Exports of Apulian and Sicilian grapes to European countries are continuing, but with no major requests from customers. With the aim of better understanding the reasons for this slowdown in consumption, we spoke with Claudio D'Alba, CEO of Plantis Group, an Apulian company that supplies wholesalers and foreign large-scale retail chains.
"We are currently commercializing the Victoria, Black Magic and Red Globe cultivars, with about 6 kilos per week destined for European chains only. The decrease is estimated to be around 10 percent compared to 12 months ago. The market is not crackling, due to a number of factors. First of all, uncertainty and inflation that reduce consumer food spending, especially then when it comes to a product, such as grapes, whose selling price (in this early part of the season) is not that low. In addition, consumption is also slow because a large proportion of European families are on vacation in the various tourist resorts; therefore, fruit and vegetable sales are affected."
"After two years of restrictions, it is as if Europeans prefer to save more on food spending, rather than restricting their summer vacation budgets. On the tourism front, it seems to be a record summer, despite the fact that the economic crisis continues to threaten family budgets."
"Italian grapes are also struggling to take off for another reason, because there are still large quantities and good yields of Egyptian grapes reaching European markets, thus making our goods uncompetitive. Their campaign should have ended in the first days of July, but favorable weather conditions have helped to prolong sales from Egypt even further. The good quality of the fruit and low prices are encouraging buyers to continue with these supplies as long as possible. The situation is expected to change in the next 10 days, when the quality of Egyptian grapes will decrease, allowing Italian grapes to better position themselves in the markets."
"It is worth reiterating, however, that the real season for Italian grapes starts in September, with large volumes and promotional sales. We hope that the trend will undergo a strong steering and that the fear of energy price hikes will not compromise families' shopping carts any further," he concluded.