Market Update For Table Grapes
Week of May 13 – May 19
The US table grape market is transitioning as the industry waits for supplies from Mexico to come online, while continuing to work through the remainder of Chilean imports. With news of a delayed start to the Mexican Flame Seedless crop and weak markets in Asia, Chilean growers diverted significant volumes of Crimsons and other proprietary red seedless to US. Retailers were expecting to start loading in Nogales by this time, but unseasonably cool weather has delayed harvest schedules with only fair volumes of green seedless crossing over the border. The delayed start has kept Chilean red seedless pricing relatively stable, considering the additional volumes and has given importers an extended window to move these late supplies. With a heavy crop currently hanging in Hermosillo and Caborca, expectations are for excellent opportunities to promote throughout the summer. The industry will have to wait until after the Memorial Day holiday for any meaningful volumes to begin crossing the border, especially on red and black seedless.
A combination of factors has led to a better than average Chilean red seedless market this late in the import season. Typically, during this time of year, retailers would be transitioning out of Chilean Crimson Seedless to fresh-packed Mexican Flames. While there is a heavy set of Flames currently hanging, the crop has not been able to color-up due to the lack of hot daytime temperatures. The industry isn’t expected to see any meaningful volume cross into the US until the end of the month. This delay has forced major retailers like Walmart to adjust their strategies and revert back to buying imports for another 7-10 days. While Crimsons are still dominating weekly shipping reports, there are good supplies of Allison, Timco and some Jack Salute still available in the market. Pricing on good quality Chilean red seedless currently ranges from $17-$18 on medium large, $18-$20 on large and $22-$24 on x-large. Overall pricing on Chilean red seedless is expected to adjust slightly higher as stronger demand is expected for another 2 weeks. One major concern for importers will be if their remaining fruit will condition out before they are able to obtain those higher prices for Memorial Day.
There has been a lull in activity on green seedless over the past two weeks and expectations are to see that trend continue for another 7-10 days. Overall volumes of Chilean green seedless are finished for the year as importers have worked through remaining supplies of long-term storage fruit. There are limited volumes of Mexican green seedless crossing into Nogales as many growers continue to wait for proper sugar levels to develop before harvesting. Retailers have been reluctant to pay the high price of early Mexican fruit with FOB’s ranging from $44-46 FOB. Expectations are to see crossings increase week by week, but promotional opportunities will not be available until the end of the month. Look for this market to continue hobbling along until sugar levels and crossings begin to pick up pace.
Imported Chilean black seedless are effectively finished for the year and any remaining fruit still available in the market will most likely not meet retail specification. We expected to see supplies begin trickling across the border from Mexico this week, although opening pricing will be high. There will be excellent opportunity to promote Mexican black seedless in the month of June, but availability will remain limited through the balance of the month.
A steady supply of Chilean Red Globes continues to enter the market. Overall demand and movement have been lackluster at best. Pricing on the east coast has been depressed with FOB’s ranging from $14-$18 with size and condition being the determining factors. Expectations are to see pricing remain at current levels through the balance of the month. If we can see a slight tick higher on red seedless pricing over the next two weeks, the Red Globe market may follow as well but for now overall interest is still limited.