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Belgian wholesaler acquires competitor

Zoom in font  Zoom out font Published: 2023-01-19  Origin: freshplaza
Core Tip: January and February are usually the quietest months at Belgian wholesaler Groothandel Michel.
January and February are usually the quietest months at Belgian wholesaler Groothandel Michel. That is when this soft fruit specialist is normally waiting for warm weather and spring sunshine. Yet business is certainly not at a standstill. In January, this company acquired Groothandel Valckenier, another Belgian wholesaler.

"Valckenier, too, specializes in soft and top fruit," says Michel manager Stefan Bosmans. "We, thus, anticipate a nice synergy. There was already good contact, and we want to use this collaboration to strengthen our market position rather than competing with each other." From now on, the whole of Valckenier will be under Michel's roof.

Spanish citrus: good demand, less supply
Thanks to this, Groothandel Michel expects to meet the Belgian soft fruit sector's challenges. "It's quiet now. Raspberries and blueberries are now fully imported. There's usually still winter cultivation of strawberries, but that's currently at a standstill. So, it's a matter of waiting to see what will happen towards March/April," Stefan explains.

"The high energy prices mostly likely mean less will be coming out of the greenhouse, and harvesting, too, will be a lot later. If Belgian soft fruit prices rise more due to the limited supply, customers will probably switch more quickly to the Spanish supply. We trade some Spanish products, but certainly not in large quantities," he continues.

Spanish citrus, especially clementines, are currently selling well at this wholesaler. "Those have excellent quality. They taste wonderful at the moment. However, there are somewhat fewer of these than in previous years. There's no true shortage. Still, prices are slightly higher." Top fruit sales are pretty good too. "There's a tremendous demand for apples and pears. Though, there is a significant oversupply of apples in the market," Stefan concludes.
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