Spring is finally here. Sprouts – the last of the winter vegetables – have now been consigned to our cold storage facilities. Volumes are much lower than the forecasts: the hot and dry summer delayed growth for quite some time, resulting in lower yields per hectare. In addition, more than 10% of the planned volume has not been harvested.
Given the increase in demand for fresh-frozen sprouts in recent years, it may be a challenge to continue this trend into the new harvest in 2021.
We have better news when it comes to leeks: the mild, frost-free winter has ensured we have a constant fresh supply.
Furthermore, the first crop harvest of 2020 – spinach – is around the corner. This has been underway in Southern Europe for several months now, while we usually start at the end of March or beginning of April in Belgium, the Netherlands and Germany. We expect a normal harvest volume, although timing is tight. Cold storage facilities are gradually emptying, and the spinach must be restocked urgently as a result.
We have also started to sow peas in the meantime.
In terms of the market, the coronavirus crisis has had a huge impact on consumption patterns, with the catering and hospitality sectors restricted to a minimum. Increased consumption at home, however, has caused a strong rise in retail sales due to peoples' tendency to stockpile. And as retail sales are going up, we are also seeing sales in the ingredients market soar.
The challenges are huge: we must ensure our European harvesting and production teams are fully staffed in order to guarantee that the harvests can be processed. The same applies to our packaging departments.
Ardo shares responsibility for the continuity of the food chain. It is an open secret that fresh-frozen products (vegetables, fruit and herbs in particular) represent an ideal solution to the question of how to best manage the food chain, as fresh-frozen products can be stored for longer. Our products do not suffer from a lack of availability. Furthermore, we offer produce of a proven quality. This is demonstrated by the fact that we score highly when it comes to storage techniques, while retaining the highest possible nutritional values.
We hope to have a successful harvest in 2020 – we'll certainly need it.
April 2020 Edition