Last year, the sanitary crisis intensified the kiwi sales suddenly and strongly, but this year, the market is calmer. “Last March, we had a very high demand which put an early end to the season, at the end of April/beginning of May. But this season is different. Consumption is quite low, as it is the case for the whole fruit and vegetable sector. Outputs are regular, but slow. As a result, we will go far in the season, until mid-May/early-June if the quality holds,” explains Pascale Begoulle, sales manager at Sikig.
“This year, the French production barely reaches 55,000 tons”
One reason for this decrease in sales can be the smaller harvest which led to relatively high prices this season. “The product is more rare this year, there is clearly a lack of kiwis in France and Italy. The French harvest barely reaches 55,000 tons, an even smaller production than last year. This is mainly the result of the floods of the past years and the hot summer, which impacted the smooth progress of pollination. The merchandise is therefore quite expensive, and this does not work in our favor to boost consumption. Besides, the holiday season has ended, which is never a favorable time for consumption, and we are faced with competition from cheaper products such as citrus fruits. When these are less present, kiwi sales will certainly be more fluid.”
Despite the lack of production, the quality seems to be good. “We are very satisfied with the quality obtained: the kiwis are very good, very sweet, with a good sweet and sour balance.”
“We are working hard to offer 100% cardboard trays to our clients in 2021”
At the beginning of the lockdown last March, there was an extraordinary rebound in the sales of kiwis packed in trays, but consumers now seem to have returned to their usual behavior. “They now buy in bulk without a problem, without the fear of being contaminated by the coronavirus. Nevertheless, we continue to work on our project to switch to zero-plastic packaging. Many of our high-end products are now packed in kraft trays with plastic flow packaging. However, we need to move towards 100% cardboard trays. We are not entirely ready yet, but we are working on it. We are looking for the best compromise between good product visibility, appealing packaging and fruits that do not fall out of the tray, which is more difficult to achieve with small calibers. Everything must also be mechanizable. It therefore takes a big effort to be ready very quickly and use this season as a test before the law of January 1st, 2022 comes into effect.”