Features

  • 29 Sep
    Serbia – A burst of flavours from every corner

    Serbia – A burst of flavours from every corner

     

    Juice specialist Remer Lane reports for FJF on the world of juice according to Serbia with insights into the unique fruits and flavours that make for award-winning juices.

    Friday morning, August 28, 2020, I turned the cap on the Life Premium Sour Cherry Juice. The aroma of the Oblacinska Cherry immediately stimulated a memory that carried me 17-years back in time to Serbia. I was sitting in a cafe on Lake Palic in Subotica. There, over 4 bottles of an exceptional Pannonian dry white wine, I outlined a strategy, debated, challenged, and cajoled the CEO of Fresh & Co Juice company to put Raspberries in a bottle. Within 3-years Coca-Cola Hellenic Bottling had acquired the company. Over the three preceding years, that 100% Raspberry Juice had been awarded the World’s Most Innovative Juice at the World Juice Conference in 2004 and millions of bottles were in stores and cafes across Europe and in the US.

    Next Juice was a synonym for a vibrancy of change and innovation sweeping the former Yugoslav Republic, and the re-opening of a hidden market of amazing fruits bred exclusively to produce some of the world’s finest juices. The Willamette Raspberry, The Stanley Plum, the Oblacinska Cherry and Senga Sengana Strawberry are well known fruit varieties, offering the highest flavour, colour and dry matter solids over any other processing fruits. There is a reason Serbia is the largest exporter of frozen raspberries in the world.

    At the first taste, the burst of cherries overwhelmed my senses. The small particulates of fruit provided a texture as if fresh pressed in the kitchen. Naturalness truly represents the best a juice should be for all consumers.

    My reminiscing continued… It’s now 2008 and I’m hiking along the trails of Mt. Kaopanik in Southern Serbia. Vaso Lekic, a food purist for all that’s natural and healthy, has launched a new product line called Terra Organica. As we walk the surroundings of his processing plant, we can smell the smoke from grilling peppers that will soon be stripped and stewed into a delicacy of roasted red peppers spread called Ajvar. Vaso wants to do more and he believes the wild organic fruits of Southern Serbia offer some amazing potential. He casually picks a wild strawberry from the hillside and looks at me in wonderment. This is his next product.

    Without delay, he’s organized the local population surrounding the mountain to collect the fruit, preserve the environment and assure a future sustainable crop. The fruit was pressed in his mountainside kitchen and so was born Terra Organica’s Wild Strawberry Juice and Serbia’s second World Juice Innovation Award.

    Today, Serbia has the largest juice company in Southeastern Europe Nectar-Fructal with full vertical integration from field to consumer. There are up to 12 fruit juice processing plants in the country with exports exceeding USD50 million. Austria and Germany are the key importers by value with Raspberry, Sour Cherry and Apple as the leading exported concentrates with an expectation that Blueberry will soon be in the mix due to a significant surge in plantings. The juice this country produces is traditional, colourful and filled with flavour, it’s the naturalness and purity that truly represents what juice should be.

    I’ve just returned from my most recent visit to Serbia, two weeks of social distanced meetings and masks to learn more about the current state of industry in the country. I am further convinced that the quality of fruit that this small country produces is truly some of the finest in the world. Such a pleasant alternative to global politics and the pandemic.

    As I finish my Sour Cherry Juice, I wonder, is this the next winner? Will this Sour Cherry be the next to take home the recognition of being one of the best juices in the world? It is for me…

    Remer Lane is an international investment banker with Heritage Capital Group / Oaklins based in Savannah, GA. He has spent the last 35 years working with the food and juice industries playing a number or roles from field production to processing to offering a product to the final consumer.

     

     

     

    By Caroline Calder Features
  • 14 Sep
    EU Trade – Are you prepared for the UK’s exit from the EU customs union?

    EU Trade – Are you prepared for the UK’s exit from the EU customs union?

    Frank Dunsmuir, Fujitsu’s Head of Customs and International Trade, is responsible for thinking about this question and how a technology company like Fujitsu could provide some of the answers.

    The UK has been a member of the EU customs union for 47 years, which has facilitated the free movement of goods across the EU’s internal borders. How will the UK and EU avoid disruption to the vital trade in goods via road freight once it has formally exited the EU?

    Following the UK referendum vote to leave the EU on the 23rd June 2016, the Withdrawal Agreement was finally signed on January 31st, 2020, and the UK officially exited the EU. We are now in a transition period until the end of 2020, after which new customs procedures, and potentially tariff payments, will be introduced on goods moving between the UK and the EU.

    Trade in goods between the UK and EU is worth more than £430 billion annually, and vital to the health of both economies. In the run up to the end of the transition period the UK and the EU are locked in negotiations to agree a new Free Trade Agreement (FTA), with the intent of minimising disruption on this trade.

    But even with an FTA new customs administration such as declarations will still be required, and additional checks on some types of goods, including food products, will be required at ports of exit and entry. This administration adds cost, and increasing the number and nature of physical checks at ports threaten to disrupt existing supply chains.

    Fresh food, livestock and perishable foods are some of the most at risk commodities if delays are introduced at ports of exit and entry. The UK is highly dependent on the EU for its food supply, providing over 30 percent of its total requirements. The fruit and vegetable sectors are disproportionally represented with approximately 76 percent of vegetable imports and 41 percent of fruit and nuts imports originating from the EU.

    The bulk of this trade is transported by road freight, making the ports of Dover and EuroTunnel the busiest road freight RoRo (roll on roll off) ports in Europe. Handling a staggering average of 17,000 freight vehicles per day, worth an estimated £120bn in trade, leaves no spare time to stop and check vehicles in the ports without causing major congestion. Even moving these checks to special sites near the ports may not remove the threat of congestion.

    At the end of the transition period the UK will once again be in control of its borders. It therefore has the opportunity to develop and implement advanced border management solutions which ensure these supply chains and associated trade are not disrupted by new customs procedures and physical checks.

    We can turn for inspiration to a examples of global best practice in the efficient management of road freight border crossings. Often referred to as the ‘Drive Through Border’ (DTB) concept, a combination of policy and technology initiatives enable ‘smart’ freight vehicles to be automatically processed and pass unhindered through border crossing points.

    The foundations of a DTB are based on advanced Trusted Trader schemes (such as the EU’s Authorised Economic Operator ‘AEO’ scheme), enabling access to simplified customs procedures, which can be supported by technology to move checks away from the physical border. The promise of unhindered passage through the border and access to simplified customs procedures also reduce administration and supply chain costs to traders.

    The concept of a DTB is in action on borders across the world;

    Trials on the Canadian-USA border are in place today with FAST lanes allowing pre-registered vehicles to be automatically processes and rapidly cross the border.  In a similar way, pre-registered vehicles crossing the Norwegian-Swedish border experience significantly reduced processing times and delays.

    Meanwhile, closer to home, the port of Eurotunnel in Ashford in collaboration with its French counterpart of Coquelle has developed and tested a DTB concept to automate customs and border processing to maintain the flow of vehicles through its facilities. Freight vehicles are obliged to pre-register their vehicle and cargo details on their new ‘paring’ platform which electronically links customs declarations with the associated vehicles.  On entering the Eurotunnel port, the paring document is scanned and French customs administration are notified of the imminent departure of the vehicle and goods from the UK.  They are able to pre-clear or assign vehicles for mandatory inspections and spot checks, for example those containing controlled goods such as food, on arrival into Coquelle.

