Market Update For Table Grapes
Week of November 18 – November 24
As we near December, the industry seems ready to make an earlier than normal transition from California table grapes to imported supplies. With declining quality on domestic product and favorable market conditions, Peruvian growers and shippers are opting to send additional volumes to the US, bypassing opportunities in Europe and Asia. We’ve already seen imported green seedless from Brazil and Peru for the last 2 weeks, and expectations are to see preliminary volumes of Crimson Seedless on the east coast by the end of this week. Major US retailers, who would typically support domestic growers through the end of the year, will be more open to an early transition if rejections of California fruit begin to mount. Although the industry will see better December arrivals of imports compared to last season, expectations are that volumes will still fall somewhat short of the demand for the fresher option.
Although the industry still has substantial volumes of California red seedless left in cold storages, supplies are more manageable in comparison to last year. Overall demand remains moderate to good with retailers continuing promote in weekly circulars. The industry has moved through the bulk of the Scarlet Royal crop this season, although some shippers are still packing to order from tubs. Late-season varieties like Timco, Allison and Holiday are topping shipping reports and overall quality and condition has been fairly good. We could start to see indications of declining quality in California and marketers are prepared to start asking higher prices for their strongest lots. Pricing on good quality red seedless currently ranges $13.95-$14.95 on medium/large, $15.95-$16.95 on large and $16.95-$18.95 on x-large. With the knowledge that imported volumes are on the way, California marketers will continue to keep pushing through red seedless volumes with the hopes of being clean by the New Year.
Even with lower volumes of California green seedless currently in cold storage compared to this time last year, marketers have been careful not to raise FOB pricing too sharply. Overall quality and condition continue to wane, and the storability of this year’s green seedless crop is suspect. There is a wide range in pricing on Autumn Kings with FOB’s ranging from $18.95-$24.95 with the mostly market at $22.95. With fewer premium lots of domestic green seedless to chose from, the industry has already looked towards imported green seedless from both Peru and Brazil. Overall eating quality is only fair on these initial arrivals, but expectations are to see higher brix as the season progresses. With major retailers showing an interest in making the complete transition to imported green seedless by December 15th, California marketers will look to keep momentum moving on remaining inventories.
According to the most recent USDA Storage Report, the industry still has close to 1 million boxes of black seedless left to sell through. Overall quality and condition are fair to good, but we could see condition on Autumn Royal decline by middle of December. With early arrivals of Peruvian Sweet Sapphire on the eats coast, California growers should look to make a strong push on black seedless and clean up as soon as possible. Pricing currently ranges from $15.95-$16.95 on large and $16.95-$18.95 on x-large. Look for pricing to remain at these levels for the next few weeks and then tick higher after Thanksgiving.
Growers and shippers in the Central San Joaquin Valley have finished with organic green seedless for the season. Similarly, we’ve begun to see a decline in overall quality and condition of the remaining organic red seedless currently in the market. Expectations are for supplies to be available through the balance of the month with pricing ranging from $24.95-$26.95 with quality being the determining factor.