«If the weather conditions remain in our harvest’s favour, we are basically assuming a regular winter season». – This is the statement of Marcus De Luca, the KÖLLA specialist for Italian salads, after his visit to the production locations in southern Italy. «The cultivation of the Italian Babyleaf lettuces is currently running exactly as predicted.» During his site visits, he noted that due to the sharp increase in costs in many production areas, less produce will be available on the open market and the salads have been scheduled mainly for fixed programmes. Add to this the fact that a basic income law was passed this year, and De Luca anticipates a high labour shortage in Italian production.
At the same time, the shortage of resources has led to an increase in the cost of wood, diesel & oil and also packaging materials by up to 50% on average. This is also confirmed by the sale specialist Fernando Blasco from the KÖLLA location in Valencia and relates these problems to the entirety of the production countries. In addition to the concentration of sales to larger export companies, he also observes the ever-increasing expectation of security: according to this, the demand for annual contracts is increasing significantly, especially on the producer side.
In lettuce production, the switch of production from Central to Southern Europe is currently taking place. From week 45 onwards, the production of iceberg lettuce begins with a parallel increase in demand. With constantly good weather conditions, we expect a stable supply without delays or disruptions in the coming weeks. The varieties of lettuce Mini Romana and Little Gem, which are grown all year round in Spain, are in particular demand for export at this time. In this context, Fernando Blasco emphasises the particularly good quality of the produce and the possibilities to also pack red varieties and salad mixes.
For the lettuce programmes in Germany, on the other hand, demand has shifted in recent years from Little Gem to Mini Romana. Romaine lettuce is also gaining in popularity from year to year. In Spain, it has long been one of the most sought-after lettuce varieties.
For the Spanish domestic and industrial market, mainly variegated lettuces such as endive, lollo rosso and oak leaf lettuce (red/green) are cultivated. The production quantities are mostly in line with the pre-planned programmes.
At KÖLLA, we have been working very closely with our producers for years in the cultivation planning. In this way, we ensure that certain varieties are focused on for the upcoming production. In lettuce production, we are currently very well positioned in terms of cultivation with programmes already completed in the summer. This allows us to offer our customers lettuce variations of the best varieties.