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Only threat to French apples is overpricing

With record prices in Europe due to a continent-wide scarcity of apples, shippers and other fruit brokers are enjoying a good season. But although there's a temptation to make up for less volume with higher prices, pricing fruit out of the market is a serious risk for European retailers.
 
“In 20 years in this business, I have not seen prices like these; it's exceptional,” said Marc Peyres, sales director for Blue Whale. As France's leading apple exporter, Blue Whale is an organization of 200 growers with farms in the Loire Valley, the Alps, south-western France and south-eastern France. They're entering the second half of the apple season, and, according to Peyres, they hope it's as good as the first part.


 
“The situation has been simple,” he explained. “There has been less fruit this year in Europe, and because of a lack of fruit in storage from last season we've started with an empty market. So with good demand around the world, we've enjoyed good prices.” Blue Whale has also enjoyed good volume for most varieties this year and that's made for a very good season.
 
“We've started very well in terms of volume, price and quality,” he said. “If things continue like this until the end of the season, it will be perfect.” With so many things going well for them, the biggest concern Peyres has is if retailers raise prices too high, and although he doesn't think it's a major worry for all European countries, he's seen it happen in some countries including France.


 
“If retailers don't set prices too high trying to get better margins, we should be good,” he said. “But we've seen in the past how fruit can be priced out of the market.”
 
If everyone in the apple industry is careful to avoid turning off consumers with over-the-top prices, Peyres believes it could be one of the best seasons for growers and retailers, but it's all contingent on keeping a close watch on the issue.
 
“France is concerned for that, as well as other markets, but we hope it doesn't happen,” he said. “We just have to be very careful.”

For more information:
Marc Peyres
Blue Whale
Tel +33 5.63.21.56.56
Marc@blue-whale.com
www.blue-whale.com

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