Market Update For Table Grapes
Week of February 18 – February 24
The industry continues to work through one of the most challenging import seasons in recent memory as overall supplies of seedless table grapes are down significantly from both Chile and Peru. Importers and retailers alike will finally receive some relief with better shipments of Chilean red, green and black seedless arriving now through the end of March. Warm weather throughout the growing regions of San Felipe has spurned on a flush of fruit, forcing growers to harvest ahead of schedule. Expectations are to see compressed volumes arriving to both the east and west coasts over the next 6 weeks, followed by a precipitous drop in overall shipments through the month of April. As overall volumes from Peru begin to wind down for the year, Chile will be left to carry the industry through the balance of the season. Chile has sent 4 million fewer cases to the US market in comparison to this time last year and it remains to be seen how the industry will finish out the balance of the import season.
Imported red seedless availability has been fairly limited throughout the season and overall volumes of Chilean and Peruvian supplies have been unable to keep the pipeline filled. This trend looks to change as better volumes of Chilean Super Flames, Crimson Seedless and other proprietary varieties are already on water. Importers have begun adjusting spot market pricing lower in anticipation of the volumes expected to enter the US market now through the end of March. Pricing on both Chilean and Peruvian conventional varieties like Flames and Crimson Seedless currently ranges from $22-$24 on medium/large, $24-$26 on large and $26-$28 on x-large. Proprietary varieties like Sweet Celebration, Jack’s Salute, Alison and Magenta range from $26 on large and $28-$30 on x-large. Look for overall FOB pricing to adjust lower over the next few weeks and then settle in with promotable opportunities on Chilean Crimsons seedless for March and April.
Consumer support for imported green seedless has been strong since the beginning of the season but overall supplies have not been able to meet daily demand. Quality, condition and eating experience have all been very good but retailers have been forced to sideline retail promotions as importers have struggled to fulfill pre-committed program business. Spot market pricing has hovered in the low to mid 30’s for weeks now, but expectations are to see FOB’s adjust lower as better volumes of Chilean Superiors, Thompsons and other proprietary varieties begin to arrive to the US market. Spot market pricing ranges from $24-$26 on medium/large, $26-$28 on large and $28-$32 on x-large. Agile retailers who are able to adjust ad schedules will be able to take advantage of excellent opportunities to promote Chilean green seedless in the month of March. With condensed volumes set to arrive over the next 4 weeks, we could see an early finish to green seedless shipments in April. Don’t be surprised to see pricing spike back into the mid 30’s and even hit the low 40’s by the time Mexico starts crossing early green seedless in late April.
As the industry begins to make the transition from Peruvian to Chilean black seedless, expectations are for significant volumes from San Felipe to arrive to the US market by the last week of February. Many importers are offering aggressive promotional pricing for the first two weeks of March with FOB’s ranging from $20-$22 on large and $22-$24 x-large and jumbo. Current spot market pricing on remaining volumes of Peruvian black seedless currently range from $24-$26 on large and $26-$28 on x-large.
Demand for Peruvian Red Globes has been very limited with only a handful of retailers interested in carrying a seeded grape during this time of the year. Quality, condition and size have all been excellent so far this season and promotable volumes will be available through the balance of the month. Pricing currently ranges from $16-$20 with size and color being the determining factors.