FranceAgriMer - May 2021

Slowdown in production and consumption

According to the report published by FranceAgriMer for the fruit and vegetable sector, the cold spell and inclement weather have slowed down the spring production and consumption. Frost, rain, wind and a lack of sun are all factors affecting the fresh fruit and vegetable markets. The announcement of better weather to come would help revitalize the consumption of seasonal products.

At the same time, despite the partial reopening of restaurants, the limitations on terraces are tempering the market. Buyers remain cautious and wait for the next phase in the easing of the lockdown measures. For supermarkets, supply is getting complicated for some products whose offer is limited. The summer products are also starting to make their appearance. 

As for the purchases from French households for home consumption, according to the data from the KANTAR Panel, the quantities of fresh fruit and vegetables purchased for 100 households were down (-9.8%) from March 22nd to April 18th 2021, compared to the same period in 2020, but up (+7.4%) compared to 2019. As for the purchases of organic fruit and vegetables, they are down (-22.3%) compared to 2020, and also down (-4%) compared to 2019.

In March 2021, there was an increase (+12%) in fresh fruit and vegetable imports (317,000 tons), compared to March 2020. Kiwis and apples were the fruits the most concerned by this increase (+63% and +51%, respectively). Note that in March 2020, imports were significantly lower as a result of the first lockdown. For the vegetables (excluding potatoes), imports are also up (228,000 tons, +15%).

Fruit exports, on the other hand, are down (-6%), mainly due to the decrease in apples (-23%) and vegetable volumes (-8%).

In week 16, trade was slow with difficulties to sell the merchandise in stock due to the low temperatures. At the national level, the demand is good and the market is fluid, The offer appears somewhat limited to meet the demand and wholesale markets resume their activity with the reopening of restaurants.

Slow start for the tomato campaign with a lack of dynamism in week 16. Increase in supply with some competition between the different production basins. The inclement weather does not encourage consumption while the national offer continues to increase with the arrival of the production from Brittany. The demand remains low in early May and mainly comes from supermarkets. 

The asparagus offer has been limited since the end of April because of the weather affecting the production. The green asparagus have been suffering the most. The demand is moderate due to the weather but still satisfactory. Prices are stabilizing. The campaign is coming to an end in week 20 and production volumes are lower. Prices are stabilizing.

The fresh market is not evolving much and the end of the campaign is getting near. Volumes are sufficient to satisfy the low consumption.

Processing market: caution from the industry and not much activity on the free market, despite the reopening of terraces. Buyers are waiting for the next phase in the easing of the sanitary measures.

Planting was completed in May, although delayed due to the low temperatures. The fresh produce trade is not evolving much and the market remains stable with some marketing operations still ongoing in some stores. The weather at the beginning of the month was quite favorable for consumption, which helped sell the end of season supply.

In southwestern France, the first volumes are arriving on the market. Some arrivals are expected in the Rhône-Alpes regions soon as well. The offer is low and largely below the production potential following the frosts in April. The offer is slowly increasing in the Pyrénées-Orientales, Gard and Vaucluse. The demand for the product is high, given the lack of volume. The operators remain cautious with trade due to the uncertain weather forecast. The PDO is hoping for a higher offer around mid-June with the arrival of the late varieties.

In week 16, the market is lacking supply. The low yields during this part of the campaign were supported by the recent cold weather. The demand is good thanks to the better weather at the end of April which allowed for a fluid flow.

In May, the national offer remained in deficit, with the production still suffering from the frost episodes. The inclement weather is not favorable for the growth of the plants and the production yields are lower than predicted. Despite the weather, the demand is higher than the available offer. At the end of May, there was a shortage of supply on the national market and the weather was starting to affect quality.


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