Consumers pay seven times more for Spanish-grown stonefruit than the price the grower receives, according to COAG, the body that represents agricultural and livestock unions.
It has published data showing that producers were paid an average of €0.50 per kg of peaches and nectarines during May, while the average sale price was €3.50.
This proves, says COAG, that the low prices seen at the start of the Spanish stonefruit campaign are not being passed on to the consumer.
The claims come amid one of the worst starts to the Spanish stonefruit campaign in recent years, with prices for early season from Andalucía and Murcia down significantly on normal levels.
In 2015, when the crop forecast was at a similar level to the 2017 harvest, producers received around €1 per kg, while consumer prices were broadly in line with today’s figures.
“The retailers’ exorbitant margins are simply not justified by the market conditions,” said David Borda, COAG’s summer fruit representative, who said demand across Europe has picked up as temperatures have risen.
COAG is urging retailers to reduce their margins in order to further stimulate consumption. It has also called on crisis management measures to be implemented via producer organisations, including green harvesting and non-harvesting.
Josep Lluis Trilla of Catalan grower-exporter Actel, said he is hopeful the market would recover as we moved into summer.
“It’s true that there has been a problem with stonefruit from Andalucía and Murcia as consumption in Europe had not yet been activated due to the low temperatures,” he told Fruitnet.
“However, we expect this rough patch to have passed once harvesting begins in Lleida and we are planning for a normal campaign.”
Santi Bonet of Lleida-based Fruits de Ponent said a clearer picture would emerge about the prospects for Catalan producers in one or two weeks.
“What we can say is that the quality of this year’s crop is excellent and we’re confident of satisfying the needs of our customers throughout the season.”