Market Update For Strawberries

Week of July 6 – July 12

As many US retailers pulled 4th of July cherry ads, increased pressure landed on the strawberry category heading into the holiday. Last week, shippers were drastically oversold each day with many pushing, pro-rating and canceling orders. Daily production ranged from 1-1.1 million flats per day, which fell about half a million cases short of suppling industry demand. This week looks to bring similar challenges as we’re past peak summer production. Growers in Watsonville typically plan for lower volumes in July and August as retailers focus their promotional activity on cherries, table grapes and blueberries. This strategy could pose challenges as daily pack-outs in Watsonville may never get back to 1 million flats per day for the rest of the season. Look for a large disparity between promotional pricing and the spot market this week as growers will be playing catch-up from heavy cancelations and prorates from the weekend. The spot market should open between $16.-$18 FOB, while marketers will be hard-pressed covering ads previously set between $10-$12.00FOB. Until retailers slow promotional activity and raise store level pricing, we will continue to see a demand exceed supply situation for California strawberries.