“Banana shortage causes remarkably high prices in summer”
Although traditionally bananas are eaten a lot less during summer, the past weeks showed a remarkably high level. “Usually during summer production is larger and sales are less, but as a result of a storm in Colombia, during which a lot of damage was done to the plantations, a banana shortage arose”, says Marcel van der Lem of the wholesaler and ripening facility from Uitgeest that bears his name.
“Currently the market price is around 15% higher than average, but will probably still go up. Although cheaper ones can be found, you’ll get the best bananas in the Netherlands from us,” Marcel laughs. “A month ago, the market price was also higher than average. The price went up then, also because consumption is increasing now. I don’t expect the price to go down again any time soon. Demand is consistent, but that also depends on the weather. With warm weather, people consume more tropical fruit and fewer bananas. All in all, banana consumption is quite high in the Netherlands.”
Van der Lem has 28 ripening cells with a capacity of 33,000 boxes.
Its clients are Dutch retailers and exporters. The organic share of bananas in Van der Lem’s ripening facility in Uitgeest is 20%.
According to director Marcel van der Lem, this rather high share is caused by the fact that the ripening facility is well able to work with small loads. “For us, it’s no problem if we get one container each week with organic bananas, to deliver it over the next week at a pallet a day. We’re working with quite a few Fairtrade bananas, but it’s mostly smaller purchases. So I don’t see the volume increasing significantly.”
The well-known 99 cents Jumbo asks for its bananas, hasn’t been imitated much by other retailers, says Marcel. “Personally, I don’t think it’s wise for retail to structurally drop prices, but they have every right to do so. Although with the low prices for traditional bananas, it becomes ever harder for the organic bananas, because the price difference gets too big. The Dutch consumer is apparently susceptible to the low prices for traditional bananas.”
Publication date: 9/15/2014