MADRID – Fruit is one of the major victims of the impressive rise in food prices in Spain. This price increase affects the composition of the shopping cart contents of the vast majority of Spaniards.
Fruit is still bought, but in lesser quantities, than desired. The price increases of the coveted watermelons (sandía), melons, and peaches are particularly striking. These are usually the star products of the summer because they are fantastic when it’s too hot outside.
Fresh fruit experiences historic inflation moment
After overcoming a pandemic, the transport strike, a volcanic eruption in La Palma, and extreme crop-influencing weather conditions, the fresh fruit market is experiencing a historic inflationary moment. The price increase of fruit was already more than 10% in April. Watermelon led the increase at 18%.
Since then, prices have continued to rise. And this highest price increase in 28 years does influence purchasing behaviour according to consumer organisation OCU. A survey shows that more than half of buyers have adapted their habits to their income. One in five consumers even says they have stopped buying certain foods, such as meat, fish, fruit, or vegetables.
And what do they do with the fruit such as (water)melons and peaches? They look for cheaper alternative desserts, which unfortunately may not be as healthy. At best, they will replace common summer fruits with fruits that are not exclusive to the season, such as bananas or apples.
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Lower production and higher prices
The farmers recognise that the prices of the fruit have not been accessible to consumers. The production of watermelons and melons has been short, about half of what is usual. That was the result of the calima and the rain. In addition, there was an algal influx of these fruits from Senegal.
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However, production is still good in June, so the price should fall according to estimates by the farmers’ and ranchers’ association COAG. In May, the farmer was able to sell his watermelons for 85 cents per kilo due to the increased costs. That price is now 18 cents.
A similar situation occurs with stone fruit, which has also become more expensive. Stone fruits include cherries, nectarines, peaches, apricots, mangoes, and plums, as well as olives and avocados. FEPEX, the Spanish federation of exporting producers again blames bad weather conditions. In Catalonia, for example, almost 70% of the production potential of peaches and nectarines was lost due to frost and hail. The situation in Aragón is comparable to a 90% decrease in apricot production. In Murcia an estimated 20% less stone fruit can be harvested.
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