Market Update For Berries

Week of July 15 – July 21

After weeks of limited supplies of California strawberries, many US retailers adjusted store level pricing higher and curbed promotional activity.  According to the most recent USDA Marketing Report, retail pricing averages $2.55 on a 1-pound clam shell and $4.50 on a 2-pound clamshell. Over the weekend, there seemed to have been a slight uptick in availability, although overall demand still seems strong enough to keep FOB pricing firm and cooler floors empty.  Pack-outs continue to range from 850k-1.1 million flats per day with Salinas and Watsonville accounting for close to 70% of total production.  The weather in Watsonville looks to be ideal this week with daytime temperatures in the low 70’s with clear skies in the forecast.  Santa Maria will be slightly warmer, but a cooling trend is expected towards the middle of the week.  Look for spot market FOB’s to open between $12-$14 and settle in at mostly $12 through the balance of the week.  The good news is that the industry may not have to deal with daily prorates and supply and demand seem to be back in line.