    The UK has also hinted at a DTB concept playing a role in its future border strategy. Its recently published new Border Operating Model[1] describes the processes it will introduce to manage road freight between the UK and the EU. This model includes a new platform called the Goods Vehicle Management System (GVMS) which will collect consignment data for each vehicle journey in a similar way to the Eurotunnel system, helping to automate some of the processing at other ports such as Dover.

    The government has also recently published a consultation document on what the UK’s future border management strategy may be, which looks to maximising the promise of benefits from new and emerging technology[2].  At Fujitsu we are continually investing our research into the role technology has to play in the future management of the UK’s border.

    Fujitsu’s concept of a DTB for the UK has four main features which support the ability for freight vehicles to enter and exit sea ports as seamlessly as possible:

    1. Data is collected electronically for each journey and assigned to the vehicle or trailer, including; customs documents, invoice details, vehicle / trailer ID, and drivers ID.
    2. Border agencies (UK & EU) are automatically notified of a vehicle’s imminent arrival into the port of exit, together with the nature of its consignment(s)
    3. Pre-arrival checks and processing can be performed by the corresponding port of entry while the vehicle is at the port of exit or onboard the carrier (ferry or train) making its way to the port of entry
    4. Prior to arrival at the port of entry, vehicles can be pre-sorted into pre-cleared or requiring checks lanes or facilities.

    The main challenges for exporters of food and animal products will be the requirement to demonstrate proof of origin of their goods, together with compliance to the EU, or UK, market standards depending on intended final destination. For example, goods imported from Spain into the UK would need to be compliant to UK standards and adhere to customs administration processes.

    These types of checks typically need to happen at border points of exit and entry, in the EU – UK case that will mean the major sea ports. Fujitsu’s DTB concept, combined with a Trusted Trader scheme could be used to move such checks away from the ports. For example, a registered orange producer in Spain exporting produce to the UK could use the DTB platform to transport these goods. At the point of dispatch the goods are checked, health certificates issued and they are approved to be exported. On approaching the port of exit, for example Calais, the Smart truck which is transporting them sends information digitally to the port and border agencies informing them of the nature of the goods, sharing the customs declarations and health certificates, together with their status as a trusted trader. In this scenario the vehicle should be subject to a low percentage of random physical checks at both ports of exit and entry.

    In summary, the ‘Drive Through Border’ concept combined with an enhanced Trusted Trader scheme would enable:

    • Goods vehicles to move with minimal friction through the channel crossing ports
    • Regulatory checks on goods and food products to be performed ‘in market’, reducing the need for additional physical checks at the border
    • Automation of customs administration, reducing cost to industry and government agencies
    • Health and security standards to be maintained through in-market monitoring
    • The acceleration of the introduction of simplified customs procedures such as self-assessment.

    Fujitsu believes that, by working collaboratively with government and industry, innovative technology solutions can play a major role in establishing a future border management capability to support the highly efficient movement of goods between the UK and the EU.

    [1] https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/the-border-operating-model

    [2] https://www.gov.uk/government/consultations/2025-uk-border-strategy-public-consultation/2025-uk-border-strategy-public-consultation

    By Caroline Calder Features
  • 14 Sep
    The future of Passion Fruit consumption

    The future of Passion Fruit consumption

    Passion Fruit

    Over the past 25 years, Quicornac has evolved from being a small scale passion fruit producer to a thriving, high capacity multinational shipping passion fruit and mango NFC and concentrate to over 32 countries around the world. What’s next for passion fruit?  Harry Frei, Executive at Quicornac and Ricardo Merino, Commercial Manager talks to FJF to tell us more about this unique flavored fruit.

    Passion for the fruit

    Passion fruit has two things that stand out from the rest: Its name – passion and its taste. Adding a little passion to your life mixed with a flavour that is both tropical and intense, are the two things that stand out the most, say the company. A taste so unique, no other fruit provides the same level of experience. It has to be one the tastiest, most experience-rich flavour there is. It’s the perfume of fruits. There are also added nutritional benefits of the fruit besides its taste.

    Functional benefits

    Passion fruit has great added benefits with a healthful nutritional profile. It contains high levels of Vitamin A, which is important for skin, vision, and the immune system, and vitamin C, which is an important antioxidant. Passion fruit is rich in antioxidants, which are compounds that help to mop up harmful free radicals in the body.

    Antioxidants play a vital role in keeping the body systems healthy. Scientists know that antioxidants improve blood flow, specifically to the brain and nervous system. Passion fruit has also a low glycemic index (GI) value. This means that it does not cause a steep increase in blood sugar after consuming it, making it a good option for people with diabetes. Passion fruit is loaded with heart-healthy potassium and is also low in sodium. Passion fruit is rich in magnesium, an important mineral that scientists have linked with decreased stress and anxiety. There is so much to love about this fruit.

    Our growers make the difference

    “Like in any fruit, quality comes from the fields, says Harry Frei. “We have a team of agronomists whose sole purpose is to teach farmers how to produce the right quality. This means from selecting the best seed or seedlings, to harvesting in a safe and dedicated manner. While passion fruit is a robust fruit once picked, it needs to arrive to our processing locations as quickly as possible to preserve the best aroma and juice properties.”

    Market opportunities

    The most significant markets for passion fruit products, are currently the EU, USA, and some parts of Asia. “We see a solid urgency of demand in Asia as locals begin familiarizing with the fruit.”Ricardo Merino reports.

    “It is difficult to pinpoint exact market size, but we estimate a total export market between 22.000 to 25.000 MT of 50 brix equivalent. This includes converted NFC which should account to around a third of the total market. The market size refers to known exports from main producing areas such as Brazil, Colombia, Ecuador, Peru, and Vietnam. There is also a strong local consumption which accounts to juice products that stays in the country of origin, for example in Brazil, Colombia, China, Peru and Vietnam that does not show in the export statistics.”

    Increasing demand

    “We estimate the demand has been rising over the last 20 years at a rate of 2-3 % per annum. Biggest swings up or down have been due to supply/demand and crop cycles, which has been traditionally variable over the last 10 years or so however, as new producing regions like Peru have begun to produce in larger quantities, and now recently Vietnam.

    “Since then, the price has stabilized in a much narrower trading range and has helped the demand pick up. We believe that the trading range will be even narrower in the coming years as there are multiple origins that can produce passion fruit.” Comments Ricardo Merino.
    Keeping pace

    “All the work has been in promoting farmers and helping them produce more, “says Harry Frei. “We all know that adding capacity or setting up a new processing site is relatively easy, but having control of the fruit supply is key.

    “90% of our work evolves around our farmers network; constantly promoting the crop, helping them with new farming techniques and provide them with better seed. The fresh local consumption has also helped as farmers net higher prices from the local market.

    “They now average much better returns than in the past, in fact most farmers today take better care of their plantations and are motivated to continue producing more in areas where local consumption is solid. This is the case of Peru where we estimate that more than 30% of the fruit stays local. In Ecuador, most of the fruit goes to factories so producers traditionally get a lower average return.

    “But there are other conditions that favour Ecuadorean producers such as shorter distances, excellent soil conditions, crops all year, plenty of water for irrigation and good demand from producing factories all year long. Ecuador still produces the best tasting passion fruit and more reliable supply than any other region in our opinion.”
    A great source of pride

    Harry Frei comments “We continually adjust our production lines to produce the best of juice, at the lowest possible impact. Many of the equipment we own given our vast experience have been tailored made and designed in our shops to treat the delicate passionfruit. We have, since 1989, leading not just the production and the export of passion fruit, but also lead the promotion of passion fruit juice worldwide.

