Spike in sales of citrus, baking goods amid global lockdowns

Spike in sales of citrus, baking goods amid global lockdowns
The increase in the demand for citrus fruit, particularly oranges, in some countries has boosted the citrus industry. Photo: FW Archive

The lockdowns that have been put in place in many countries around the world, due to the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic, have seen consumer demand for certain commodities increase sharply.

Some examples include strong demand for potatoes in Poland, citrus in Spain, as well as baking ingredients in the UK.

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Łukasz Ostrowicz, a member of the board at Polish potato trading company Bugaj, told Freshplaza: “[As] one of the major suppliers of fresh potatoes to the Polish retailers, we’ve observed a significant increase in demand for fresh potatoes since the lockdown measures were announced.”

It was noteworthy, he said, that sales of packed potatoes increased much more than sales of loose potatoes, most likely because of the convenience of buying these. However, sales of raw, peeled potatoes from the company’s potato-processing factory fell by around 50%.

The increase in demand proved challenging for Bugaj, as lockdown measures had been put in place at the same time, he added.

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Meanwhile, an unexpected increase in baking ingredients had been reported in the UK.

“We have seen a clear increase in food ingredients for bakery products, both [from] existing customers ordering in larger quantities, and new customers looking for supplies,” said Tasneem Alonzo, managing director of the Lähde brand produced by EHL Ingredients, in a report on the FoodIngredientsFirst website.

“Plain flour and sugar are selling out in large quantities, as expected, but more customers are coming to us for alternative flours for vegan and gluten-free bakery products,” Alonzo explained.

Another interesting development had been a skyrocketing increase in the demand for citrus fruit around the world.

READ Special Covid-19 Report – Citrus

“The most positive thing coming out of this [crisis] is the increased demand for citrus fruit. Oranges were a product in decline, and depending on which country you look at, there is [now] an increase in demand of between 40% and 70%, which is very positive for the citrus industry on a whole,” Mark Tweddle, CEO of fresh produce grower and exporter Jupiter Group, told Freshplaza.

Retail sales of all 100% orange juice products at major retail outlets in the US rose 9,8% during the four-week period ending 14 March, according to the latest report from the Florida Department of Citrus in Bartow in the US.

A recent Nielson report on sales of not-from concentrate (NFC) orange juice in the US, also indicated that sales rose 28% for the four-week period ending 21 March.

In Spain, retail sales of citrus products outpaced those of most other products, particularly with regard to orange and lemon purchases.

According to local media reports, the Spanish citrus sector had responded to this surge in demand by keeping stores fully stocked both in Spain and throughout Europe.

“Consumers are instinctively turning to oranges to satisfy their craving for healthy products that will improve their wellbeing,” Paco Borrás chairperson of the Export Committee at Freshfel said.