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Hunting season opened; demand for cranberries on the rise

With the opening of the hunting season, demand for cranberries is also increasing. That connection is particularly noticeable in the Netherlands. In surrounding countries, the berry is sometimes used in yoghurt for instance, Antoine Heijkoop of Fruit World knows. The Dutch consumer prefers blueberries or raspberries in dairy.

“We only import from Canada and the United States,” Antoine says. “There is also some production of cranberries in Eastern Europe, but the quality of those isn’t as good.” This difference in quality is large enough to make up for the increased transport time. “In our markets in particular, retail still attaches a great deal of importance to quality,” Antoine says, talking mainly about supermarkets in Scandinavia, the United Kingdom, Germany, the Netherlands and France.

Stable market
The cranberries from Eastern Europe remain mostly in the Eastern European markets, like Czech Republic and Slovenia. In recent years, the Eastern European cranberries are also gaining a foothold in Germany. “That’s also because the British and German retailers are expanding to the east, and they get acquainted with the berries there,” Antoine explains. “Of course the retailers are still considering whether the quality is sufficient for the markets where they operate.” Southern Europe is a smaller market. According to Antoine, those countries have a large supply of local produce, inhibiting demand for cranberries.

“In the Netherlands, the market is stable,” Antoine continues. “Demand begins with the start of the game season, and lasts roughly until January.” In terms of promotion, the cranberry isn’t a top performer, despite the many healthy qualities of the berry. “That’s actually logical. When you need 200 grammes for a recipe, you don’t buy 400 grammes.” The local-for-local trend is a small option for promotion. On the Frisian Islands Terschelling and Vlieland, the cranberry is picked in small volumes. “But during the American season, that production is irrelevant, really.”

Brief selling time
There’s not much sense in going for season extension for the cranberry. “The shelf space in the supermarket is limited, of course, and if you want to extend the season by two or three weeks, the turnover rate is looked at as well. The market is mainly there in connection with game.” As a typically seasonal product, the cranberry generally performs well. Fruit World thinks this year it will sell ten percent more of the berries than in previous years.

Antoine does notice the selling time is decreasing. “The holidays are celebrated differently nowadays. It used to be that everyone was anxious ten days before Christmas about whether the products were available yet, that doesn’t happen so much now.” Retail also chooses much closer to the supreme moment what products will be included in their range. “More ad hoc decisions are taken, or the consumer lets meal boxes advise them.” The strong development of the meal boxes, which are also filled with special menus for the holidays, influences the market. “Those boxes can’t deliver the same products every week. On the other hand, it is a good way to get feedback. So the boxes also offer opportunities.”

More information:
Fruit World
Antoine Heijkoop
+31 76 52 31 565

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