Italian tomato processors are gearing up for another good pack as weather conditions have proved to be relatively favourable.
But one Naples source warned: “We are not out of the woods yet. Talk of prices similar to last year’s is premature.”
Reports that pre-season deals have already been concluded with European discounters have been denied. UK retailers have adequate stock, so if forecasts are correct, the need to book early will be lessened.
Packers will want to assess fresh fruit availability, but it looks as though the total pack will just about balance with world demand.
The swing towards chopped, which commands a premium, is expected to continue, a trend welcomed by producers.
Chinese threat dismissed
Greek packers have played down claims that China threatens to take an increased share of the canned peach market this year. The Greeks are expecting a plentiful crop and have pledged to compete head-on with any Chinese discounting.
Salmon run encouraging
Early results from the Port Moller test fishery, which give an indication of the Bristol Bay Alaskan red salmon run, are encouraging.
According to sources in Seattle, tests are showing a return of reds better than last season, which will give UK importers some comfort.
One importer said: “We know the frozen market is firm, but to keep prices anywhere near last year’s levels, we need a big run in the Bay.”
With a firmer US dollar, and fishermen’s demands for higher prices, the UK salmon trade faces sterling increases, which will impact on promotional activity, particularly multi-buys, which have been successful recently.
Typical of these is a current buy-one-get-one-free offer in some stores for John West or Princes cans (213g).
Higher tinplate costs and freight charges will see the new season’s offer edging above £2 a can.