This January, there were unprecedented hot streaks in the melon market. "I've never experienced this in this winter month before," says Leon van den Hombergh of the Dutch company Frankort&Koning.
"Things have been different in recent years, but this year it seems it's still a supply and demand market. And that at near 0°C temperatures, we can still sell watermelons for €1.50/kg."
"Business has been unhindered since Christmas, with unexpectedly good sales. Our usual Brazilian supply didn't supplement volumes. That season didn't start very well, mainly because of the high costs, so people felt less need to send a lot to Europe," Leon explains.
"It became apparent that the market was becoming and staying empty. Central America wasn't yet ready to send melons to Europe, so, in January, prices rose every week. I think we've reached the highest level ever. Watermelons and yellow melons are selling on the spot market for as much as €1.50/kg, with Galia and Cantaloupe melons even around €2/kg."
Leon expects a good market situation this month too. "We're waiting for supplies from Costa Rica, Honduras, and Panama. But I certainly expect shortages in the watermelon and yellow melon markets in the coming weeks," he adds. "There will be some Cantaloupes and Galias coming in. It's generally a unique situation with a very different February than we've been used to in previous years."
"It's great for both producers and European melon market players to see that things can be different. The market for products like pineapples, grapes, and mangoes is developing very ordinarily. Melons are a fantastic exception. The risk now is that people everywhere will set their sights on Europe, causing the market to crash in March. But I hope the current cost prices will make them think twice," concludes Leon.
For more information:
Leon van den Hombergh
Frankort & Koning
Tel: +31 (0) 773 897 202
Mob: +31 (0) 651 238 770