Demand for tropical fruit stabilizes despite ongoing uncertainty, says HLB Specialities

More News Today's Headline Top Stories
Demand for tropical fruit stabilizes despite ongoing uncertainty, says HLB Specialities

Conditions seem to be evening out for the tropical fruit industry as demand stabilizes and labor operations adapt to new - though initially challenging - changes from the Covid-19 pandemic.

CEO of tropical fruit importer and distributor HLB Specialties Andres Ocampo told FreshFruitPortal that the unpredictability of the pandemic has created uncertainty, but that the industry is back on track.

However, not much is able to be concretely said about market expectations. Speaking to current market trends, Ocampo said that the common thread was the uncertain nature of consumer behavior in the near future.

While it's true that the economic outlook is "not good" and "very uncertain", he explained, "supermarkets are using the increased sales to venture into more offerings and testing products, at least for the time being.

"That may change in the next few weeks or months if unemployment numbers remain high and disposable income declines. Consumers could focus on basic items," detailed Ocampo.

In general terms, this well captures the unknown state of tropical fruits amid the pandemic. When asked how the industry has been impacted by the ongoing pandemic, Ocampo assured us that things seem to be more stable.

"Very unpredictable initially but gradually becoming steadier. On an operation level much like the U.S., we went to fully remotely to back in the office with safety measures to remotely again," he explained.

At the start of the pandemic demand "exploded", according to HLB. This boost was followed by a pause in demand and then again plateaued with fairly consistent demand. Now it's back to "somewhat normal territory".

"I think the extra demand is getting balanced by more conscious decisions at the supermarket level from dwindling consumers' money reserves," he added.

Relative to last season, supply and demand is about on par but with a modest increase, he detailed.

Regarding how HLB Specialties will move forward into the summer and even over the next couple of years, Ocampo explained that the tropical fruit industry plans to strengthen its position in retail by offering innovative packaging.

HLB also said that it plans on expanding its product line to diversify.

"As travel declined in 2020 and tourism may still be affected beyond 2020, we want to appeal to consumers by bringing those tropical and exotic flavors to their homes," he said.

Subscribe to our newsletter