    “We are proud to see many of the biggest juice companies using passion fruit in their product range today. And not just juice. There are plenty of other food applications where you can find passion fruit in. This process was not easy, took us years, traveling and lots of investment to continue expanding both our farmers and customer base. Even to this day.”
    What makes us unique

    “We are focused on one fruit: Passion fruit. While we also have mango because many of our farmers also produce this fruit nearby, passion fruit is what we are known and proud for, says Ricardo Merino. “While obviously the market for passion fruit is much smaller that say, mango, we pride ourselves to be the leader in this niche, and as we say, we prefer to be the mouse head than the lion’s tail.”
    What does the future hold

    Harry Frei comments “Besides the traditional markets, launching new products every year with passion fruit, we see Asia as a new potential market. Their local production of passion fruit is helping fuel local demand and also, they are also starting to like the taste for the fruit a lot. It is not uncommon now to see street vendors selling a refreshing passion fruit juice alongside local dishes in many parts of Cambodia, China, Laos, Taiwan, Thailand, and Vietnam.

    “The USA is also a big market to keep an eye on, as more Latino influence boost the consumption of passion fruit. It is key however that the fresh fruit demand also grows (fruit imported from other countries), so that the fruit becomes more of a staple rather than an exotic garnish or occasional treat.”

     

    Keeping customers happy

    “We need to make sure we produce on time and deliver our goods to our customers as promised. While certainly we work with our existing customer base providing them with timely information about crop cycles and pricing, we also look for each country main juice producing companies and work hand in hand, first with their R&D department, comments Ricardo Merino
    Sustainability credentials

    “Since 1989, we have been focusing on sustainability”, comments Harry Frei. “Every day we support our Ecuadorian and Peruvian farmers providing them with technical support and the promise of buying their crop. Our technicians give them access to qualified advice and drive them to be more efficient at their fields.

    “Since 2015 we have carried out SMETA audits in both of our factories, focusing our sustainable strategy on ethical trade, responsible sourcing, health, security and environmental compliance. And since 2020, we have started our sustainability program on farms. Our aim is to achieve 10% of our passionfruit production under FSA Bronze level by 2021. This sustainability assessment contributes to farmers’ economic viability as well as environmental and social compliance. Every year, we raise the bar.”
    Challenges of the Covid-19 year

    “We have always focused on the human pillar and during this pandemic our commitment was no different,“ comments Harry Frei. “Since the beginning, we provided protective personal equipment and sanitization materials to our people. We have also implemented safety procedures for everyone attending to our process facilities. As for our fruit suppliers, we have maintained our early-payment policy; giving them stability to continue in business. Additionally, we have contributed with donations to our local communities to help them cover basic needs.

    “The pandemic has affected our supply chain in many ways. While the Ecuadorian and the Peruvian governments have restricted circulation, and created multiple mobility requirements across many sectors, we have come out strong by following local laws and guidelines, working alongside with our fruit suppliers and transportation. To this date, more than 95% of our fruit supply chain has returned to pre-covid times.
    “We have learned a lot. No matter how important is how we conduct business, it’s all boils down to people. Luckily, technology has been helpful in bridging this gap. Imagine if we would have just a facsimile like in the old days. Today, we can say, we are more than ever closer to our farmers and customers. Technology and pandemic have definitely changed our working practices in several aspects. This allowed us to be more efficient with our time and resources,” Ricardo Merino concludes.

    Quicornac

    Almost 30 years of growth fuelled with quality products, product innovations, and investment in new technologies has positioned Quicornac as a leader in the juice raw material processing industry. Founded in 1989, the company is a privately held company headquartered in Guayaquil, Ecuador, and employing around  500 people in Ecuador and Peru.

     

    By Caroline Calder Features
  • 14 Sep
    Juice and alcohol/alternatives 

    Juice and alcohol/alternatives 

    Redefining juice

    Today people want to be productive and at the same time feel healthy and well – not just physically, also mentally. Diet plays a crucial role in this. It is obvious that juice today is much more than just a thirst quencher. Gerd Diefenthäler, Innovation & Market Intelligence Manager for Austria Juice reports.

    While health and wellbeing have never been as high on the list of values of global consumers as they are today, the hit list of drinks has also changed dramatically in recent years. Not long ago, for example, beer, wine, champagne, sparkling wine, cocktails and long drinks were simply a part of enjoying parties, private celebrations and relaxing evenings at home.

    Today, alcoholic drinks are increasingly replaced by alcohol-free or at least alcohol-reduced alternatives. ‘Mocktails’, for example, are the non-alcoholic successors to cocktails – and juices made from a wide variety of fruits and berries are the main players in their preparation.

    But that’s not all, consumers all over the world are not only looking for healthy ‘free from’-drinks, but also for drinks that actively promote their health. Today they search for holistic solutions that help them to change their lifestyle in all areas of life. The ingredients in food and drinks should be natural and ideally organic, the production sustainable, the taste unique and surprising with the ‘wow effect’, the value for the body or mind should be targeted and clear. Juices play an important role with their flavours and valuable ingredients.

    Mixed juice drinks for relaxation and concentration

    There is enormous potential in juices, smoothies and mixed drinks made from juices with teas or functional water for holistically improving health and meeting the needs of modern consumers. The demand for products like this is increasing worldwide: According to the market research institute Mintel, 40% of adults in Chile and Australia state that their diet should also raise their energy level – in India 49% share this opinion. Worldwide, 52% of consumers are interested in products that help reduce stress. 45% have changed their diet with the aim of improving their sleep, especially since sleep problems are becoming more and more common due to the increasing occurrence of stress, depression and anxiety.

    Herbs and herbal ingredients are said to effect health clearly: 60% of consumers worldwide are of the opinion that botanicals have a positive effect on their health. This is why the use of juices in combination with ingredients such as chamomile, lavender or hops, which improve sleep and relaxation, is increasing in the development of beverages in the functional drinks category.

    The addition of B vitamins, adaptogens and nootropic substances promotes concentration and alertness and antioxidants help detoxify.

    Stand out ingredients

    The rising stars of beverage ingredients include adaptogens, which are natural substances that help the body to adapt to increased stressful situations without having an overstimulating effect. CBD, turmeric, ginseng, rose root and ashwagandha are certainly the best-known examples that are more and more finding their way into the recipes of beverage manufacturers.

    Juice drinks strengthen the immune system and eye health

    Since COVID-19, strengthening the immune system has also climbed the list of priorities of consumers. Therefore citrus and berry juices come into focus because of their high vitamin C- and antioxidant content. Likewise, consumers demand for fast, nutrient-rich food and beverage solutions, which are available in the form of clean label juice shots, is also increasing.

    Since people nowadays usually spend several hours in front of different kinds of screens, – professionally and privately alike – the attention towards eye health is rising: Vitamin A, zinc, riboflavin or DHA can be added to juices to specifically promote eye health. Carrot juice is also suitable here because it contributes to a healthy lifestyle and supports eye health with vitamin A naturally.

    Hydration with less fruit juice content but full flavour

    For the participants of a worldwide survey by Mintel, ‘healthy’ means – among other things – that food contains no artificial ingredients and little fat, that they are a good source of vitamins and minerals and convince with low calories and a high fiber content. As a result, soft drinks with a high water content and a lower juice content continue to have potential on the market due to lower calories and the valuable ingredients of juice.

