Organic grapefruit make for hard sale in Europe

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Organic grapefruit make for hard sale in Europe

The first arrivals of South African grapefruit have hit the European market, but the fruit - especially organic varieties - may face tough sales.grapefruit_red_ ffp

Organic Trade Company's (OTC-Holland) managing director Edward Out explained that its Star Ruby grapefruit can be hard to move - a reality reflected by consumer trends.

"We do have retailers that carry the product but what you see is that grapefruit is a product in general in Europe that has a declining consumption pattern," he told

For organic fruit in particular, Out explained that a major challenges arises not just from winning over consumers but from winning over retailers.

"If we want to position organic grapefruit in a significant way, it will affect conventional sales. You’ll only be able to get significant achievement if you replace conventional fruit. So conventional suppliers are also pushing back," he said.

"We’ve had a couple examples of retailers considering taking in a bigger quantity and they get counter pressure from conventional suppliers who also have their challenges to get the volume allocated. It’s a bit of a game."

When organic grapefruit does make it on the shelf, Out said poor product placement means consumers may not even be aware of it.

"What’s frustrating is that there is a significant volume of organic grapefruit grown in South Africa but only 25%, 30% is sold as organic and the rest is disappearing into conventional destinations," he said.

Out added that many European retailers still view organic products as a risk or doubt their durability on the shelf.

"Organic is a topic used actively by retailers to position themselves and to influence consumer perception. But there are few retailers who dare to push it and put it explicitly in front of the nose of the consumer. When they do that, they will directly frustrate the conventional suppliers," he said.

As for declining grapefruit consumption, Out said the sour fruit flavor may still be too different for standard European tastes.


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