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Frans van der Burg, Total Produce BV:

“High price not an obstacle for smooth sales of Florida grapefruit”

The sales of Florida grapefruit are currently doing very well. “We currently sell Star Ruby and Ruby Red. Prices are a bit high, but that is not an obstacle for smooth sales,” says Frans van der Burg from Total Produce BV. “Volumes are much lower than last year. At the start of the season, hurricane Matthew caused some problems in supply, and it was especially difficult to get large sizes (32, 36). These are still quite pricey.”

The current market prices for Star Ruby are between 21 and 30 euro, and for Ruby Red they are between 19 and 28 euro. “It always surprises me that customers absorb the Florida grapefruit this well after the South African season, which has considerably lower prices. On the other hand, cost price is much higher because of the dollar exchange rate, which is now at a value of 1.05-1.06. There have been years when you could buy them for 1.36 dollar.”

Van der Burg also says there is not much competition from other countries of origin. “Some customers sell them in addition to Turkish and Spanish grapefruit, but we also see customers who come back from that, and who choose the sweet flavour of the Florida grapefruit. The grapefruit from Mediterranean countries has a nicer skin. As regards eating, Florida has the best grapefruit available globally.”

According to the importer the export of white grapefruit from Florida has been reduced to a minimum. “Many orchards with white varieties have been cut down and replaced by red varieties, or are used for cattle breeding. The small volume available is sent to Japan at very high prices. It is remarkable that many customers now show interest in white grapefruit, but that happens every time there is limited product. But people lost a lot of money on white grapefruit in the past.”

Total Produce BV sells grapefruit throughout Europe, but France remains the largest buyer as regards consumption. He feels positive about the remainder of the season. “It is not really a holiday product, but in January people start dieting again, and demand recovers, and there will be promotional actions again as well. The first half of the season is almost over. From January, we will start receiving the second harvest. The fruit will no longer be heated then either, and we continue with that natural grapefruit until April, when the season seamlessly shifts to South Africa again.”

For more information:
Frans van der Burg
Total Produce BV
T : +31 (0)10 244 84 16
[email protected]
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