We would like to start by wishing all our customers suppliers and staff a fantastic 2020 and thank them all for their support throughout 2019. What is on the cards for 2020? Well Brexit still needs sorting and this will take some adjustment for everyone. Everyone expects a bumpy road for a month or so but it will sort itself out as business is business and the UK market is very important to all European suppliers. Despite Brexit we expect to continue the growth of the Premier group throughout 2020 and as ever improve service levels and new opportunities’ for all our customers. Continued development of our wonderful Premier Speciality foods business will start in January 2020 as we offer the full range throughout the Premier group to all our customers. The weather is once again playing havoc with people’s lives globally as well as the effect it is having on growing conditions. Kenya, Ethiopia had some of the worst floods they have ever seen causing damage to a lot of property as well as destroying fields of produce. UK weather has been extremely wet throughout December again with reports of farmer’s tractors unable to get out of fields. A lot of Europe has been very similar to UK with long bouts of rain. Other parts of the world would off welcomed some rain in December.
Food Service Comments
Herbs some issues on products from Kenya due to weather conditions. Very good quality Globe Artichokes available throughout the month. Mushrooms Chanterelle, Pied mouton available from Spain. Excellent Jerusalem artichokes throughout the month. Some wonderful Italian Blood oranges available throughout the month. Beautiful Lychees from Madagascar. Quince from Turkey. Castelfranco lettuce from Italy very good quality. UK Cavolo Nero fantastic quality and very good value.
Blue Stilton slices the perfect round slices and perfect cheese for burgers. Our wonderful produced in house Stilton in port Soft Sussex Camembert. Hard Broad oak cheddar, 12 months matured. Lincolnshire Poacher Vintage. Barbary duck legs. Sweet creamy Butter rolls produced in house
Apples no issues expected with very good volumes and fantastic quality arriving daily from throughout Europe. Pears conference good quality and no issues expected on fruit from Belgium and Holland. Pears still some UK Comice available along with Belgium Comice, Santa Maria from Turkey until South African season starts on desert pears. Apricots from RSA will finish towards the end of the month. Cherries very expensive but good quality airfreight from Argentina and Chile until the season ends. Melons Yellow, Cantaloupe, Galia, Water all from Brazil and good value. Lemons are all about quality this time of year. With good quality product worth paying that bit extra for. Grapefruit star ruby good quality Spanish and Turkish fruit available.Grapefruit Marsh from Israel, Turkey, and Spain with good quality expected to arrive. Plums will be from South Africa and will be sea freight by mid-January so price will drop although quality is very good. Kiwifruit good value and quality from Italy.
Orange’s smaller juicing fruit still very difficult until Egyptian Valencia season starts. Larger Spanish navel fruit arriving well although we will see the first arrivals of Egyptian navels at the start of January pushing prices down. Some small fruit still available from RSA but is right at the end now and despite that it is still reaching very high values. We will use Egyptian Baladi in January for juicing although brix levels are a little low. Easy peelers still difficult in terms of the right product. Fruit available from Morocco, Clementine’s, and Nour. Sunita and Minneola’s from Israel. Ortanique and Nova from Turkey. Different variations on quality and brix levels now this time of year so we will work a range of products. Grapes good quality arriving from South Africa and value is similar to last season. There is and will be cheaper options available but with low Brix and potential quality issues in punnet grapes, we advise you listen to supplier for the right product. Nectarines and Peaches will continue from South Africa with good quality and plenty of volume.
Butternut squash no issues with plenty of product arriving from Portugal. UK Beetroot Purple, Candy, Golden all fantastic quality this time of year. Broccoli from Spain will be easier than in December and better quality. UK Brussel sprouts will continue throughout January with good volumes available. UK Carrots very good value and plenty of availability. UK Onions all very good quality in both red and yellow skin. Cabbage Red, White from UK very good quality and value. Also very Primo from UK.