    Additionally, sugar reduced juice concentrates come into play in nowadays beverage developments, too. The new success-factor for beverages and juices are also (new) taste experiences.

    ‘Taste Experience’ is a current megatrend that is impressively shaping the world of the food and beverage industry. It’s about pure consumer experiences, about taking the consumer on an adventure triggered by sensory, visual and haptic experiences. Unusual, spicy or exotic flavour combinations, which especially in times of COVID-19 and travel restrictions conjure a bit of travel-flavour into the glass at home, ensure new taste adventures. The possibilities for using fruit and vegetable juices are therefore diverse – in terms of taste and concept.

    New beverage concepts require know-how

    The development of new beverage concepts, especially with the use of fruit and vegetable juices, brings also challenges that require appropriate market knowledge and extensive know-how for the exact matching of ingredients. Products with fruit juice often have a complex product matrix. They contain e.g. water, fruit juice, sugar, aroma, coloring foods, vitamins, edible acids, stabilizers, etc. – and even the smallest adjustments to the dosage of an ingredient can make the difference between a completely unstable product or perfect product stability. For example, it is important to prevent flocculation, cloudiness, sedimentation or rapid product aging in terms of taste. Depending on the ingredient, external influences such as temperature or UV radiation must also be taken into account.

    Stabilizing the drinks is crucial

    In the case of alcoholic beverages such as mixed beer beverages, cider or hard seltzer, the interaction of the alcoholic base such as beer, cider and fermented glucose with fruit juice makes it difficult to stabilize the drink. Roughly, the following applies here: the higher the alcohol content, the higher the risk of flocculation. Low alcohol contents of up to 2.5% ABV are often not a major problem. Stabilizations above that are also possible.

    Long-term reproducibility also plays an important role for all industrially produced beverages. The standardization of the raw materials is essential, so that the juices are expertly blended from different qualities after the harvest in order to guarantee the consumer a consistent quality.

    At Austria Juice the know-how is bundled in one source – from market research to the beverage concept, from fruit growing to the finished recipe and ingredient supply. In this way we offer our customers the best possible support for their diverse projects.

    By Caroline Calder Features
  • 13 Jul
    Poland – It’s more than just apples

    Poland – It’s more than just apples

    Cultivated and wild, from forests or plantations, new and old, traditional and modern varieties, you’ll find it all in Poland. From sweet strawberries, to tarty cherries, crunchy apples, delicate raspberries, purple blueberries, this country in the middle of Europe with broad assortment of fruits, provides for consumers across the world. Mateusz Świętanowski Concentrates, IQF & Puree Sales Manager at Quadrum Foods in Poland tells us more.

    Cultivation know-how, often passed from generation to generation, climate and soil conditions,  result in vast volumes of fruits grown and harvested, being made available in various forms and shapes as concentrated and NFC juices, frozen, fresh and processed into other products.

    Crop to crop, each year producers, processors, suppliers and buyers face similar challenges. Even though those remain similar each time, magnitude of every factor will differ between product and impact it shall bring upon the outcome to the market.

    Weather, as always, plays a massive role. We’ve observed in 2020 very clearly, how a prolonged dry period can affect plant development in early stages as well as the damage large rainfall (as it was in May), will lead to poor quality of strawberries. Some producers did not expect grey mould (botrytis) to pose a problem this year, leaving their plantations without required plant protection spraying for the disease. Lower yield of fruit is not necessarily compensated by lower price of raw material.

    Looking at strawberry juice concentrate, its clear that prices are not very far away 2019 compared to 2020, yet quality definitely has dropped. Uncertainty is only increased with a typical Poland cold snap, which may lead to even 10°C temperature drop in 24 hours. This phenomenon falls on the  1st half of May, with typically 12th, 13th, 14th and 15th of May being the peak time.

    The cold snap is called in humorous fashion ‘Cold Gardeners’ and ‘Cold Sophie’ – after patron saints of those 4 days, it is also referred to as: Eisheiligen in Germany, Saints de glace in France, Ijsheiligen in Holland and Poscana Zofka in Slovenia. Everyone who is anyone in regards to apple juice concentrate, remembers very well 2017 when frost damage in early May, led to an unusually small apple crop and very high price for AJC. Counteraction possibilities are somewhat limited and often expensive. Quadrum Foods` advantage are ample stocks from previous crop as well as long term conrtacts with suppliers, enabling deliveries to cover demand in the transition period between the two harvests.

    Information chaos is almost as serious a factor, as weather. Estimation of volume of fruits stored after harvest is finished, usually is a combination of wishful thinking, guessing, trying to influence market to the advantage of buyer or seller respectively. The amount of raw material available is commonly incorrect and often by far. Disorganised system of creating a stable supply chain versus loyalty of farmers/producer, makes the daily production amount uncertain at best. Price at ramp delivered changes by the hour, having great impact on finished product offer. ‘Subject to final confirmation’ truly becomes yet another substantial factor, not to be ignored by industry. Our company brings that value added market insight to the table. Daily and hourly updates from plantations, fields and orchards as well as production information in regards to yield, quality and volumes, directly translates into advantage passed onto our customers.

    Difference between short term sale targets and long term cooperation might be overlooked as important aspect of price development. Quick and easy prompt loadings, helping cash flow are specifically targeted by smaller companies. Concentrate/NFC production requires huge investments not only into facilities, but every year, with short harvest period, vast sums of money have to be ‘pumped into’ and ‘frozen’ into the product, with potential revenue coming back to processors with substantial delay. Long term contracts are required by majority of clients, increasing finance and storage cost for the product owner. Bank loans and credits are usually more expensive in Poland then in EU. Financial stability due to product and client diversification, allows Quadrum Foods to manage funding of raw material purchasing as well as processing and storage, limiting the risk to customers.
    Year 2020 is yet another which brought us something new…..again. This time it affected our private lives as well as professional matters. Widespread problems caused by the COVID-19 pandemic only added to the typical worries faced every year. Poland went into lockdown of proportions unknown previously by many of its citizens. This very difficult period of time, demonstrated how fragile our well-structured lives actually are. That very description applied to many countries globally and exposed problems, some of which were swept under the carpet for some time before.  We were fortunate, production facilities across the country have been kept open and running, even if with somewhat limited staff and operations. Transport has been kept running, moving goods within the country, EU and worldwide. Whilst doctors, nurses and various emergency services did their utmost and best, to keep people alive, food industry did their part in keeping store shelves full, warehouses stocked up. Various sections of the economy suffered and surely the full impact will only be known in time to come. But being in food industry seems to be the one of the crucial activities for the country.  Most of employees at Quadrum Foods have been working remotely, quickly adapting to the new environment and conditions. We’ve kept the business running, keeping it as close as possible to normal activities.

    At the time of press, we are around one month away from the new apple crop. With high expectations from producers and demand from clients, we are looking for yet another interesting, intensive, high-stake game of price war between all parties involved. Fairly mild effect of ‘Cold Sophie’ this year, rested trees from 2019s rather limited crop, so should bring a bullish harvest and price level allowing massive sale amounts. Or is there yet another surprise ahead for all of us….

