Analysis Onions

It turns out differently than expected with onions

May 17, 2024 - By our team of market reporters

In the onion trade, growers and sorters are used to strange, unexpected events. A month ago, a part of the sector was convinced that things would not improve in the remaining part of the season. That mood has now turned 180 degrees. Now it may be getting a bit too crazy the other way.

It is not the case that the onion season 2023/24 is ending quietly just yet. Admittedly, we are currently in one of the last buying rounds of this season, maybe even the last one. The return of demand for (good) onions was reflected in the prices at regional markets. Growers are feeling more optimistic again, asking for €20 for immediate delivery and the same price is circulating for later in the month.

It is not really a surprise that the grower prices would rise towards the end of the season. It is just happening faster and with bigger steps than expected. "Last week, you could buy good onions for this season for €15 and for €17, maybe €18 an excellent box. Now growers are asking €20 for everything in the better segment," said a sorter. Packers are following what growers ask for. With several days off in these weeks (Ascension Day, the Friday after, and upcoming Pentecost on Monday), it feels quite busy. It seems better to participate now than to risk missing out next week.

As a grower, it is something to keep a close eye on. Imported onions are increasingly entering the market. Early June is the time for many sorters to do maintenance and they usually do not operate. Everything is possible, but the window to sell the 2023 harvest onions is getting narrower and narrower.

With higher purchase prices, the bag price should also increase. That is not really happening yet. Demand seemed to be getting stronger, but if you ask for more, buyers can quickly back off. Some sorters opt for the cheaper onions still available from growers to make a top-end product. However, achieving that is not easy for everyone, as it requires having the right customers in the portfolio and a suitable price.

The DCA Listing Bag Price Onions is trying to make a cautious upward move. The triplets and mediums show a slight increase. The coarse and super remain stable.

Read the explanation of the new listings by DCA Market Intelligence here.

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