Cold spell boosts European appetite for oranges and lemons
Citrus consumption in Northern Europe over the last few weeks has surged with the recent coldsnap, as consumers rushed to supermarkets to stock-up on vitamin C rich oranges and lemons, major importers claim.
Netherlands importer Trofi's Marc de Naeyer said German consumption of oranges has been particularly strong over the last two to three weeks.
"Our mothers tell us we need to boost our vitamin C and consumption of citrus has correlated to the cold spell in Northern Europe at the end of January," he said.
Univeg Katopé France sales manager Nadir Chaouch agreed citrus sales had shot up, to the detriment of more exotic fruit such as melons, pineapples and mangos.
"The cold weather which lasted a long time did affect consumption. We are hoping that as the weather eases we will get better consumption of exotic produce," he said.
South African stonefruit producers and exporters have noticed a drop in consumption due to the freezing temperatures.
Hortgro production manager Jacques du Preez, said the cold weather had had a negative effect on plum sales.
"It's seen as a summer fruit so people don't think about it when it's cold and our shipment volumes have gone down."
Shipments to the U.K. in week 5 (Feb. 3) showed a 50% year-on-year decrease at just 105, 876 5.2 kilogram (kg) cartons, while the rest of Europe was down 11% at 256, 584 cartons.
South African plum exports normally reach their peak in February with the season tailing off in March and finishing by the end of April.
Following an unsually mild December, Northern Europe experienced Siberian temperatures in January of between minus 15-30 degrees centigrade.
The searingly cold weather has begun to ease off with temperatures returning to a slightly more normal 10 degrees centigrade in most of Northern Europe.