In the rich countries of the EU, high-quality products become the standard, but the first and second grades are almost not on the shelves of supermarkets. I heard this many times during conferences devoted to fruit and vegetable topics for the last two years.
What actually happens? And what should farmers do with products that do not meet the highest quality? After all, this issue is also very relevant for Ukrainian farmers who are increasingly dependent on the export of fresh fruits and vegetables due to increased production and a reduction in the size of the domestic market.
The answer is simple: do not produce second-grade products. In the fruit and vegetable business this is possible. But this requires a very careful attitude to growing technologies.
Products that do not meet the highest grade, just go for recycling. In Ukraine, there is still no such problem, because consumers are not against consuming fruit that is not ideal but of decent quality. And if the price for it is lower, they will rather buy, for example, an apple that does not look perfect.
Accordingly, in my opinion, the difference in prices for quality and low-quality food will grow even in the Ukrainian market. After all, quality products can be exported, and there will be a queue of potential buyers behind it.
In addition, we are talking about the lack of access to the supermarket shelves in the EU. But there are also trays and markets that do not play a leading role in trade but will continue to have significant sales volumes. Accordingly, where these products can also get there.
Of course, all this is bad news for those who planted gardens and berries under the Russian market, where the requirements for quality products are not high. After all, it will be rather difficult for them to increase the percentage of high-quality products. Accordingly, it is very important for such producers to find their niche in Ukraine.
In addition, markets that are more remote than the EU, such as Asia, Africa and the Middle East, will also not be able to deliver low-quality products, because it is not corny.
It is very pleasant that our producers begin to understand this. I see that the laying of new orchards and berry berries in Ukraine is already largely taking into account world trends.
For example, producers of sweet cherries try to receive a caliber of 30+, buy hydroculses, study aviagistics.
Producers of apples cover the gardens with a net, protect against frost, select the most valuable varieties, which give the maximum economic result in our climatic conditions.
Our producers of berries are already beginning to make themselves known in the EU market. Hence, the trend is positive. And the prices for low-quality products continue to fall.
A vivid example is a raspberry. Last year, we exported a record volume, but poor-quality raspberries refused to buy even for processing at 10-12 UAH / kg.
At the same time and now producers of frozen berries give a poor-quality raspberry, which are not sold at all, and quality is no longer because the price of it was kept.
This year, I think that low-quality raspberries will not be taken at 5 UAH / kg, but A-class raspberries will cost no less than a year ago, despite the increase in supply.
Of course, low-quality products can find themselves in the processing segment for juices, concentrates, and the like. But the prices there are not comparable with what qualitative segments give.
I gave an example of raspberries, which last year they bought a maximum of 10-12 UAH. At the same time, those who had high-quality raspberries, which could be exported in fresh form, would easily receive a net price of 40-60 UAH / kg, and those who sold for freezing – 18-22 UAH / kg.
This year there will be a similar situation for an apple. The wholesale price of an average quality apple (not premium) in the fresh market may drop to UAH 5 / kg. But if the manufacturer has premium quality products, he will be able to get 15-17 UAH / kg of net price (minus all expenses), selling products to Southeast Asia.
And this is a huge difference, which can not be ignored, as well as the calculations of a rather pessimistic price in the country of sale.
Andrey Yarmak, the economist of the investment department of FAO