     Mateusz Świętanowski is the Concentrates, IQF & Puree Sales Manager, Quadrum Foods, Kraków, Poland

     

     

     

    By Caroline Calder Features
  • 13 Jul
    Citrus oils and by-products – A current market overview

    Citrus oils and by-products – A current market overview

    There are many things that can be said about the citrus oil industry. Being stable is certainly not one of them, Geva Adut, CEO of Trisun comments for FJF

    After the high rise in prices two years ago (mainly for grapefruit products but not only) and the significant decline a year ago, prices seem to have stabilized and even started to bounce back up.

    Orange oil and its derivatives (D-Limonene and Terpenes)

    The demand for orange oil remains high while future production is expected to be lower than last year. Prices are dictated mainly by the Brazilian market and because the crop in Brazil is estimated to be smaller this year compared to last crop, it seems that the supply of oil and Terpenes/D-Limonene will be lower as well.

    Mexico and other markets are also forecasting lower crops compared to last year, and therefore prices are projected to increase. In fact an increase in CPOO price is already happening, we see offers in the market at price level of 5-6 Usd/kg, and this represents an increase of 2-3 Usd/kg compared to last year’s prices. We also see offers at price level of 3.5-4.5 of Usd/kg for D-Limonene/Terpenes, depending on the application and quality.

    Lemon oil

    After significant price decline, there is a trend shift and prices have slowly started to go up early 2020. Crops are expected to be lower for Lemon in most markets. Argentina expects a reduction of about 10% compared to last crop while in Spain the trees were hit after the blossoming stage and forecast is for reduction of in yield compared to last year. This, together with constant demand, is pushing slowly but constantly the price up.

    Red grapefruit oil

    The excess supply in the market is decreasing and there are indications that the price is starting to stabilize. We see offers in the market around 12-15 Usd/kg, depending on the pesticide levels and general quality/Nootkatone level.

    White grapefruit oil

    The price is stable. Volume continues to be limited. Unfortunately, this trend may continue in the future.

    Sweetie (A hybrid of Pomelo and White-Grapefruit)

    This citrus cultivar grows almost exclusively in Israel, and therefore its supply is limited. Yet, the demand is rising. The world of perfumes and beauty industry seem to discover the unique characteristics of this oil, which are in a way similar to white grapefruit oil, but with a twist of freshness to it.

    (Note: We have not included lime, mandarin/tangerine in the scope of this article, nor other by-products such as oil-phase, folded oils, distilled oils, naringin).

    Organic certified oils

    The demand for all organic citrus oils is rising. Orange and lemon organic oils are in high demand, above all, white organic grapefruit stands out because of the limited supply of this trade.

    Regulation

    REACH in Europe is a major challenge especially when selling oils to the fragrance market (REACH is only valid for non-food). The dominant suppliers in the market have registered products for REACH but most processors are not compliant with this regulation as they are focused on the food industry. We believe that this is an interesting market and processors that will put emphasis on this direction will increase the number of their customers.

    Pesticides

    The new regulations banning various pesticides (especially the recent ban of chlorpyrifos and chlorpyrus-methyl which are now banned in Europe and the United States) cause difficulties to sell significant volumes of the oils produced.

    As it was published in a few global official articles, there is evidence that this issue is starting to affect not only the oils/by-products market but also the juice segment and there were news about some cases in which big volumes of juice were shipped back to processors after finding the pesticide level exceeded the threshold.

    We believe that in the future there will be no choice but to deal more seriously and deeply with the pesticides issue, especially in mutual cooperation programs with the farmers/agriculture side.

    To conclude, in general, the oils and by-products market is mostly in a Bull market (a Rising market if to use analogy from the stock exchange market). We don’t see this trend changing in the near future. We will not be surprised if prices will go even higher in some segments.

    Prices mentioned in this piece are relevant for the time of writing this article – June   

    2020, and are based solely on Author’s opinion and knowledge. The above is not a recommendation in any way to buy or sell any product. The author’s company may have specific position in some products. Trisun is global producer and supplier of raw materials for the Food, Cosmetics and  F&F industries, with focus on Citrus oils and by-products.

     

     

    By Caroline Calder Features
  • 13 Jul
    Global – Salix Fruits: “To buy, or not to buy, that is the question” … for processed lemon by-products this season

    Global – Salix Fruits: “To buy, or not to buy, that is the question” … for processed lemon by-products this season

    Special report

    The uncertainty surrounding the development of the world´s coronavirus pandemic, and the good weather conditions during the second half of March, encouraged Argentine growers to accelerate the lemon harvesting. This season, Salix Fruits, a company specialized in fresh fruit, started a new business unit Processed Products. The company comments on the current situation regarding the marketing of lemon juice concentrate (LJC) and essential lemon oil (ELO) to help with a better planning of the rest of the year:

    “For 2020 in Argentina, a drop in the lemon harvest is estimated due to the drought suffered in the end of last winter and during last spring, added to a very hot summer. Besides, the COVID-19 made the harvesting start very aggressive, cutting lemons that were still a bit small”, says Daniel Calvo, head of Salix Foods, a new division of Salix Fruits.

    This is why a decrease of 30% in production is estimated for this year and, if these numbers are confirmed, processing in 2020 could be in the range of 1 / 1.1 MM tonnes, which is a very important drop. In fact, according to internal estimates, until the end of May 400K tonnes had been processed, when last year, by the same time, the number was in the order of 500K tonnes.

    The impact of this fall in the ELO market is already evident. It is known that around 50% of ELO production is marketed with a leading soft drink company under a long-term agreed pricing scheme that is not subject to market supply and demand. The surplus is traded on the spot market, which is smaller and with a very stable demand, so in this case, the volume of supply ends up defining the prices.

    In this sense, the current season shows a behaviour opposite to that of previous seasons. Indeed, 2019 began with an over-stock of ELO as a result of the excellent 2018 season, record production in Argentina, with 1.5 MM of processed tonnes and also with an excellent content of oil in fruit. Last year it remained at high levels of processing (1.4 MM), and there were also processing record figures in the Northern Hemisphere, preventing the market from finding price stability. The impact was, they went to less than half price, from the 20/22 range, it dropped to 8/10 USD/kilo.

    “This year, with a normal (or less that normal) season in the Northern Hemisphere, and the drop mentioned in Argentina, it is expected that in 2020 the reverse process will occur. Given that the fixed price market always withdraws the same quantity, the decrease would only impact the spot market, causing prices to rise”, says Esteban Lazzo, specialist in the ELO market, and adds: “In fact, the price has currently recovered to the level of 11/13 USD/kilo, and our experience is that the demand for ELO is quite inelastic, so if there is a drop in supply in that proportion, it would not be unusual for prices to rise to the range of 15/18 USD/kilo or even more”.

    Concerning the marketing of LJC, the drop in the behaviour of supply is clear, but not that of demand, which has not recovered from the COVID-19 effect. However, a price accommodation is observed since last year, which started in a range of 2200/2400 USD/tonne, it reached a floor of 1700 USD/tonnes, and even for products from other origins, it was paid 1500 USD/tonnes. Currently, small volume operations are closed in the range of 1800/2000 USD/tonnes, for close deliveries.

    “Buyers are evaluating how the market will react after COVID-19, as consumption has been greatly affected by the change in traditional sales channels – hotels, catering, restaurants, which have suffered greatly from the sharp drop in tourism and recreation, and purchases are only maintained in retail where demand is not so strong. There is still little talk about annual programs, both due to the uncertainty of demand and the processing projections discussed”, explains Esteban Gagliardi, Commercial Manager of the company’s juices.

