Could the European market become even more extreme than in June and July? Yes. The average prices in August were even higher than in the first two months of summer. Once again, France's prices were the highest. The Netherlands lagged in all the 'craziness'. That's according to the latest update of the European Commission's tomato dashboard figures.
In August, tomato prices were generally even higher across the board in Europe. The five-year maximum difference, too, was even greater. On average, a kilogram of tomatoes fetched €0.45 more than in the previous five years' Augusts.
Prices usually start to climb in August. That is after a summer with low prices. This is when production often drops, at least in Northwestern Europe. This year will not be any different. Cultivation schedules have been altered here and there, though, which is due to not only a relatively dark summer but also especially problems with the Tomato brown rugose fruit virus (ToBRFV) and disturbed biology. Illuminated crops were planted earlier, so, should come into production earlier.
Other peaks, new extremes?
Also, Spain has begun production increasingly early in recent years. That could start to put pressure on prices at other times. If so, prices could be lower than those in recent years. And new 'extremes' will occur.
The same will happen if, after high summer prices, the prices remain high or keep rising. That is in line with the recent trend. However, it seems that recently, at least in the Netherlands and Belgium, prices have returned to normal.
August is full of outliers
The future cannot be predicted. But, last month's figures are a fact and do not lie.
France is, again, the top outlier. There, in August, prices were again above the €3/kg mark.
In the Netherlands, the margins were much smaller. The tomato dashboard shows only a slight increase compared to the five-year average. The usual recent July-to-August price increase was not an issue this year.
That was, however, what happened, albeit less percentage-wise, in Italy. And in Spain, where it was more than average in percentage terms. There was no usual August price dip. The average price there is above the five-year maximum. Unlike in July, but as in March.
In Italy, the average tomato price again almost reached the five-year maximum. Yet, there, too, the average price is still well above average.