Fruit


Apricot canning commenced last week in Spain, with Greece to follow in a matter of days. Spanish growers have reduced their crop forecast again, this time to about 45% of last year's total. The first reports from the processors suggest quality is below average, raising concerns over high wastage. New season prices have yet to be announced, but UK importers expect a year-on-year increase of 10%. However, Greece is expecting a better than average crop, partly offsetting the Spanish shortfall, and Greek canners are reporting fresh fruit quality is above average. Peach production is due to start in a few weeks and should be well up to the forecast. Spanish volumes will be 15% down, but Greece will more than compensate with a 25% increase. Canned peach sales across Europe are in slight decline, but a switch to packing in plastic pots is attracting a new customer base. Australia started the trend a few years ago, but Greece has since joined the 'pot' supply chain where sales are growing. Consumers trying to get their '5-a-day' find the single-serving pots more attractive than traditional cans.