There is good demand for kakis in the German market, and wholesaler Life Produce, offers the exotic fruit from October to February, averaging around 500,000 kg sold per season.

The company specialises in Italian and Spanish grown fruit and vegetables, having their own growing regions in Italy and Spain, although CEO Emanuele Lauricella, says that the Spanish supply is the most in demand. The Spanish season started a bit late this year, but the wholesaler said that they were no issues with quality once they arrived.

When asked about competition for persimmons from Israel, Lauricella said, "I don't think that the Sharon fruit could become more competitive than the Spanish Kaki on the German market. For example, Israeli Orri clementines are, in my opinion, much better than the Spanish, but for whatever reason, they don't tend to 'move as well'."

There are not huge differences between the Sharon fruit and the Kaki, with the most difference being just the different varieties.

"The round Kaki, oval persimmon and tomato shaped Sharon, all have the same attributes. The smooth, shiny and thin skin, ranges in colour from yellow (unripe Sharon and persimmon) to a red orange (kaki, ripe persimmon), and as the fruit matures, it develops the texture of a kiwi. They are also known for their health attributes, which appeals to consumers."

Life Produce started supplying to the Middle East as of this year and Emanualle said that it has been a very interesting experience so far. In the future they would like to expand their exports to Jordan and Libya, but also have their sights set on sending more exports to the North American markets.

"Our customers have been thrilled with what they have received and we are looking forward to a great 2017 Kaki season. I am really happy with the market conditions in the Middle East, especially in comparison to Europe," shared Lauricella.

Emanuele Lauricella (left) with a Middle East exporter.

"I think that the Arab market is the future of this business! It is still a free market with lots of opportunities. The framework of the fruit and vegetable industry is open and we have a free trader there for the import/export business. I think that it is very important to get to know the market; what is in demand and, once this is clear, come into the market with new products."

For more information:
Emanuele Lauricella
Life Produce GmbH
Tel: +49 211 39020567
Fax: +49 211 29364877