Although there are comments from supermarkets that fewer grapes are being sold, supply and demand are still reasonably balanced, according to Corne van de Klundert of Rotterdam-based Origin Fruit Direct. "I understand the disappointment that the promotional volumes of other years in January and February are not being met, but there are also a lot fewer grapes available."
The supply of white seedless grapes from South Africa is already starting to decline quite a bit at the moment. "Hence, prices are still quite firm. We see prices in the market from 14 to 16 euros in the punnets and from 11-13 euros for the 4.5 kg," Corne says. "Red seedless grapes do come in in a reasonable volume now and we see that reflected in prices, which are at a level between 11.50-13.50 euros for the punnets and 9-11 euros for the 4.5 kg."
The importer characterises the quality of South African grapes as variable. "Some lots are excellent, but there are also inferior lots among them, some due to rain damage. Meanwhile, the Indian season has also started and it looks very positive with a good harvest and quality. There is tighter control on sugar levels in India, which is a good thing as it will result in higher brix on arrival."
"A firm supply is expected from India, which traditionally does lead to a somewhat lower price level," Corne expects. "The advantage is that sea freight rates from countries like India and Egypt are friendlier than last year. That differs from sea freight from South Africa and South America, which is still quite pricey."
"The Peruvian season for seedless grapes is now ending, but I see Red Globe arrivals from Peru continuing until the end of April. Meanwhile, Chile has also started packing for Europe and that supply, which consists mainly of red seedless grapes and Red Globe, will start increasing step by step."
According to the importer, the biggest developments in the grape market, are in the greater availability of new varieties. "Customer awareness of these new varieties is increasing and we are getting more and more specific demand for them. This year, for the first time, we are already seeing this with Indian grapes, which is an excellent development as far as we are concerned."
For more information:
Corné van de Klundert
Origin Fruit Direct
Tel.: +31 (0)6 43 241 489