Peru is currently supplying multiple products to the world market, such as figs, whose season is in full swing right now, and pomegranates, which are just starting up with the early varieties. Peruvian based Grupo Athos is supplying both of these products to their markets around the world right now, as well as gearing up to start the harvest of their Barhi dates at the end of this month.
Lower volumes of the Wonderful pomegranates this season
The early pomegranate varieties are currently being harvested and the Wonderful harvest will start around week 8. “Right now, we are mainly offering variety 116, and, since there aren’t many other origins supplying the market at this point in the year, we have been seeing a healthy market with good demand,” Aziz El Sous shares.
The Wonderful variety is expected to have an off year this year with Peru´s production being down between 10 and 20%, according to El Sous. “Given the lesser quantities we’re expecting a good market this season. Pomegranates are full of antioxidants and consumers realize their many health benefits. We are now working with our customers to plan the Wonderful season,” he shares.
The US market has been expanding for the pomegranates exported by Grupo Athos in recent years, says El Sous. “Our main market is Europe, but interestingly we had a very good experience shipping to the US last season. So, we are going to focus more on the US market in coming years and would like to expand our presence there,” he says.
Strong steady volumes of Black Mission figs
Grupo Athos is able to supply figs for nine months out of the year and they are currently about halfway through their season. El Sous shares: “We start harvest in October and go to about mid-June. We are able to organize some very interesting programs because of the length of our season.” The company’s main export market for the figs is Europe, with the US and Canada following closely behind.
The market for figs has been challenging this year because of the pandemic, El Sous shares. “The main issue is that air freight rates have gone up so high,” El Sous says. “We have worked hard to develop a logistics schedule that combines air freight shipments with sea shipments, depending on the fruit characteristics, the destination, and the demand. We are currently delivering ocean-freighted product to several customers with sound quality, and we’re able to organize deliveries to our customers’ warehouses in case they need it. Working with the ocean freight has allowed us to offer competitive prices and compete against some other origins on the market at the moment,” he adds.
The company offers a variety of different packaging presentations such as 160g and 227g clamshells as well as 500g, 600g and 1kg loose presentations to cover retail and wholesale customers in all of their markets. El Sous says: “We are seeing good and steady volumes this year, and right now through March we are expecting our peak volumes. Through our seasonality, flexibility to pack different packaging formats as well as our logistics capabilities we strive to be a one-stop-shop for our customers.”
New market for dates in the Middle East
The company is also preparing for their Barhi date season which will start at the end of February and will last until the end of April. “We are expecting an on-time start with volumes being similar to previous year. One interesting development we’ve been seeing is the increasing demand from the Middle East. This market has been growing every year for us and it is a big market for dates so we are excited to see where that will lead,” El Sous concludes. Grupo Athos packs their dates in 2.0 kg and 4.5 kg boxes and offers them through air and ocean freight.