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US: Volumes down slightly in Chinese eggplants

Zoom in font  Zoom out font Published: 2017-02-21  Views: 2
Core Tip: Chinese eggplants coming out of Guatemala are feeling slightly tight on volume.
Chinese eggplants coming out of Guatemala are feeling slightly tight on volume. “Volumes were a bit down in January which led to strong pricing,” says Marc Holbik of Miami, Fl.-based Ecoripe Tropicals, which ships eggplant in from Guatemala November to May and also works with farms in Honduras to cover the year-round supply. “Our volumes were down due to some late rains which delayed the planting of some fields, so we just got off to a slow start. We’re probably seeing around 15-20% less volume.” Holbik adds that the volumes are comparable to this time last year.

While Ecoripe is importing the longer, skinnier purple variety of eggplants, he also notes that after the Chinese New Year, volume is balancing well with supply and pricing is stable. He expects supply and demand to be well matched for the next few weeks.

Expanding the eggplant’s reach
“While the core demand for this eggplant is from Asian-American markets primarily in larger metropolitan areas such as New York, Toronto, and Los Angeles, we’re beginning to see more interest from mainstream supermarkets,” says Holbik. Ecoripe also sells Indian eggplants, which are the size of a chicken egg, and Thai eggplants which are green and even smaller than their Indian counterparts. “Interest in Indian and Chinese eggplants is most definitely increasing, and while most of this demand comes from the growth of the Asian-American population, we also see interest coming in from mainstream markets looking to diversify their produce departments,” adds Holbik.
 
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