    Calvo affirms that the financial crisis in Argentina, the lack of credit and the stoppage of COVID-19, makes it very costly for processors on the supply side to maintain stocks and those who are in a position to wait could benefit due to a strengthening of the market. On the demand side, the choice is: buy cheaper now and expose yourself to a decrease in demand or wait for the evolution of demand and buy more expensive. “The early purchase with volumes limited to realistic estimates seems to be the best move”, concludes Calvo.

    Salix is a global import-export company of fresh fruit, an American Company based in Atlanta and has a wide portfolio of over 25 produce items, but focuses on apples, lemons, oranges, tangerines, pears and grapes. The company works with more than 80 loyal growers in 18 countries, and 400 customers in 57 countries.

    By Caroline Calder Features
  • 12 May
    Immunity – is there a role for 100% fruit juices in supporting immune function?

    Immunity – is there a role for 100% fruit juices in supporting immune function?

     

    Carrie Ruxton PhD RD, nutrition advisor to Fruit Juice Matters provides some background.

     

    Bottles of vitamin C supplements are flying off the shelves and there may be an upturn in orange juice sales across Europe, but is there any truth in public and media perceptions that certain vitamins or foods can help in the fight against COVID-19 and other respiratory viruses?

    Certainly, medical teams in China and the US are racing to test high doses of vitamin C in intensive care patients, while health experts in some parts of Europe have suggested wide-spread vitamin D supplementation as a way to bolster the public’s immune systems against COVID-19. Low blood levels of both vitamin C and vitamin D are known to be risk factors for contracting acute respiratory infections, as well as experiencing worse symptoms.

    What is immunity?

    Before we consider how nutrients and specific foods could help support immune function, it’s worth reminding ourselves what the immune system actually comprises since it isn’t like a simple dial that can be turned up or down! Immunity is, in fact, highly complex and involves both the innate and adaptive immune systems which combine to fight off infections and foreign bodies.

    Innate immunity is the ‘quick response’ baseline protection we have from birth that includes our skin, gut environment, and types of immune cells including phagocytes and natural killer cells. Adaptive immunity is slowly learnt in response to new bacteria or viruses, and relies on the actions of T lymphocytes and B lymphocytes which target and destroy bacteria or virus-infected cells in our bodies. It is the adaptive system that generates an immune memory to enable our bodies to recognise specific viruses and bacteria next time they attack.

    One issue with the popular concept of ‘boosting’ immunity is that we actually don’t want this to happen. Like many other body systems, such as blood glucose levels or brain oxygen levels, our immune response works across a tight optimal range. Too low and our sluggish system will not successfully attack and contain pathogens, but too high and we are at risk of developing so-called autoimmune conditions where the body’s overreactive immune response starts to attack normal healthy tissues. Examples of these conditions include type 1 diabetes, multiple sclerosis, rheumatoid arthritis and psoriasis.

    Focus on vitamin C

    A new study published in Nutrients calls for governments and health officials to consider implementing strategies to provide “nutritional support for the immune system” in order to “limit the impact of seasonal and emerging viral infections”.

    For vitamin C, daily intakes of at least 200 mg/day were recommended for healthy individuals increasing to 1–2 g/day for those suffering from respiratory illnesses. The rationale for this advice is that vitamin C supports reduction in the risk, severity and duration of upper and lower respiratory tract infections. In addition, studies show that vitamin C requirements increase during infection.

    According to a free-to-access report by a pharmacist and dietitian, published on the Fruit Juice Matters website, vitamin C has several roles in supporting optimal immunity, such as:

    • Influencing the production of interferon, a protein made by immune cells which can inhibit virus replication including the influenza A virus;
    • Anti-inflammatory activity – inflammation is one of the factors causing symptoms during viral infections, such as a stuffy nose or aches and pains. Vitamin C has been found to reduce lung inflammation caused by viral infection;
    • Acting as a powerful antioxidant which shields immune cells and other cells in the body under attack by the free radicals released during rapid immune response;
    • Supporting normal collagen synthesis (there is an authorised health claim for this in Europe) which is needed to stabilise the cell barriers protecting the respiratory tract, skin and gut from pathogenic bacteria and viruses;
    • Enhancing the activation of T and Natural Killer cells (types of immune cells) and repressing the viral lytic cycle (the stage at which a virus bursts out of the host cell to infect other cells).

    Immune health claims in Europe

    What we can reasonably expect is that living a healthy lifestyle, including avoidance of smoking and excess alcohol, staying within a normal body weight, and eating a balanced nutritious diet, will deliver an immune system that works within the optimal range. This is where immune-supporting nutrients and foods can have a role, as recognised by the European Food Safety Authority which gave a positive opinion on immune health claims for several vitamins and minerals (Table).

    Vitamins and minerals with authorised health claims for contributing to the normal function of the immune system

    Nutrient Key dietary sources
    Vitamin A Dairy foods, oily fish, vegetables
    Folate (vitamin B9) Fortified cereals, green leafy vegetables
    Vitamin B6 Pork, poultry, soya, fish, eggs, wholegrains
    Vitamin B12 Liver, beef, oily fish, fortified cereals, yeast extract
    Vitamin D Oily fish, eggs, red meat, fortified foods
    Iron Red meat, beans, pulses, green leafy vegetables
    Selenium Brazil nuts, tuna, turkey
    Zinc Meat, fish, eggs, cheese

     

    Where does juice fit in?

    As most people at present don’t take supplements on a regular basis, the immune-supporting nutrients will tend to come from their diets. In the case of vitamin C, this will be from eating a variety of fruits and vegetables, particularly citrus fruits, fruit juices and berries which all have a rich vitamin C content as well as providing bioactive substances such as polyphenols and carotenoids which support health.

    Just one glass of orange juice daily can supply 80-100% of the official reference intake for vitamin C. Orange juice is also a source of folate, which has an authorised immune claim, and potassium, which is proven to support normal blood pressure. Most other fruit juices and smoothies will qualify for a ‘rich in’ source for vitamin C and can put this on pack alongside the authorised wording of the health claim “vitamin C contributes to the normal function of the immune system”. Manufacturers should take care not to overstep the legal limits of this wording as claims to ‘boost’, ‘enhance’ or ‘protect’ immune function would not be accepted by regulators.

    Apart from the nutritional composition of 100% fruit juices, which clearly has the potential to make an important contribution to levels of vitamin C, potassium and folate, a daily glass of fruit juice complements fruit and vegetable consumption, which is low across many countries.

    • Surveys show that a third of Europeans don’t eat fruit and vegetables on a daily basis, while only 14% achieve the recommended five servings a day.

    In some countries, such as the UK, Germany, Italy, Spain and Romania, 100% fruit juice is included in official recommendations to promote fruit consumption.

    In conclusion, while the juice industry should never claim that its products will prevent or protect against COVID and other viral illnesses, it is reasonable to show how drinking a daily glass of 100% juice will boost vitamin C and folate intakes and, through that route, support normal immune function.

    By Caroline Calder Features
  • 12 May
    Covid-19  How our readers respond to crisis all over the world

    Covid-19 How our readers respond to crisis all over the world

     

    We asked readers to let us know what’s happening in their region, how their business and people are being affected by the current virus crisis. Thank you, to all those who responded.  Please keep your comments coming.

