Israeli grapefruit exports plug European supply gap

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Israeli grapefruit exports plug European supply gap

European grapefruit prices have jumped by 25% this season due to a gap in the market thanks to South African undersupply, claims Israeli's largest grower Mehadrin.

General manager of Mehadrin's Dutch office, Oron Ziv said the wholesale price for a 15 kilogram carton of grapefruits was currently between €15-16 compared with €12 last year.

"We are facing a very good market. We will send much more than previously. Last season when we started the market was very full, you could find stocks from South Africa lasting until the end of December.

"Now it's totally different there's no fruit, they stopped shipping in early August."

He said his company planned to send 25% more grapefruits to Europe this season compared to the previous one where it exported 40 metric tons (MT).

Israel started shipping grapefruits two weeks ago and has the advantage of a warmer climate allowing it to arrive in Europe at least one month before key competitors such as Florida, Turkey and Spain.

Ziv said Israel's Star Ruby and Rio Red grapefruits were coloring well and the quality looked good.

Europe accounts for 50% of Mehadrin's exports with the grower supplying most of the major retailers such as Tesco, Carrefour, Edeka and Lidl on a contract basis.

Ziv said Russia had also become an important market accounting for 20% of exports and that it was currently developing China s a key market.

Related stories: South African citrus growers experience rollercoaster season

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