The overseas grape season has been in full swing in Europe for several weeks. The transition from European to overseas goods has been bumpy and the Christmas spirit among consumers is still lacking, people at ABC Fresh, based in Hamburg and Den Hoorn (NL) note.
The season had an unusual start from the get-go: "Normally, it can always be predicted quite at what point European batches will disappear from the market. This year, the transition was set for week 45 by some customers, but in the end, grapes from Italy were still on the market at that time." While it was not a problem to market the volumes, prices suffered: "Unfortunately, due to the market situation, it was not possible to obtain sufficient prices for our growers in Brazil and Peru."
In the meantime, there are Namibian grapes on the market as well: "Namibian grapes usually are already on the market at the beginning of December, but this year we are seeing a delay. We are expecting the main volumes in the middle of next week. The delay has caused a slight gap in the market, but the market was not willing to increase prices accordingly nevertheless."
It is expected to take until the eighth calendar week of the new year for Indian grapes to reach Germany. Producers there are expecting a delay of about two weeks due to the current weather conditions: "So far, the farmers' protests in India have not had any foreseeable impact on logistics. We hope it will stay that way, of course."
Corona spoils the Christmas spirit
Normally, exotic fruits are particularly popular in the (pre) Christmas season - in 2020, the market situation is somewhat more subdued due to the Corona pandemic: "Consumers are focusing more on basic products, so exotics are less popular. Around the holidays, products such as mangoes or cherries from overseas are in high demand normally. This year, it's all over the place, really." Of course, there is really still room for an upswing at the moment, about 10 days before Christmas Eve: "But I honestly don't believe in it anymore. There is really no euphoria on the market."
One topic that continues to be very much debated at ABC Fresh - despite the Corona crisis - is the packaging discussion: "Less plastic consumption is still the topic par excellence. That is why we are working on solutions that will benefit the environment with our producers. We have even expanded our team specifically for this purpose, in order to be able to deal with the changeover adequately, as well as the search for sensible alternatives. Unpackaged goods are not always a solution, but sometimes they can simply be packaged differently. We are feeling this pressure from within the company, but also from our customers."