Apple Juice Crop & Processing - Q1 2022

Apple Juice Crop & Processing - Q1 2022

Apple processing plants in Poland have now restarted running cold store apples from the 2021/22 crop after the December break. There are sufficient quantities being delivered to factories but fruit pricing is higher than processors would like at PLN0.53-0.63/kg delivered to the factory, compared with PLN0.50-0.52/kg last month. The main factories are only receiving around one-third of the supplies they were expecting at this time. Analysts suggest raw material prices are higher due to the increased demand for Polish supplies this season. The 2021/22 apple crop in Poland was very good with more than 4 million tonnes being produced but there has been a much higher demand for apple juice concentrate from overseas than usual. This is attributed to the problems with shipping from Asia over the past six months.

China is a very large exporter of apple concentrate to the US but the supply line has been thwarted this season due to the poor availability of shipping. US buyers and many other global buyers are turning to Europe to augment the supply.

On top of the higher demand from typical markets, Polish producers are having to deal with higher over costs – including energy and labor. There is a shortage of low acid concentrate on the global market at the moment which is attributed to the stronger demand from the US market, which favors sweeter supplies. The larger crop in Poland this season meant that buyers were relaxed, expecting prices to ease as production increased. However, the supply bottle neck from China due to the shipping crisis saw much higher demand for European produce.

Poland was the cheapest source of apple juice concentrate in the world this season. The current scenario of higher pricing and lower availability is causing headaches for buyers who still hold open positions. Nevertheless, there has been some trade activity over the past month as buyers begin to accept that they will need to pay higher prices.

There will be further supplies of concentrate coming on stream over the next two months and overall production from the 2021/22 crop should be sufficient to meet demand until the new crop.

However analysts say that pricing is unlikely to ease and could firm up further. Growing conditions for the 2022/23 season in Poland look fine for the moment, although industry sources say the winter has probably been slightly too warm so far.

Editor’s Note: The information furnished here is as of end February 2022. Due to the high tensions with the Russia-Ukraine conflict, the situation in Poland may change in the near future.

The supply from China remains limited and there are still problems with shipping availability. This problem is expected to be exacerbated due to a possible further backlog of ships following the New Year holiday in China.