Citrus and citrus product sales are seeing a large upturn, with the orange juice futures price up 22% due to the coronavirus pandemic, according to new data.
Erratic demand for fruit and vegetables during the pandemic has continued according to analysts Tridge. With panic buying subsiding and people settled into lockdown, some fresh produce categories have been negatively hit, while others have recovered from the initial shock.
Citrus has remained the most sought-after global fruit during the crisis, as juice demand surges, and people seek to boost their immune system by increasing vitamin C intake.
“According to Bloomberg, futures for orange juice has seen a 22% increase in March, the highest monthly gain since October 2015,” Tridge states.
Logistical difficulties cause concern
Global movement of fruit and vegetables took a heavy hit at the start of the crisis, however, as movement restrictions and logistics difficulties hit.
Exports from Morocco, a major supplier of fresh produce to the European Union (EU), has suffered as a result, according to Tridge, with large numbers of suppliers now halting tomato shipments due to falling demand.
“The EU has seen a decrease in tomato imports from Morocco, the fourth-biggest exporter, leaving 80% of the producers in Souss, a major hub for production and exports, to halt tomato shipments.
“Multiple factors, such as decreases in panic buying, increases in logistics costs for exporting to the EU, as well as EU countries’ encouraging purchases of local food products, have influenced Morocco’s tomato exports,” according to Tridge.
France has also decided to suspend imports from Morocco once the current contract amount ends, “much to the worry of Moroccan tomato exporters as the country is their highest value-generating export market,” Tridge states.
Influence of consumer habits
In the United States, people are also less likely to eat fresh produce at home than when dining out, meaning vegetable consumption has declined.
“Consumer habits show that Americans are less likely to eat vegetables at home rather than when eating out. Farmers have attempted to redirect their produce from restaurants to grocery stores, but are still facing difficulties with a lack of storage for its inventories.”
Exotic exports from Vietnam also took a massive hit after trade with China plummeted due to backlogs.
“The demand for Vietnamese dragon fruit and watermelon, the main fruit export products, is recovering slowly in April as trade to China resumes. Exports had plummeted in February and March due to backlogs in crossing borders to China, its biggest export market for fruit. Vietnamese fruit exports to China fell by 30% compared to last year,” according to Tridge. – Ed Leahy, Fruitnet