Swedish consumers can look forward to more affordable summer fruit prices, while the same cannot be said for vegetables. According to Kristoffer Löfgren, newly appointed managing partner of Swedish importer and distributor Hebes Kinne-Frukt AB: "Vegetables has been on a roller-coaster ride, to say the least. We have had sky-high prices for capsicums and tomatoes mainly. But we now see that prices are dropping due to increased volumes in the Netherlands, we are also seeing local Swedish tomatoes becoming available."
Kristoffer Löfgren, newly appointed managing partner of Swedish importer and distributor Hebes Kinne-Frukt AB
The better and lower prices in Sweden, just before summer, comes as good news for consumers after a tough winter. During this winter, the very high vegetable prices in Sweden has contributed to the highest level of food price increases in the country in 72 years while also adding to the highest inflation in 30 years. Sweden's inflation was up to 12% in February 2023, according to the Consumer Price Index (CPI) figures, leaving many consumers struggling to afford the basics.
"From our point of view, we have seen that fruit prices have been affordable for local customers the last couple of weeks, and by the looks of it, it will remain affordable. We are now starting with the import of Belgian and Dutch strawberries, which has a high demand. In a couple of weeks' time, we will be able to launch Swedish strawberries as well. We have recently switched to Spanish melons and will also receive our first nectarines, peaches, and apricots during the weekend," explains Löfgren.
Spring and summer sales outlook in Sweden
"We have seen a good development of sales in the last couple of weeks. If we can work with a good price level on these products and have nice weather with many sun hours, I think there is a good opportunity to sell a lot of fruits," states Löfgren.
He is not worried about potential summer drought and shortages reportedly going to take place in Spain and France this year. "That is not something we are worried about for now. We won't speculate too much on that matter at the moment. I trust that our purchasers will find solutions if it becomes a problem. We have lots of experience for these types of situations, and I am also comfortable in that we have the right suppliers if we have to start looking elsewhere."
Swedish strawberries, Hebe's own brand Gotegubbar
New partner, new position
He started working for Hebe's warehouse in Gothenburg right after finishing school aged 18, and now, at the age of 25, he worked his way up to become a leader in the company. Hebe bought the company and decided to welcome him as a partner and CEO for the HebeKinnefrukt branch in Lidköping.
"What drives me is that every day feels like a new chapter. There are always new possibilities and problems that you have to handle, and working in that kind of environment, with a high tempo, suits me well as a person. I have had two excellent mentors in Daniel and Roland, who have taken care of me very well and taught me a lot of things. The company itself has had a good development, and we are barely getting started. We have a lot of things we want to do, so we have to take it one step at a time. The future is bright," says a hopeful Löfgren.
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