There were vast amounts of blueberries available during the overseas season. The volumes coming from Morocco and Spain are considerably lower, says Harm Valckx of Berry Packaging in the Netherlands. "We don't trade but pack for various customers, and most of the berries coming from Morocco have already been sold. The Spanish supply is lower too, and there are huge quality differences. But there's nowhere near the volume coming in that everyone had expected," he says.
"The overseas season is completely over. We got the last Chilean blueberries in the first week of March. We packed a huge amount of kilos this winter. The Peruvian season went well, but the quality from Chile was very variable for yet another year. I wonder about those berries for the future. Normally we package until late March, but because of all the claim risks, this year's season ended earlier. During the South American season, we had weeks of low prices; now, it's the opposite. Because of the shortages, kilo prices even reached €13."
"I think the Spanish volumes will increase somewhat in weeks 15 and 16. But overall, we expect at least 25% lower production due to the cold weather. If the fruit doesn't ripen through, it affects the kilos. There's a huge blueberry demand. Despite the abnormally high prices, clients continue to order berries," Harm explains.
"Though they now prefer smaller packaging. People are now selling fewer 500 g packs and more 125 and 200 g. In the winter, when supplies were large, buyers increasingly chose 700 g-1 kg packaging. I can see this trend toward larger packaging continuing soon in the European season."
As an independent soft fruit packaging plant, Berry Packing Services processes millions of kilograms of berries annually. "We can process more than 100 tons of the total soft fruit package every day. This year we've invested in additional machines to optimize our services and be ready for even larger volumes," Harm concludes.
For more information:
Berry Packing Services
Tel: +31 (0) 777 650 000