An early end to the Spanish and Italian grape seasons made room sooner for overseas grapes on the market this year. "Particularly Brazilian and Peruvian grapes came this way much earlier. That switch usually often happens in week 48/49. It was three to four weeks earlier this year, depending on color and variety," says Wibo van den Ende of Vita Optima in the Netherlands.
Wibo van den Ende
"Prices are unusually high, too. They're at €19 or €20 for 10x500 grams. But despite everyone finding those on the high side, sales are healthy. Promotions are few and far between, but regular, programmed sales are going well. Starting in week 51, there will be the necessary promotions again, especially with white grapes."
"Now, we wait for the South African and Namibian seasons. The first grapes from Namibia are already arriving this week, and the larger volumes will arrive in weeks 50 and 51. A normal harvest seems to be coming from there. South Africa, especially in the north, has somewhat lower volumes. The market for these grapes should stay good. However, the logistics from South Africa remain challenging, with delays seemingly becoming a tradition in recent years," Wibo explains.
Left: Jeffrey Scholtes. Right: Arnoud Keijzer and Wibo van den Ende
Before, grape sales often peaked as Christmas neared and then collapsed. According to Wibo, recently, the demand increasingly remains until New Year's. "The Spanish custom of eating a grape on each clock strike at midnight on New Year's Eve always boosts sales. The required promotions are also planned again early in the new year."
Wibo sees a trend of purchasing supermarkets being more and more selective about choosing certain varieties. "MRL values and certifications are increasingly leading the way, too. Grapes are one of many supermarkets' core products and are promotionally essential in the winter," he says. "The current economic situation makes consumers very price conscious, making promotions more important."
"Vita Optima is developing nicely. Our team has, for example, expanded again this year. We specialize specifically in imported products: grapes, citrus, avocados, mangoes, and dates. We handle the import, pre-packaging, and entire distribution for growers, exporters, importers, and supermarkets to German-speaking and Scandinavian countries, in particular," Wibo concludes.