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Marcel van Lith, The Greenery

“The weather is not helping, but entire soft fruit category on the rise”

The soft fruit market is in full swing. “Everyone anticipates growing demand. Blueberries and raspberries are often singled out regarding growth, but I also expect blackberries and redcurrants to grow further in the coming years,” Marcel van Lith from The Greenery says. He shares his vision of the market for several types of soft fruit.

Dutch redcurrants are currently at the end of their storage season. “We closed the season a little earlier than last year, when qualitatively better currants, which we could store until mid-May, were available. Shelf life is slightly less now, and we expect to finish next week,” Van Lith says. “It has been a fairly good year, and I think cultivators also look back at a satisfying season. We had very few problems qualitatively.”

“Except for some import of Chilean redcurrants at the start of the year, the majority of redcurrants is cultivated and stored in the Netherlands, we have hardly any import. Our experience in cultivation and storage has helped to build a unique position in the Dutch sector,” the soft fruit seller continues. “Redcurrants are mostly exported. France and Germany are large buyers, but fair volumes are exported to countries such as Austria and Switzerland, and distant destinations such as the Middle East as well.”

The Dutch blackberry season has just started from the greenhouses. “Prices have been good up to now, but supply is still limited. In the Netherlands and Belgium we see a clear growth in blackberry supply. The market has been growing less rapidly than that of blueberries and raspberries, but the growth is there, and I expect it will continue growing in the coming years. That is why it is good that the supply is growing with the market,” Van Lith explains. “With blackberries you do see that it is more difficult to create extra sales through pressure on prices than with other soft fruits, because it is not a typical product for retailers to promote.”

The supply of raspberries from Dutch greenhouses also started mid-April. “Our supply currently consists mainly of the strain Lagorai, of which we have the exclusive selling rights in the Netherlands. Soon Grandeur and Kwanza will also join,” Van Lith says. “Raspberry prices have been good up till now, even though we have large volumes from Portugal and Spain in the market. Retail mostly supplies import products now, and the switch to Dutch raspberries will depend on availability and difference in prices. But volumes from Dutch greenhouses are not too big yet, and there is no pressure on prices. Specific customers are often willing to pay a little more for product from Dutch greenhouses.”

The Dutch raspberry season will last until early December. The last greenhouse raspberries will then be picked. The outdoor raspberry season will start mid-June and will last until the end of October. Thanks to the import of raspberries from Spain, Portugal and Mexico, The Greenery can meet demand for raspberries year-round.

While strawberry prices dropped significantly last week, the market has now recovered nicely. “Supply from Spain and Portugal is still fairly large. That creates some pressure, but retailers are willing to quickly switch to Dutch product at this time of year,” Van Lith says. “Currently the weather is not helping the entire soft fruit sales in the Netherlands and elsewhere in Europe, but I expect that when a change in weather occurs both volume and demand will increase rapidly.”

For more information:
The Greenery
Marcel van Lith
Tel: (+31) 180 656 974
[email protected]
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