For now, it is business as usual at Belgian stores and eateries. "But given all the COVID-19 messages, I expect more consumers will soon stay home or get take-aways. That could be advantageous for retailers," says Guy Claessens of Fruit Vandepoel. This company is located at the Brussels wholesale market, MaBru.
According to the wholesaler, there is an important trend. More and more retailers are ordering by email. "They used to visit wholesalers more and pick out their merchandise. Now they order most products online. They often come and pick up their trade themselves. And then pick up the last few things."
"It's not yet hectic. Everyone's waiting for the latest corona rules. But I think demand will pick up in December. For example, there's far more demand for exotics."
"At present, we're doing a lot of products like lychees from Réunion Island. Chilean and South African cherries are also in high demand. As are leaf oranges and pomegranates from Sicily," says Guy.
"And we're also selling quite a few kumquats. Our Top mangoes from Dorium tropical Gold are doing well too. The special citrus season has also started. So we have lots of unique citrus products. These include Buddha hand, Chinotto, bergamot, Cedrate, Calamansi, citrus caviar, Flying Dragon, and tiger-striped lemons."
"Wild mushrooms sales were moderate this year. Prices were high, and they were quite scarce. That season is already reaching its end now. Mini-vegetables and so-called forgotten vegetables are doing very well again," Guy continues
"For instance, we're currently selling mini greenhouse cauliflowers, mini-parsnips, and mini-carrots, As well as specialties such as chervil root and Pink meat radish. That's in addition to the typical winter vegetables such as Brussels sprouts. We import Italian vegetables, and they're also very popular."
"The Christmas rush we used to have has somewhat flattened out. There are plenty of shopkeepers who even close. But we're going to do everything possible to present a top range. Then the high-end stores can come to us. We'll have all the fruit and vegetable products that excel in quality and taste. We consider that our job," concludes Guy.