The closure of the food service and hospitality sector as a result of restrictions to curb the pandemic has been taking a toll on lime consumption since last year. Household consumption of this citrus is more limited, yet large volumes are used in the food service, which, until recently, has not been operating at full capacity.
"This year, the market conditions have been difficult because, due to the pandemic, consumption in Europe's food service channel has slowed down," says Sandra Sitjar, Marketing Director at Cultivar.
"However, for the last two or three weeks, there has been a reactivation of the market, with a rise in prices as a result of the gradual opening of the catering sector, the arrival of tourists, the good weather and the trust placed in the vaccines," she says.
"Therefore, we foresee a good summer campaign. Consumption usually increases considerably in summer, and this season, after a difficult year, many are eager to go out, enjoy and celebrate, and that will definitely boost lime sales," says Sandra Sitjar.
The company imports limes from Brazil almost all year round. We work mainly with Brazil, although, normally, production volumes from this country drop in the summer, from August to November, and during these months we also import from Mexico. Mexican limes enter Europe in mid-May and sales continue until mid-January, but this year they arrived late because of the cold weather," says Sandra Sitjar.
Despite the challenges in the logistics for lime imports, the company has its programs covered. "Over the last two months, Brazil has had a lower supply of containers, which entails major logistical problems. Freight costs increase and it can become difficult to load the fruit. Fortunately, we have annual programs that allow us to circumvent these logistical problems and to have products available on a regular basis," says Cultivar's marketing manager.
From the 400,000 boxes of limes marketed in 2018, the company grew to about 600,000 boxes in 2020, and in 2021 it expects to reach 750,000 boxes. "There is more and more demand for limes and customers know that we offer good quality with brands such as Nico, for the Brazilian limes, and Belle Fruit, for the Mexican ones.