Fruitbox insight into what’s next for fruit and veg business

In this week’s Fruitbox podcast, host Chris White speaks to Mike Knowles and Maura Maxwell of Fruitnet about the trends and ongoing challenges faced by the European fresh fruit and veg business as a result of COVID-19. They reflect that, although the surges in demand that were seen at the beginning of lock down have leveled out, two longer term trends that seem set to stay (and accentuated by a second wave) are expansion of online retail and delivery options.

They reflect that COVID-19 has accelerated these trends and now sales are becoming a newer 21st century hybrid mix of retail/food service/takeaways and deliveries. More producers across the world are supplying directly to customers through online platforms. Reflecting on Italy’s production, Mike noted that apples, pears and kiwis have done very well and as the new season for these fruits approaches they have good export prospects. According to Maura, Spain has had one of it’s best seasons so far in recent years and producers responded well to COVID-19.

With the veg and citrus season just about to start Spain are wondering if demand will continue to be strong as there are some signs that consumer spending is slowing. Brexit is also causing concern as tariffs that are likely to come in on January 1st 2021 on citrus, for example 16% for Spanish mandarins and clementines, may put Spain at a serious competitive disadvantage with countries like Morocco, Egypt and Turkey. 

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