“The strawberry brings back its raspberry”

    At the Cristal market, in downtown Toulouse, on May 20, 2022.

    IStrawberry growers sigh with relief. Despite the inflation on the shelves, no one shuns the seasonal fruit. And yet, at the beginning of March, before the first deliveries, everyone felt the tensions. What if the French, constrained in their budget, were reluctant to open their wallets to afford fresh fruit? For the time being, the strawberry has not been sacrificed on the altar of austerity, and the gariguette is pushing itself from the collar into the trays.

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    Strawberry growers have another cause for satisfaction. So far, the weather drama has been favorable to crops. Good sunshine, but no heat wave synonymous with rapid ripening, market congestion and the inevitable crushing of marmalade prices. However, a black point has entered this picture with pink tones.

    At the start of the campaign, the producers waved the red flag. They asked the large distribution to come to their senses and not to sweeten themselves too much on French strawberries. “In March, the 250 gram tray was bought for 2.60 euros from the producer and was found at 7 euros or 8 euros in stores. Even if it concerned small volumes, we feared that it would be a brake on consumption », explains Xavier Mas, producer in Lot-et-Garonne and president of the Association of National Producer Organizations (AOPN) Strawberries. If the pressure has had its effect, he regrets however that the current price paid to the producer, almost identical to that which was paid in 2022, does not take into account the inflation of production costs, in particular wages.

    Steamroller

    Even when the weather is favourable, supermarkets bring rain and shine. Thus, the Périgord strawberry, subjected to its steamroller, comes out uncurled. The only one to benefit from a protected geographical indication (PGI), proof given to the consumer that it is well rooted in the Périgord soil and not produced above ground like many of its congeners, it often cannot wear its distinctive label. .

    “Of the 3,000 tonnes of Périgord strawberries eligible for the PGI, only a third display it. Retailers prefer to sell them under their own brand, such as “Our regions have talent” or “Carrefour quality line”. All the efforts we have made, the distributors take ownership of them”, notes Roland Cabrillac, spokesperson for Périgord strawberries.

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    Satisfied with the juicy business of French strawberries, even if gariguette, ciflorette or mara des bois represent only half of the volumes consumed in France, distributors would now like to extend the tricolor offer to raspberry. A summer sweetness also imported, mainly from Spain and Morocco.

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