Spanish grapefruit, whose campaign started in October, is now entering the second phase of the season, when the largest volumes are usually handled and when the fruit has the best flavor. The European market is still quiet, despite the lower volumes in many of the producing origins, but it is expected to become livelier from February onwards. The recent frosts in Turkey and Greece could also contribute to the sale of more Spanish grapefruit.
"The Spanish grapefruit harvest is very similar to last year's, while in Israel, excess rainfall has led to a reduction of the volumes compared to last season. As for Turkey, due to the frequent detections of excessive chemical residues, Europe is receiving a lot less grapefruit than usual, especially in the eastern countries," says Miguel Barber, manager of Pomelos MBC, a leading grapefruit exporter in Spain, with marketing 365 days a year.
"The grapefruit supply from Florida is still very limited due to a significant production deficit caused by the impact of HLB and the increase in freight prices. Apart from France, the fruit is not sold in many other countries, both because of its high price and its residue levels. In addition, at this time of the year it starts to lose its acidity and it becomes rather insipid," says the grower and marketer.
Prices have remained stable since the beginning of the season, at very similar levels to last year. However, the lower availability of grapefruit in the markets does not match the current demand levels.
"The market is very quiet and to date we have marketed much lower volumes compared to the previous season, especially due to the lack of demand. What is the reason for this? We don't really know why. It is also worth recalling that we've had several good grapefruit campaigns, which has encouraged many inexperienced people to start working with this product and, in times with low demand -like now-, they end up selling for very tight profit margins," says Miguel Barber.
Besides, this week there have been severe frosts in Turkey and Greece, where it seems that the impact on citrus fruits could be severe. "Damage to grapefruit plantations in Turkey, where large sizes were plentiful, has yet to be confirmed. In the next few days we will know if it is noticeable in the markets or not. In any case, we hope and trust that from February onwards sales will be reactivated, but will it be at the levels we would like? That remains to be seen," says Barber.