Jan Kraaijeveld and Arjan Theunisse, Kraaijeveld, the Netherlands:

“Retail increasingly wants both smaller melons and pineapples”

Melons and pineapples have always been important product groups for Kraaijeveld processing industry clients. In recent years, both products' retail sales have also become a significant trend for the Dutch fruit and vegetable company. Jan Kraaijeveld and Arjan Theunisse discuss the trends and developments.

"The COVID-19 year significantly changed pineapple sales too. Demand from the hospitality industry largely fell away. But sales to customers who cut for retail only increased," says Arjan. "Crownless pineapples are quite a big item."

"That's because of our clientele in the processing industry. There, it's especially important to guarantee internal quality. We import considerable volumes. So we can deliver exactly according to the buyer's specifications. That would be almost impossible to do with only a few containers a week."

Kraaijeveld imports most of its pineapples from Costa Rica. Small Ecuadorian quantities supplement that. "We've built our own Michelle brand for crowned pineapples. Clients return for these. We differentiate the yellow and more exportable green variety. The market's generally increasingly demanding smaller sizes. People are buying fewer and fewer size 5s, for example," says Jan.

He says the pineapple market's been stable for a while. "It's not great, but not terrible either. Sometimes, in early spring, when the weather's good, there's little summer fruit available. Then there's extra demand for pineapple. We haven't had that kind of weather now. But there aren't surpluses either. Not like last year at the beginning of the global pandemic. Volumes should decrease in about four weeks. That's because Costa will start shipping less from this week."

Melons: none from Almeria
Melons are an important item for Kraaijeveld's processing industry clients too. The Spanish season's already started in Almeria. But the importer always skips it for those customers. That's to guarantee the best quality, shelf life, and firmness. Only for watermelons does Kraaijeveld make an exception. "For the other melons, we can bridge the season well. That's from the overseas melons to the other Spanish regions," explains Jan.

There's currently not much demand on the melon market. "It's largely determined by the supply and shipments. However, in the summer, there many more peaks and troughs. The weather's not helping right now. The overseas season was great until April. But the overseas season's tail end and Spain's early start have made things tough in recent weeks," adds Arjan.


Jan Kraaijeveld and Arjan Theunisse

According to him, there's an important trend in the melon market. Retailers are increasingly demanding small melons. Kraaijeveld now only offers seedless watermelons. "Also, in recent years, there have been a few new introductions to the market like the Dino melon. But that share's still dwarfed by the current varieties."

"I don't see the current varieties being dethroned just yet. However, within the current varieties, flavor's becoming increasingly important. That also applies to the overseas Galia, Cantaloupe, and yellow melons. There, the focus is increasingly on flavor and store shelf life rather than just yield."

The convenience market is also steadily developing, says Jan. "England leads the sliced range sector, followed by the Netherlands. But this segment's breaking through in Germany too. Players who never used to buy sliced fruit are now trialing several product lines."

Many buyers order their products on Kraaijeveld's e-commerce platform. It was introduced in 2019. "Particularly gastronomy and foodservice customers use it a lot. They like that they can order at any time. There was a dip in our hospitality clients last year on the platform."

"That was with the lockdown. Now, with the easing [of the COVID-19 regulations], orders are recovering. Dutch people are pretty digitally-minded anyway. But even more towards Eastern Europe, the new generation's more open to this," Jan concludes.

For more information:
Jan Kraaijeveld/ Arjan Theunisse
Kraaijeveld
27 Herenlaan
3155 DC, Maasland, NL
Tel: +31 (0) 107 504 300
Email: jan@kraaijeveld.com
Email: arjan.theunisse@kraaijeveld.com
Website: www.kraaijeveld.com//en-gb/pineapples 
Website: www.kraaijeveld.com/en-gb/melons


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