Pre-Christmas trade has not disappointed and the demand from both retail and food-service sectors continues to be strong.

Despite heavy industry packing last week (and the highest tray volume packed in one week domestically being recorded) it seems to be that the domestic marketers are all in a good position – fruit age is under control and stock volumes although significant are not of concern. Ten days ago we published some forecast pricing for the coming month – our pre-Christmas stab in the dark based on what we are hearing, export flow plan numbers, and late season volumes. On information we have so far and confirmed pricing for next week, we are on track to achieve those values. The challenge will be managing the short week volumes, keeping stock well chilled and within good date periods. This is a key issue this year with advanced maturity levels and high colour.

As we move into Christmas the retail programmes have limited promotional activity. However, given pull through consumer-demand for fruit this will not impact us at all. Demand off-advert has lifted significantly and despite ongoing small incremental lifts in value, we are not noting any slowdown in buying activity.

Our Class 3 programme has added sustainable value to product some marketers feel is worthless. Over the coming two weeks under a managed brand our Class 3 stocks will again be promoted to extract value from what is a significant Class 3 volume this season. This has reduced volume pressure off Class 2 stocks and has added value to Class 3 returns. Given the potentially short nature of the post-Christmas market, extracting a use and value for this category of product is extremely important.

With the holiday break looming the team at Zeafruit wish you all a safe and happy festive period. Be safe on the roads and we look forward to catching up in the New Year. Our team are on board in reduced numbers across the short weeks so please make contact with them should you have any queries.