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Michel van den Berg, De Best AGF:

"After a great summer, Dutch eateries and weekly markets are struggling now"

Fruit and vegetable sales at the Forepark business park in the Netherlands are currently not great, says Michel van den Berg. "The weather's not helping, and the trade is very expensive. Many of our market, retail, and hospitality customers had a wonderful summer, partly thanks to the beautiful weather. It would be a crying shame if all that were to be lost during the winter."

"Many seasons are ending now, the summer fruit's done, and we're moving on to other products. Overseas mandarin sales are going well, as are juicing oranges. Those are priced well. Plum and grape prices are reasonable. The first Brazilian melons are also back, but they're pricey," Michel continues.

"The soft fruit supply's diminishing rapidly; we still have quite a lot of greenhouse strawberries, but everything's starting to become scarce now. The big question is how many products like tomatoes and cucumbers will be available in the winter. That may become a problem. Our regular growers have already said they're not planting anything and won't be back in business until March or April. The Spanish are sitting back quietly and waiting to see what will happen."

"That makes things difficult for us. The large supermarkets all have price deals. You can buy zucchini for €0.60 in the store," explains the wholesaler, "while we have to pay €1.20, €1.30 for them. But the entire European trade sector has to deal with that. My biggest concern is whether consumers can still afford fruits and vegetables with all these increased costs. I think that's the biggest challenge for the winter."

"But weekly market sales are definitely down because of the weather and high costs. Vendors are struggling to sell their wares. But you'll see, there's always a way back up. After all, expensive can also become too expensive. We try to distinguish ourselves by continuing to help clients well. That's how you hope your existing buyers remain loyal," Michel concludes.

For more information:
Michel van den Berg
De Best AGF
Tel: +31 (0) 623 728 028

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