Savoy and Spring cabbage from UK and good value throughout January. Leeks no issues with good quality UK product available. Potatoes UK all varieties good quality. UK Celeriac good value and quality. Cauliflowers good quality from France. UK Parsnips and Piccolo Parsnips very good value and great quality. UK Swede very good value. Courgettes will continue from Morocco and Spain with no issues expected. Spanish onions will come down a little in price towards the end of month as transport rates drop back a little. UK kale very good value and quality
Asparagus will be Peruvian with good volumes arriving and very good quality as well. Beans, Mangetout, Sugarsnaps expected to be difficult due to weather conditions in Kenya. Beans not as big an issue as we have had supply from Egypt but prices are still high on snap and mange. Avocadoes Mexican fruit has internal issues and should be avoided. Good fruit arriving from Spain and Israel although at premium prices. Good volumes also arriving from Colombia, which is keeping market prices, level with last year. Limes very much depends on quality as very good quality arriving from Brazil and Mexico but also sub-standard arriving from Brazil being sold at low market prices so be careful. Blueberries a little more expensive in January with fruit arriving from RSA and NZE although quality very good. Blackberries expensive but good quality from Holland.
Chillies long both red and green expensive compared to last season but quality from Spain is very good. Raspberries plenty of availability from both Spain and Morocco Strawberries will be from Egypt until we see product from Spain quality has been good so far from Egypt. Mangoes from Brazil very good value and plenty of availability. Pineapples from Costa Rica arriving weekly with no issues. Good quality Ginger from China and Brazil. Pomegranates from Turkey and Israel will remain good quality and value. Papaya expensive and export volumes from Brazil forecasted to be down. Figs no issues with good airfreight arriving from Brazil.
Baby leaf salad proved difficult for some growers due to the amount of rain in Italy. Our grower has maintained consistent supply under our finest range brand. Tomatoes Round, Cherry, and Beef still arriving from Morocco. Quality and value has been very consistent this season so far so let us hope it continues. Tomatoes Plum, Vine and Plum vine from Spain and good quality with no supply issues. Aubergines higher in price than this time last year although no issues with quality. Cucumber very similar to this time last year in terms of value and quality. Capsicums all colours very good quality and good value from both Spain and Morocco this season. Lettuce Radicchio from Italy good quality and value. Iceberg, Cos, Gem and Red gem from our grower Primaflor in Spain has been arriving very good. Fennel very good product arriving from Italy. Chicory still high in price for this time of year but quality is very good. Celery no issues with good quality product arriving from Primaflor out of Spain. Spring onions no issues with plenty of availability from Egypt and Mexico.
January tends to be the month of new regimes and what better way to start the year than with fresh produce? Even though temperatures are normally hovering around zero, there are parts of Europe that are producing great tomatoes. The Spanish lead with way with varieties like Black Roma and the ribbed MonteRosa, while the Belgians have the slightly green seeded, tasty Gusto. Three-colour cherry on the vine should also be around to brighten up those smaller plates! If it is colour that you want, how about the bunched mixed colour carrots that became available again in December with product arriving from Spain? There are also various cabbages with the French growing their version of January King called Pontois, which has lovely dark red leaves on the outside, and Red Robin. Cavelo Nero and other leafy varieties like Kale are also around. Spanish artichokes are more plentiful with the large Calico and the colourful small bunches of purple ones too. All the roots are still around for you to enjoy, the various different beetroots, coloured carrots, parsnips and parsley root. There are great potatoes to be had too with Armandine and Galante particularly good because of their set skins. The fruit is all about the start of the much-anticipated seasons! Blood oranges are ordered in December each year but the true varieties do not get going until mid-January. The best known blood is the Spanish Sanguinelli but the Italians and French have their own too which covers the whole range from speckled flesh like Tarocco, to semi-bloods like Moro and then to the full red. The sour Seville orange starts its short season with the untreated, heavily pipped fruit being ideal for marmalade and sauces. Clementine’s are in abundance, (don’t think they are just for Christmas!), as we move from Fina to the Orri variety. Both are fantastic eaters, for different reasons, and both should be available with or without the leaves. Oranges are also really good in January. The Salustiana variety is grown mostly for juice due to its thin skin and almost indistinguishable and is at its peak in January and the Portuguese and Spanish fight over the best eating (or table) oranges. Navel and Newhall varieties were great last year and both should be available again with or without leaves. European apples and pears offer a wide selection of colour and taste. Goldrush, the golden speckled apple with a sweet/sour taste is a personal favourite and the Italian have good Abate now, often with a pretty red blush. Passe Crassanne should be good too as December fruit was a bit immature to be fully appreciated. Fruit from further afield includes all the stone fruit that was around in December, peach, nectarine, apricot, cherry and orange flesh melons that are flown in from the Dominican Republic and Guadeloupe. Mangoes are plentiful from Peru and Chile sends the first of the Moscatel Rosada grape. This can be an expensive replacement for the French Muscat but prices drop after a while when the sea-freight arrives.