As the festive season approaches, asparagus demand is usually sky-high. The ongoing protests in Peru, however, are creating supply challenges. "We, too, have Peruvian growers in the Ica area who couldn't get their harvested product to the airport last week," says Lisa van Zon, product manager at the Dutch company, Yex.
"Last weekend, everyone was still getting ample supply, but as the week progressed, that became increasingly challenging. The Peruvian military reopened the roads on Thursday morning."
"So, supplies will likely get back on track. It should be just over a week before everything is up and running again," Lisa expects.
"Yex has spread its risks in recent years by strengthening relationships with growers in Ecuador and Mexico during the Peruvian season. We're now reaping those benefits and can presently, fortunately, supply all our customers well."
They sell mostly green asparagus. "Last year, we sold a lot of white asparagus to particularly Germany. This year, those sales lagged considerably, especially at the start of the season. One of the larger Peruvian growers, thus, decided to begin producing white asparagus only for canning and no longer for the fresh market," Lisa explains.
"Demand for white asparagus does increase toward Christmas. Asparagus tips - the top 15 cm of standard green asparagus - are also very popular this week, especially among the real specialists." Lisa expects the asparagus market to be well-balanced after the holidays. "There are always growers in Peru who stop as early as late December, while others stop in late January; then it's waiting for Mexico to restart," she continues.
Last week, for the first time, Yex received a shipment of green asparagus by boat. "I was anxious to see how that would turn out, but it was fine. More and more retail clients want to avoid air freight for sustainability reasons and are increasingly specifically asking for sea freight. The great thing is that people also want to commit to this transportation mode, even with promotions. Next year, we'll definitely do a follow-up," concludes Lisa.