Polish demand for blueberries strong

When inflation hit Europe, Sandra Stefaniak-Syguła, co-owner of Polish soft fruit trader Berrytrade, expected demand for blueberries to drop, but consumers have never given up on blueberries and sales at the BerryTrade business have fallen year-on-year. year even increased, she explains.

“Despite the highest inflation in Poland since 1996, which is officially around 16%, blueberries seem to have a certain base of loyal customers and are more resistant to a drop in consumption than we expected. Berrytrade’s sales are increasing constantly, which can be attributed to our efforts to keep prices reasonable and to the introduction of new labels of our own design, which give each package a special summer look.”

Where most blueberry traders stop when the export season ends, Berrytrade imports berries for the local market during the off-season, says Stefaniak-Syguła. “We are an active supplier to a number of Polish supermarket chains during the so-called overseas season, which in the case of Poland is between October and June. But in the summer months between June and September, we switch almost exclusively as exporters. of blueberries to countries such as Germany, Austria, the Netherlands , Denmark, Switzerland, the Czech Republic and Slovakia. The biggest change for us in 2022 was probably the start of exporting whole truckloads of blueberries with Serbian and then Romanian fruit. In this way, Berrytrade extended its export season and became an important partner for major players in Western Europe, because we can deliver full truckloads of uniformly good quality blueberries for up to four months a year.”

Although the Polish supermarket does not offer good prices, the quantities they have to buy for the Polish consumers are huge and as such the local market remains an important business for Berrytrade, says Stefaniak-Syguła. “Despite global price increases in transport costs, electricity, labor costs, fertiliser, packaging and everything else, blueberry prices actually seem to be under a lot of pressure. This is because every supermarket chain is competing at a tough level. It’s not the best situation for blueberry growers and traders. Although the Polish market pays lower prices than the markets in Western or Northern Europe, the purchasing power of almost 40 million inhabitants cannot be ignored by large growers from different parts of the world. In the meantime, we are working to enter other markets, which are close to Poland, such as the Baltic States, as our location is perfect for efficient deliveries to these countries. Our facility is right on the route from Western Europe to the Baltic States, but we are two days’ journey closer.”

EU funding allows Berrytrade to upgrade its sorting line, but Stefaniak-Syguła believes it is better to carry out these upgrades in small steps at a time given the global economic situation. “Despite the mentioned uncertainties, we are constantly making all kinds of investments. We try to be quite careful to ensure that we can finance these investments, but on the other hand, we have to be up to date with innovations to remain competitive. I year we started to purchase some new vehicles for our fleet, which as always are decorated with Berrytrade graphic design to increase the awareness of our brand among customers.In addition, we have applied for EU funding to purchase a new fill-by-weighing machine for our blueberry packaging line Before the economic crisis we considered applying the entire line, but in the current situation it is wiser to make such replacements step by step.”

“We also invest in our staff. Our employees, who are predominantly Ukrainian, receive regular training in Polish and English. We also train colleagues to become truck drivers. Keeping the same group of motivated and skilled people on staff all year round is essential for our success. With every month and every kilo of berries sorted and packed at our factory, our overall competence in the berry industry grows, which is our huge competitive advantage compared to companies that are active only a few months a year,” concludes Stefaniak-Syguła. .

For more information:
Sandra Stefaniak-Sygula
+48 692 640 720

Leave a Comment