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Arie Middelburg, GreenMatch

"Cucumbers, tomatoes and bell pepper below baseline"

In an earlier article in May this year, Arie Middelburg of Greenmatch made a prognosis for this season regarding pricing across the entire season. "Unfortunately, the prognosis did come true for the cucumber, tomato and bell pepper product groups, by coming and staying below the baseline," Middelburg observes. "But that the end result for bell peppers and cucumbers in particular would be so bad, was against expectations."

As a consultancy firm and agency, Greenmatch works with professionally supported data, recommendations and comparisons on vegetable sales. Using those figures, Arie Middelburg looks back on the independent products. "Every season has its own story. A lot of production until July this year thanks to the good weather, the Russian boycott and ever increasing competition in the whole of Europe, have been important factors in pricing."

"Surprisingly, the tomatoes, vine in particular, were able to recover well this autumn. A combination of quickly decreasing productions from August onwards, relatively little competition, strong decrease of supply after the 'illuminated cultivations' stopped, and no supply spike at the end of regular crops (which did last a while longer), have been factors that played a part in establishing good prices in autumn, particularly with vine tomatoes. Still, it's a bit of a miracle how prices for tomatoes recovered, with quality and sales also being a good constant factor this season, particularly in autumn."

"One word: dramatic! I already wrote a column, and the situation didn't change much in that respect. The market has been saturated for too long this season, with large quantities. When nothing is consumed any more, the acreage (read production) will have to go down in order to give the stayers in cultivation another chance for better pricing in the next years. A further constant factor when it comes to quality and reliability of the Dutch cucumbers is also an additional focus here."

Bell peppers
"The bell pepper season fizzled out. In the summer, a good revival seemed to be coming regarding pricing. But together with the start of the Russian boycott around week 32, relatively little export to the US, and later also the transition to Spanish bell peppers around week 37, with supermarkets dealing ruthlessly with their suppliers, the factors caused an even worse autumn than in other years, with the results we now know."

Coming years
"In general, we need more and longer customer retention in the season, if we want to make use of the full season. Quality cannot be up for discussion, and adjustments in the acreage (productions) will be a leading factor for good sales. There are few reserves left, so 2015 definitely has to be better, but I won't give a prognosis on that at this point."

In the below chart * the trend can be seen based on the index of the average pricing between 2007 and 2013 (0% average), and I made a careful prognosis in May 2014 for cucumbers, tomatoes (individual and vine together) and bell peppers (red/green/yellow) on conventional cultivation. Next to it, the outcomes of the actual results are displayed.

Larger view

For more information:
Arie Middelburg
Postbus 98
2678 ZH De Lier
Phone: +31(0)6-52520693
Fax: +31(0)84-7583547
[email protected]

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