    ALGERIA – Slim Othmani, President of  NCA-Rouiba in Algeria

    We have almost stopped our production lines and have reduced the distribution coverage (may geographical areas non accessible). We couldn’t afford credit to our customers. It was almost impossible for us to pay our suppliers and also our banks.

    Many of our suppliers have put on hold their operations. We are trying to work with the local drink producers association to get the right support from the government to overcome all the issues we are facing.

    Due to the perception that juice is a healthy product, most probably we will witness a boom in juice consumption mainly fresh or NFC when this is all over. Are we going to be able to outsource all the fruits needed to support this? Does this mean major changes in production equipment? Is it the end of recipes with preservative added?

    We will witness fast digitalisation and robotization of all the supply chain and many boring jobs will most probably disappear as a result of this crisis.

     

    INDONESIA – Yos Putra Surya, Senior Account Manager, PT Great Giant Pineapple

    Since second half last year, the processed pineapple market has already started to experience an upward trend mainly due to shortage of supply in Thailand, the main country producer.  However, for pineapple juice concentrate, there are some inventories available in Europe from preceding over supply period, which hold the market price from increasing sharply like what has happened in the canned pineapple market.

    The covid-19 outbreak in Europe, has brought additional pineapple juice demand and thus reduced those inventories considerably. As a result, the present market price has climbed to USD 2,300-2,400/MT FOB for PJC 60brix. Since forecasted supply for processed pineapple will remain short, at least, till next Thai summer crop in 2021. It will be no surprise to see previous historical high market price level repeat itself in the coming months.

    The Ministry of Industry has issued a circular that provides guidelines on how factories should operate during the current COVID-19 pandemic. The Circular Letter No. 4/2020 on Factory Operations amidst the COVID-19 Public Health Emergency is aimed at supporting industries in continuing their operations with the established healthcare protocols, which include screening workers by measuring their body temperatures and restricting the number of workers in public facilities such as mosques and canteens. In general, our government has taken the necessary steps and measures to contain covid-19 outbreaks. One approach is a limited lockdown to particular region/red zones areas.

    To give strength to the industry longer term, the juice industry needs to reinvent itself and its image as a provider of antioxidants and multivitamin drinks which everyone can benefit from. Aside from traditional juices like apple, orange and pineapple, an innovation of combined fruits and vegetable drinks will be even more attractive for consumers who look for healthier and a less sweet drink.

    For the future – since this pandemic period will last for months, so consumers are forced to be more selective in their spending and eventually look for basic need items especially the ones which can offer longer shelf life, and juice is among their options during this period of time. The consumers’ memory of current pandemic threats, their buying & consumption behaviour during this period of time will have profound influence to their future buying selection/choices, not only current generation but few generations to come.

     

    US – Lukas Oest, Head of Global Marketing Development, Florida Worldwide Citrus

    For Florida Worldwide Citrus, one of the biggest changes the current virus has made to our business is related to our operations and company culture. We are a family-owned operation that prides itself on efficient and high-quality service. To continue providing such service in the midst of this pandemic, we have split our team into two shifts with rotating days in the office and working remotely. We quickly had to adapt to new operational procedures and channels of communication. It has been a welcomed challenge for us.

    Located in Southwest Florida, our company is grateful for the community resources we have available to us including the Bradenton Area Economic Development Corporation, local chambers of commerce and the Small Business Development Centre.  All have done a fantastic job communicating available help to businesses like ours.

     

    SOUTH AFRICA – Anton Reinecke, MD, Ceres Fruit Processors (Pty) Ltd

    Fortunately we are allowed to continue working under our lockdown rules due to being an essential food service. The biggest impact is on deliveries to cider manufacturers, which have been hugely delayed, because no alcohol sales are allowed in SA during lockdown. Also, banks are more cautious, so this may affect facilities. I am unsure of the impact of lockdown on consumer behaviour.  Less socializing – less alcohol, but perhaps juice consumption will increase in general as a result.

     

    SWITZERLAND – Frank Hofer, CEO Frutco

    It is indeed a very difficult time. Around our Frutco Team, we see many SMEs suffering. All the businesses which are not primary care are closed with tremendous consequences for the staff and owners. The Swiss Government is helping where they can, but even with this help, it is tough for the economy. Nearly 30% of the employed people are in short-time work.

    Doubts and uncertainty is gnawing on the souls. We believe that this situation will follow us the whole year until we come back to normal. But then the world has changed.

    Frutco went very well prepared into the crisis. Since end of January we activated the Pandemic Plan and everything was tested and trained again. It is now more than 3 weeks that the whole team is working from home offices. Only 1 person per office building is present to do the work, which cannot be done virtual. We have separated our storage in different warehouses in Holland, so that we will always be able to fulfil our supplies, in case one of the warehouses should get contaminated.

    On the other hand our investment in Latin America got postponed by about a month, due to a shutdown ordered by the Colombian government. Nevertheless, up to now in none of the countries in which we are working any problem with regards to affected workers in the processing or on the farms has occurred. The farms are working normal and people keep the rules of social distancing.

    The food service sector is down a lot. In our case, the food service people are supporting the bulk container business. On the other hand we have seen a huge upturn for these customers who are using our ingredients for health claims.

    Some customers in Italy filled their stocks, to keep the ability to deliver. Not clear until is the question will the supply chains stay stable. We don’t know how the crisis will affect Latin America. Some irregularity of deliveries and late payments are seen but most of the businesses are running more and less normal.

    We had to increase the working capital in order to prolong some payment terms for customers in very much affected regions, in collaboration with the credit insurance company and approved 2nd or 3rd suppliers. We believe that we may keep the budget 2020 as long as the supply chains are up and running. Some containers are short but our team could solve these problems always on time.

    The team is missing the social contacts within Frutco  and the physical contact with suppliers and customers. Today everything goes through Skype.

    At the end of the day, when the crisis is over I don’t believe that there will be a change how the public sees fruit juice beverages. The sugar discussion will come up again. Therefore we are working on solutions which will match this issue and will help to demonstrate the value of a good fruit juice. All our research work stays on track und soon our banana fibres will be ready to enter the market.

     

    US – Remer Lane, Investments in Juice businesses, M&A, Strategy and Sustainability Solutions

    My business has improved. While socializing is down, the companies with whom I deal are looking for improved financial conditions; supply chain solutions for delayed or alternative suppliers; considerations for new technologies that address sustainability, AI and automation.

    In regards to the virus, we have accommodated the requests to reduce movement and thus infections. That has worked and we have no issues with government activities to-date.

    Where might you see the juice industry in 12 months’ time? The juice industry has an opportunity now to increase its profile as providing the right nutrition at the right time. Sugar consumption seems to be off the radar and vitamin intake more important. We need to build on that.  Increased consumption of vitamin rich 100% juices especially OJ is likely.

    We need to launch a marketing campaign immediately to promote the role vitamins supplied by juices play in maintaining a healthy lifestyle and giving our bodies the right nutrition to fight virus’.

    US – Steve Cockram, General Manager, Growers Co-op Grape Juice Co

    We have all have been forced into a very different world.  Right now demand for juice is actually increasing.  Now that it seems that the food and transportation industries have been deemed to be essential, so we can stay open.  The big short term fear is the health of our employees.  One sickness and we may be shut down for a couple weeks.  Long term, we wonder how to do harvest if COVID is raging in our area.  Farmers will have the same issues as processors in getting healthy people to stay in operation.  The northern hemisphere wants to see how the southern hemisphere is dealing with it now.  That said, our federal government is throwing forgivable loans to small businesses, so that will be a nice financial boost, if it comes to pass.

