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EU: Challenging season for citrus

The dry summer in Spain is resulting in smaller sized citrus this season, meaning the market will be interesting for traders. This is also true for Richard Uijtdewillegen, ultimately responsible for the Spanish import for Aartsenfruit. He does not just talk about the challenging citrus market, he will also present three new product groups which will be marketed under the UNO-label from the start of the next season.

Uijtdewillegen operates on the free market, which means sizes are especially important. “There will be plenty of citrus available, but sizes will be disappointing due to the dry summer months. Unfortunately, larger sizes are more important to the free market. Because sizes are smaller now, we have to really search for good product.” Aartsenfruit has a wide group of suppliers in various regions, thus ensuring good supply. “And that is part of our strength. Hopes are high.”

Richard Uijtdewillegen (right) with a Spanish client.

Later strains will probably be able to recover. “Especially the first Navelinas and tangerines are smaller. Sizes might be bigger later in the season, if we have enough rain. It is the beginning of the season that is especially tricky.” Uijtdewillegen has high hopes that the Powell and Navellate will have larger sizes available.

More under the UNO-label
Aartsenfruit has supplied the UNO label for Spanish products for some years now. The lion’s share of Spanish import is packaged under this brand. That amounts to 80 per cent of the citrus supply. “The product packaged under this label is of better quality,” Uijtdewillegen explains. That means, for example, that the citrus is less likely to have skin damage. Additionally, extra care is paid to the presentation of the fruit. “Presentation is important because we operate on the free market. Our customers buy with their eyes, and that is also why we have, for example, a 16-kilogram crate instead of a 15-kilogram crate.” That one kilogram makes all the difference for the presentation of the citrus.

Other Spanish produce is also packaged under UNO. For example, 80 to 90 per cent of greenhouse vegetables, which Aartsenfruit imports from Almería, is marketed under this label. For the outdoor vegetables from Murcia, such as iceberg lettuce, blanched celery and broccoli, that percentage is around 60 per cent. “If products meet our requirements, they can be packaged under the UNO label.” Next season, the assortment will be increased further. From the start of the strawberry season in Huelva, this fruit will become available under UNO. Next year, stone fruit, Piel de Sapo and yellow melons will follow, among other products.

Lucas en Kittos
“Besides our own brand UNO, Aartsenfruit also supplies other brands exclusively in the Benelux; including Lucas and Kittos. Lucas is strong in romaine lettuce, little gem, leaf parsley, spinach and various herbs. We trade Kittos ice lettuce and broccoli. Together with our partners, Aartsenfruit strives for the best results,” Uijtdewillegen concludes.

For more information:
Aartsen Fruit
Richard Uijtdewillegen