Mini seedless watermelons get a better slice of European action
Commercial director Leon van de Hombergh tells www.freshfruirportal.com this season marks the first campaign with much higher volumes for the fruit, supplied by Brazilian partners Agricola Famosa.
"The general trend in watermelons is that we came from 'the bigger, the better' sizes, to a European market preference for smaller seedless varieties like a mini watermelon," he says.
"We have seen over the last two years that consumers are more interested in two kilo per piece, or even smaller, seedless watermelons.
"So this is what the seed companies have been working on and now the Brazilian supplier that we work very closely with has managed to get larger volumes of those smaller watermelons in a seedless variety for the European market."
Frankort & Koning will be receiving regular shipments from South America to continue supplying the European market until next April.
"Watermelon has, to a certain extent, always been a niche product with some issues with availability, however this is the first year that we have got better volumes for the retailers throughout Europe; from the south in Italy to France and Scandinavia in the north," Van de Hombergh says.
"The watermelons will be spread throughout the region through the European channels.
"The problem has always been the productivity of the larger watermelons from the producer side with many of the growers getting very low yields in the past. Now they have managed for the first time to get better yields on the field."
As seedless mini varieties gain market share, European retailers say they do well on the shelves as consumers want products that reduce waste, have more consistent quality, and are generally more convenient and easier to handle.
"They are extremely fresh tasting with a nice vibrant red flesh inside and a good skin," the representative says.
"People are becoming more and more aware of the healthy characteristics of watermelons with the high vitamin, low-calorie content. They fit in very well with a healthy diet.
"This season the supply just started in September and we will continue to April next year which means we can carry on with the supply until the Spanish begin."