     

    SLOVAKIA – Štefan Gradišek, Head of Purchasing Department, Dana

    Seeing longer delivery dues, higher transport costs. In some cases higher raw material prices and in rare cases also unavailability of material.

    We stopped production for short period of time, in order to reduce threat of virus expansion to the minimum among employees.  From a sales point of view, we had a lack of sales, since all restaurants etc. are closed, and this represents an important part of our business.

    There is some governmental support for producers /employees and looks positive.

    In my opinion, in 12 month things will be more or less on old tracks. Unless there is a resurgence of the virus. I do not really any positive things to say as a result so far.

     

    US – Carol Plisga, independent consultant to the food and beverage industry

    In my opinion, the juice industry is in the same predicament as all other industries and governments.  As much as we would like to look long term, the future changes daily so right now what matters is fighting front line challenges and embracing immediate needs.

    I’m not a historian but common sense tells me that a spike of any kind is not sustainable and eventually will moderate.  Looming out there for all of us both personal and professional is a recession caused by COVID-19.  How many businesses won’t survive?

    Forecasting is a tool that depends on previous history and future insight.  We have nothing in history to compare as a forecasting tool.  The future for retail and foodservice is unknown.  We can’t expect all countries will come back at the same speed with the same demands on the juice industry.

    We’re in a crucial agricultural period for Southern Hemisphere.  If unable to pick, process and ship – we will see shortages globally.  Does that automatically kill the spike we are seeing now or will the recession kill the spike?  I am looking forward to your report in FJF issue.  We can all learn from our colleagues and your span of clients is far greater than any one of us has, as a single individual or company.

     

    POLAND – Mateusz Świętanowski
    Concentrates, IQF & Puree Sales Manager / Kierownik Działu Koncentraty, IQF i Przeciery 

    We have seen a large drop in food service channel sales but at the same time increase in retail based sales channel. Unfortunately we cannot estimate if this trend will continue for the next months as we think that that increase is a result of the stock renewal of supermarket channels. Some challenges with finance and insurance companies as they are looking more closely and in more cautious manner in terms of providing finance cover for clients. Most of our team are working from home, utilising all possible platforms of contact with other team members and clients.

    Government prepared a lot of projects for businesses across the country, but the scale and results we will notice in near future. We must focus to keep the business running and cover the cost.

    As for 12 months’ time – too far to tell now. Let’s not plan too much. Just look at what is happening now and how irrelevant all planning may be. I do however think high vitamin content in juices as well as other minerals might turn out to be substantial factor for rise in consumption. Add to that long shelf life and protection of product from potential contamination as opposed to fresh fruits and vegetables.

    ISRAEL – Ido Frank, Director of Business Development, Kibbutz Gan Shmuel, Trisun

    So far the biggest change we see is increased difficulty in shipping goods (and also samples to some countries). A few countries have closed down so it is also becoming more difficult to get bookings for containers to move goods.

     

    POLAND – Andrii Humenchuk< Global Sales Specialist, Sambor

    What is the biggest change the current virus has made to our business right now – we switched to shorter payment terms and delivery spread (3-10 days net or 100% prepayment and delivery spread max till June 2020).
    We have major factors at the moment in Poland: a) shortage of labour as many seasonal workers left the country b) lack of precipitation/high temperature in May forecast. It may result in higher labour cost and lack of apples for processing.
    I think long term we may expect the share of pure juices will increase at the expense of energy/sport drinks.

     

    PAKISTAN – Various sources

    1.0 The Scope of the Crisis

    As has been widely recognised globally, the current crisis, in addition to its tragic human dimension, represents an economic shock, on a magnitude which has not been seen since the Second World War. In the case of the economy of Pakistan, which is between 30 & 35 in the world GDP ranking, both its linkage to the global economy, as well as its relative  isolation, are kept in view when assessing international trends.

    The major linkage is in the numbers of workers from this country in the Gulf, which can be estimated at over 5 million, followed by those in the UK/ USA/ Europe. The financial implication is the volume of remittances to this country, which actually constitute the biggest single source of foreign currency, and, on a micro level, which are mostly utilised for personal consumption by the recipient families.

    2.0 Implications for the Fruit Juice Sector

    Actually the sector may be considered as consisting of two sub-sectors:

    1. i) The production of industrial products such as concentrates and purees: these are currently used mainly for consumer juices for local sale, with some proportion for the export market. The availability of disposable income for packed fruit juices will directly impact the manufacturers of industrial products. However, since these manufacturers have been making high profits from local sales, with a decline in demand it is possible that they will make more an effort to export, so the reduction in sales to local juice producers may be partially offset by increased export sales, albeit at somewhat lower prices.

    Current exports are no more than 4-5,000 tonnes/year of mango/guava purees, and about 10,000 tonnes/year of mandarin concentrate, so it is conceivable that these levels can be increased by 40 to 50% to offset the decline in local sales, as forecast in ii) below.

    1. ii) The production of consumer juices: in response to the economic contraction expected in the coming future, decline in the volume of consumer juice sales is the likely scenario, since this is not an essential survival item of the grocery basket. The buoyancy in the policies of the multinationals, such as Pepsi/ Coca Cola/ Nestle, as well as that of the leading local brands, towards constantly expanding their fruit juice portfolios, is not realistically expected to be sustained in the immediate future.

    The current consumer juice market in Pakistan, with a range of products in various sizes (200 ml/ 250 ml/ 1 litre) and types (PET/ tetra + similar/ glass) is estimated at between 300 & 500 million litres/ year. Growth has been phenomenal in the last few years, estimated by authoritative sources at reaching 20% annually in some years, powered by increasing disposable incomes/ changes in tastes & lifestyles/ a growing young population and other factors. However, quite clearly, such growth is not expected to happen in the next few years, following the current economic shock.

     

    FINLAND – Elisa Piesala, Branch Manager, Finnish Food and Drink Industries´ Federation, Helsinki

    In Finland the food sector is considered as a sector critical to the functioning of society.

    Pre-primary education organized in schools and contact teaching for grades 1–3 will continue for the children of parents working in sectors critical to the functioning of society. Other schools and universities are closed. People are asked to stay at home and avoid close contact to others.

    Impact on salesAs elsewhere, the sales in the groceries have increased and the sales in the foodservice have reduced a lot.  Bars and restaurants have been closed since last Saturday (4.4.). Some examples of rough estimations of increases in the groceries: meat + 40 %, dairy products 20-30 %. The highest peak of groceries sales was right after the Finnish government announced of enforcing Emergency Powers Act (on the 16th of March). The retail sector reported that now the situation has evened out, but still people are buying more than in usual situation e.g. bread, meat, tissue paper, canned food, soap and detergents.

    Transportation, logistics, border checksThe Food and Drink Industries’ Federation has not yet been reported of major problems with border checks so far.

     

    NIGERIA – Anthea Omoregbee, CEO, Zest4Life, Lagos Nigeria 

    We are in a lockdown now so delivery is slow due to no movement, resulting in reduced sales.

    Not seeing support from government in our region as yet.

    For the future I can see more online sales and with the help of vitamin C, which helps with building immune systems, the sales of juices are and will continue to rise.  Hopefully we can play a part in helping to boost immune systems.

     

     

     

     

     

     

    By Caroline Calder Features
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