“In Belgium it took a very long time before consumers were convinced avocados have to be eaten ripe, and not kept in fruit bowls for weeks. The consumption of ready-to-eat Hass is finally increasing, and that can also be noticed in supermarkets. I think the share of greenskin avocados and of Hass is fifty/fifty, while a few years ago, Hass only amounted to about 10 per cent,” says Jan Vermeiren from Exofi.

Hass prices double
Vermeiren indicates volumes of this product come from Spain and Mexico. “Spain is troubled by too much rain, so we have to work with at least five shipping agents to get sufficient amounts. The green Bacon and Furerte are from Spain, and we get Hass from Mexico. The Spanish are sold at approximately 7 euro for sizes 14-18, and Hass is sold for double that price.”

In general trade is going quite calmly but steadily, according to Vermeiren. “It is a strange period, especially for Spanish product. Various products have supplies that are too low, because of rain and flooding.” The holidays are approaching, but that is not yet noticeable as regards sales. “A few years ago lychees were still shuffling along, but that is no longer the case nowadays. Everyone has their products and permanent customers. Fewer changes occur. Volumes per customer are decreasing, and it is difficult to get new customers. Besides, people can do more nowadays because of globalisation. However, for some countries, such as Kenya or Thailand, importing remains challenging, and that is the importer’s strength.”

Impact attacks
In March, Belgium suffered terrorist attacks, and this still has an impact on trade. “It is noticeable throughout Belgium, the economic damages are enormous. Many countries also give negative travel advice, so we have fewer travellers. It is very noticeable in Brussels and other large cities; catering and hotels are under pressure, and receive fewer guests than in previous years. Besides, soldiers still walk the streets, and that scares people. I think the impact will be felt for a long time.”

For more information:
Exofi Fresh Market BVBA
Jan Vermeiren
Werkhuizenkaai 112, mag.25-26
B-100 Brussels, Belgium
Tel: +32 2 243.12.49
Mob: + 32 475 86.09.80