Belgium. "Trade with large supermarkets continues as usual. As does that with wholesalers who supply retailers and market vendors. They do absorb part of the hospitality industry's loss. But, overall, sales are down from other years. Hospitality industry wholesalers are having a hard time this year."
Current greenhouse vegetable prices are quite bad. That's due to the lockdown and all its negative consequences. "Tomatoes are very cheap at the moment. And cucumbers are all but being given away. Cucumbers went for €0,20 on Tuesday. Those are dismal prices for the growers. Spain is also on the market now too. So, I don't expect the market to pick up any time soon."
“We have to wait for real winter weather. If it were up to me, it would become freezing cold. Because then the winter vegetables will do well again. Leeks and Brussels sprouts are currently doing well. Chicory is also selling at high prices. But it could still get colder than it is," says Sven. "Pears are also selling well at the moment. Their prices are, however, moderate."
Christmas is a few weeks away. That's usually a busy time for Gemex. But, according to Sven, it difficult to predict this year. "The hospitality industry is closed. And people aren't sure whether the restaurants are allowed to open at Christmas. So, everyone is gambling on people getting takeaways. What's certain is that shopkeepers and supermarkets will be very busy. Many people will celebrate Christmas at home this year."
Euro Pool is going to switch from the standard blue crates to green folding ones. That will be in the spring of 2021. Euro Pool is a reusable packaging supplier. "The tomato crates will remain. But we'll get green folding crates for the other products. The folding crates' lease price is much higher. We, however, don't have to return them. Soon, we can just leave them in Germany after a delivery. It's just a matter of switching again and waiting and see how things go. But, 2020 has already been full of surprises. We can handle this too," concludes Sven.