The consumption of exotic fruit has drastically dropped. No product is doing better than the others, as buyers prefer purchasing basic food rather than niche products due to inflation.
"The post-Christmas period has been the worst of the part 10 years. Demand is so low that we even managed to contain the Peru 'problem'. In normal conditions, in fact, the difficulties that the country is facing would have caused many issues. However, the volumes of mangoes are enough at the moment and we can manage them regularly," explains Giorgio Donnarumma, sales manager at Nuovafrutta.
"There will probably be a surge of mangoes imported via air from Peru towards April but, at the moment, prices and volumes are not improving. It must be said that, compared with a few years ago, the production of mangoes has increased and there is also a higher number of exporters and buyers."
According to Donnarumma, the negative trend concerns all exotic prices and is having consequences on sales prices. "Brazilian limes are less than €3/packet. Defining this as below cost is actually a compliment! When I started working in this sector 15 years ago, there was always a period (May to July) when quotations hovered around €14-15. This compensated for the low season. There was a precise seasonality, with set arrivals from specific importers. Now the market is much more improvised and extremely fragmented."
"The produce is lacking and the prices of Hass and smooth-peel avocadoes are sky-high. Fruits are currently coming from Morocco and Israel and the strikes in the French ports - the main destinations of these two countries - are not helping. The situation is made worse by the terrible quality of Mexican avocados, which is causing problems to all those who are dealing with them. This is why we have chosen not to import them."
The sales manager stresses that Morocco is evolving when it comes to avocado cultivation. "The current season is good and the quality is similar to that from Spain and Peru. Volumes however are still limited."
"Between October and December 2022, prices exceeded €50/pack (22 kg) compared to the average €24 of the same period in 2021. Now consumption has dropped and prices have gone back to previous levels. Quotations at origin, however, have remained very high. The only weapon we have at the moment is halting or reducing imports. We are only registering 50% of incoming volumes."
"The produce comes from Colombia and Ecuador. The Colombian products remains very expensive, but volumes and quality are low. Over three weeks, the price of the Ecuadorian produce dropped by 50% instead."
Papayas and ginger
The market could be defined as regular for papayas. "There is nothing in particular to report. We are continuing to commercialize the Brazilian produce of the Song River brand."
As for ginger, "the produce is registering quotations of around €3/kg but, in this case too, demand is not high. Most of all, we are not selling the same volumes reached during the pandemic, when ginger reached as much as €7/kg. Currently, in China, it costs $3,000 a ton and no one is making a purchase at these prices unless there are already plans in place."