Heat records are being broken day after day. But what does a hot late summer mean for the fruit and vegetable trade? John van Duivenbode, Riny van der Staak and Wilko van der Zwaard respond.
John van Duivenbode: “As a whole the heat is unfavourable”
“Heat isn’t favourable for us,” says John van Duivenbode of Junior Fruit from the wholesale market in Rotterdam. “We mostly supply market traders and they see their sales reduce. They take only what they need, as everything they put down will fry. I estimate that we will sell 30-40% less. There are a few products that are having a revival. You might sell an extra watermelon for instance. Citrus sells reasonably because there isn’t much available. The people are a bit fed up of the stone fruit, such as peaches and nectarines, and the heat has consequences for the quality of strawberries. As a whole the heat is unfavourable for our trade.”
Riny van der Staak: “Market of extremes offers opportunities”
“These extreme temperatures will have their consequences, but offer opportunities for the trade,” responds Riny van der Staak of the company of the same name at Fresh Park Venlo. “The real professionals in the top fruit harvest can stand up and benefit from this later in the season. The heat will undoubtedly also cause some drop out in vegetables, but in the end there will also be professionals here who can make a profit. For the trade in general the heat has negative consequences, because people are afraid to buy vegetables. Various products, such as cauliflower, have been very expensive in recent weeks, as a different supermarket had an offer on each time. Now there are no offers and the price has collapsed, the same for chicory. But to be honest I like that. A trader and grower who is alert can make money in a market of extremes with fluctuating prices.”
Wilko van der Zwaard: “Stone fruit sells like a charm”
For Wilko van der Zwaard, who is located with Wilko Fruit at the IABC estate in Breda, summer can’t be spoiled. “We are a stone fruit specialist and will continue until the second week of October with peaches and nectarines. Our producer has new varieties every week and with this weather they’re selling like a charm! The turnover is growing hugely. As retailers we foresee having a great stone fruit season and the guys on the market are also doing well. They were slightly behind in spring as the weather was slightly disappointing and they dropped some turnover as a result of the failed cherry harvest, for instance, but have more than compensated for this with a good autumn. My customers and I are very satisfied.” Wilko even goes further. “The crisis is definitely over. We see a higher percentage of customers who don’t just go for the lowest price, but for the best quality. After years of just ‘price, price, price’ they now only want the best. And that’s a great development!”