"Jan Vermeiren, Exofi: "Consumers increasingly fixed on prices"

Belgium: “French kiwis have become marginal products”

The French kiwi season started this week and according to Jan Vermeiren of Exofi it’s off to a better start than usual. “Last season the market was still inundated by supplies from New Zealand, but fortunately that is not the case now. The market is slightly more accessible, due to low yields in Italy, caused by frost. Quantities arriving from France are up to the usual standards. We expect some 80,000 tons to come in this season.”

“The only other players on the market right now are Italy and Greece. In spite of Italy’s frost problems, the French kiwis are not as pricey as we expected. Price levels are about average. The Italian shortages haven’t really made a difference in the overall quantity, it seems. We suspect changing consumer habits to affect prices as well; they’re not just going for quality any more, prices have suddenly become an issue. And French kiwis are still more expensive: about 2 Euro more per 3 kg.”

“So I guess we have the financial crisis to blame,” says Vermeiren. “Consumers tend to go for the cheaper products. Just look at the French kiwis: they used to roll out 10 different labels on the Brussels’ wholesale market; now it’s down to 4. The French kiwi has become a marginalised product, inhabiting no more than a niche. The French kiwi has all but disappeared from Holland and Germany. Still, we hope to retain our position by keeping up quality and reasonable pricing.” 

Exofi has been marketing the French Sikig label, market leader of the French kiwi. It supplies 18% of the company's output. 

For more information:
Jan Vermeiren
Exofi Fresh Market BVBA
Werkhuizenkaai 112, mag.25-26
B-100 Brussel
Tel: +32 2 243.12.49
GSM: + 32 475 86.09.80

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