Market Update For Table Grapes
Week of July 15 – July 21
Typically, by the 15th of July, retailers have already made the full transition to the Central San Joaquin Valley. With a record crop and a delayed start in Mexico, we could see weak Mexican fruit on the shelves for another 10 days. We’ve seen a steady decline in condition, especially on red seedless and the majority of remaining lots are not able to meet retail specification. Some US retailers are continuing to push the envelope and hang-in with Mexican fruit due to price, but will make the transition sooner than later as rejections mount. Growers and shippers in California have already started packing red, green and black seedless and overall quality and condition has been outstanding. Although a bumper crop is expected from California this season, overall total acreage of seedless vineyards currently planted is lower in comparison to last year. Initial reports indicate a crop of 110-120 million boxes with excellent opportunities to promote through the balance of the summer and into the fall.
US Retailers still sourcing Mexican Flame Seedless are walking a precarious line as overall quality and condition has severely declined over the past few weeks. Even if fruit ends up making it past QC inspections on arrival, overall shelf-life will be extremely limited and will show poorly in produce displays. Some proprietary varieties like Sweet Celebration are faring better than Flame Seedless, although with fresh-packed California supplies readily available, it’s hard to justify continuing-on with inferior fruit from Mexico. Pricing on Mexican Flame Seedless ranges anywhere from consignment – $10.95 FOB with condition being the determining factor. Marketers in California are gearing up for the season with many packing good volumes of excellent quality Flame Seedless. Pricing in California currently ranges from $14.95-$15.95 on medium/large, $16.95-$17.95 on large and $18.95-$20.5 on x-large with the mostly market at $18.95. Look for the industry to make the full transition out of Mexico and into California red seedless by the end of this week.
Unlike Mexican red seedless, Sugraones from south of the border are still a viable option for retailers as overall quality and condition has been hanging in. According to the most recent USDA Shipping Report, more than 500k boxes of green seedless crossed into Nogales last week. Expectations are to see overall volumes begin to wind down for the season, but we could see continued volumes shipping from Nogales for another 7 days. Pricing on good quality Mexican Sugraone currently ranges from $10.95-$12.95 depending on size and condition. Growers and shippers in the Central San Joaquin Valley have already begun harvesting preliminary volumes of Sugraones, but with temperatures expected to exceed 105 degrees through the balance of the week, we won’t see any meaningful volumes in the short-term. Pricing currently ranges from $18.95-$19.95 on large and $20.95-$22.95 on x-large. Look for FOB’s to adjust lower as production comes fully online over the next few weeks. Retailers should take advantage of excellent opportunities to promote through the duration of the summer, as overall consumer support should be very strong.
There are still moderate volumes of Mexican Summer Royals left in cold storages throughout Nogales, although overall quality and condition on the majority of the fruit is suspect. After this week, marketers will have few outlets available and will need to liquidate remaining supplies in the terminal markets. California harvest schedules for Summer Royals are already underway with pricing ranging from $18.95-$20.95 for premium quality fruit. Look for promotable volumes of California black seedless by the first of August.
Only a few straggling lots of Mexican organic seedless grapes remain with the majority of fruit not able to meet retail specifications. Retailers are poised to make a smooth transition to California supplies as growers are packing good volumes of red and green organic seedless this week. Pricing currently ranges from $22.95-$24.95 for both colors and expectations are to see excellent opportunities to promote towards the end of the month.