The next Belgian pear season will mainly be characterized by rising costs. According to Christoph Van Haelst of Van Haelst Fruit, it is vital for growers that growers and exporters present a united front for fair prices. “In particular, energy costs are skyrocketing, and they are difficult to pass on. We have to stay calm and not instantly flood the market. Then together we can get fair prices. Supermarkets have a role here important to play for everyone to make a good living,” He begins.
Good but variable quality
Van Haelst Fruit has just finished harvesting its new crop of Conference pears. “Our pears are of excellent quality with far fewer Class II pears and a very high sugar content. However, there are major differences between plots. The stormy weather drastically affected some producers very locally and the quality of the plots that were not irrigated when it was so hot is much lower than the irrigated plots.”
“Fortunately, we were able to irrigate very well. Still, overall the pears will be up to 5-10mm smaller than last year. As for the volumes, the trader estimates that there are more than last year. “Apart from the exceptions, all the producers harvested more. However, the pears are sold by the kilo but consumed by the piece, so we will have to encourage increased consumption through promotions,” explains Christoph.
“Staying calm is crucial”
As mentioned, he fears that the market will be oversupplied at the start of the season. “People, having picked smaller pears, are more likely to pack them. Rising energy costs have made storage extremely expensive. Many producers and traders then consider prolonged storage unprofitable because they cannot pass on these high costs to supermarkets.
“These rising energy costs mean panic is setting in, while a healthy pear market requires calm. Negotiations will begin soon and we as Dutch and Belgian traders must remain resolute if we are to pass these costs on to supermarkets. They pass it on. consumers anyway,” continues Christoph.
“This, while largely ignoring the expenses of producers and traders. The most important costs – refrigeration – are behind us, so it is mainly the quality of storage that needs to be closely monitored. Belgians sell faster , while the Dutch tend to wait and see, which can also be disastrous if they store the pears for too long. Let’s keep calm and together fill the market in a stable way.
To reduce storage costs, the company, which exports around 95% of its pears, is always looking for alternative energy sources. “We want to be energy independent eventually. We already have solar panels to reduce this pressure, but we are considering investing in major alternatives. We want to become a completely energy-neutral business. However, we understand that this is not possible for everyone, so the cooperation between us is simply essential,” says Van Haelst.
Christoph sees a generally difficult season ahead. “But it is still important to manage stored fruit intelligently. Yesterday the market was not yet ready for large volumes. The application usually starts from the beginning of November to approximately April. This is when we do the most trading. there is still too much competition with other fruits. »
“People are not yet ready for pears. In addition, we will have to direct the supermarkets towards slightly smaller pears. There’s only one way to do that: price. Last year, large and small pears cost the same; will have to remain different,” he concludes.
For more information:
Christopher Van Haelst
Fruit Van Haelst
9130, Verrebroek, BE
Tel: +32 (0) 333 61 647
Tel: +32 (0) 477 777 736