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Henk Vlaeminck, Van Dijk Foods:

"Desire for new products and good weather boosts demand for Spanish stone fruit"

There appears to be a shift in demand towards new products in the market. During the winter months, citrus and grapes dominated, but in recent weeks, consumers have increasingly been seeking out summer fruits. This is also observed by Henk Vlaeminck of Van Dijk Foods, which is actively engaged with Spanish stone fruit. "You can see that people are craving something different, which coincides beautifully with the superb quality we are receiving from Royal."

The Belgian importer offers a variety of paraguayos, apricots, and peaches, but this year has also introduced the new red-fleshed Royal Sanguine nectarine to its range for the first time. "You can see that this is very popular here in Belgium. Moreover, there is generally a strong demand for stone fruit. So, people are looking for a different product, but this is also enhanced by the recent weather conditions. As long as it's cold and rainy, stone fruit doesn't make it to the table, but as soon as the sun starts shining, consumers are tempted to give it a try. If the stone fruit then has the quality, like this year, they ultimately keep coming back for it. That reinforces each other."

"As a result, we are currently working with attractive prices. For the most expensive ranges of paraguayos, peaches, and nectarines, we are around €5.00 to 5.50 per kilo," Henk continues. "However, I think there will be more pressure on apricot prices, as there's a bit more supply. In peaches and nectarines, the supply and demand are perfectly balanced. Not too much fruit and good demand, making it an interesting market."

"Even the rain yesterday and today will do little to change that. Supermarkets are also looking for new products to promote. They've had strawberries for a while, so now paraguayos, peaches, and nectarines are coming into focus. They want to take some action with them, so the market will remain stable in price despite the less favorable weather, I expect. Moreover, they are predicting good temperatures again by the end of next week, so the rain will quickly be forgotten. We expect to be able to offer the stone fruit until about September."

Limited supply, but large cherries
Besides stone fruit, Van Dijk Foods is also receiving the first Spanish cherries this week. "They have been on the market for about three weeks, but we don't really deal with the early varieties anymore. The good varieties are starting this week and I must say that the quality is exceptionally good, with nice sizes. Moreover, they are still relatively limited in supply, so it's a nice product to work with."

"Due to heavy rain affecting part of France, some of the supply was damaged. Spain also suffered partly from this, so for now, there is somewhat less supply. However, there are also fewer cherries on the trees, resulting in larger sizes. We prefer to work with a limited supply of large cherries than a large supply of small ones. From next week onwards, the volume will gradually increase. This will continue until about mid-June. It varies by season, of course, but that is the expectation. After that, we will still receive some Turkish and Czech cherries, but it will be too warm in Spain, which is not optimal for cherry cultivation. For now, however, we can work very well with them," concludes Henk.

For more information:
Henk Vlaeminck
Van Dijk Foods
Kempenarestraat 50
2860 Sint-Katelijne-Waver, Belgium
Tel.:+32 15 55 65 61
Email: [email protected]

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