This year, Dutch open-field zucchini growers, too, face weather-related challenges. "While record temperatures are normal for July, we had the most precipitation (also a record) and the least production this year. That threw crop planning into disarray. Auction volumes, thus, fluctuated wildly, from almost nothing to plenty. Still, I'm proud of our growers. They've put a lot of work into getting the product to our regular customers," says Product Manager Leander van de Griend of ZON.
This year's prices fluctuated considerably along with supplies. Supplies are now stable, and demand is well balanced, says Leander. "The zucchini market hopes fall will stay away for a while." He is optimistic about this product's sales. "Dutch retailers very often include zucchini in their fresh packs. That market keeps growing, which leads to consumers increasingly consuming zucchini," Leander explains.
"That also inspires people to cook more with zucchini. Zucchini soup is well known but has many more uses, such as spaghetti, casserole, stuffing, or grilling ingredients. When the weather's warm, sales for their use on the barbecue increases. In the process, shoppers are getting to know zucchini as a fairly low-priced product."
"It lets them eat relatively inexpensively," continues Leander, who adds that the rise of fresh packs is limited to the Netherlands. "The Netherlands is a true trendsetter here. In Germany, fresh food packs aren't getting off the ground. German consumer buyer patterns remain traditional."
ZON has three affiliated open-field zucchini growers and three that grow yellow zucchini under glass. "This year's greenhouse yellow zucchini supply is somewhat lower. Several growers have stopped, and we, thus, have less supply available," Van den Griend says. According to him, there is no competition between this product and open-field green zucchini. "They're similar, but you can't compare them one-to-one. Greenhouse yellow zucchinis have a different cost price, and you won't find them on store shelves below a certain price."
Leander used to get supermarket requests for yellow and green zucchini to promote separately or together. These days, those promotions consist entirely of green zucchini. "They also run those together with eggplants, and that combination is catching on nicely." ZON expects to offer both greenhouse and open-field zucchini until about week 42. "But that depends on until when the plants are still producing and when Israel and Senegal start yellow zucchini," he concludes.