Market Update For Table Grapes
Week of May 23 – May 29
California fruit growers are facing an uncertain summer season. The rising cost of production, consumer budgets and the use of discretionary income will play a major role in profitability. Signs of pushback have started to show, as high cherry retails have shoppers looking for cheaper fruit options. The table grape industry should take advantage and capture that impulse buy over the next two months with aggressive FOB’s. Table grapes will be in strong supply. Chilean volumes are still entering the U.S. market and Mexico is getting ready to push out a 25 million box crop. Retailers will be able to take advantage of the big volume expected and promote with confidence all the way through July.
Mexican growers have been packing early fruit for almost three weeks now and significantly more volume is expected to start crossing as we head towards Memorial Day. The issue is that there is still a fair amount of Chilean and Brazilian product in the market. Importers with South American fruit are aggressively trying to move through remaining volumes. With retailers ready to switch to fresher supplies, it is unlikely that they will be able to clean up before the full transition to Mexican fruit is underway. Currently, imported greens are trading between $22-$28. Mexican FOB’s are ranging from $20-$22 for x-large Perlettes and $24-$28 x-large Early Sweets. Look for the spot market to start dropping this week and not stop until we see the general market for x-large fruit at $18.95 in the first full week in June.
Imported red seedless pricing has not changed much over the past two weeks. That is set to change this week with the Mexican crop. We have never had to deal with Chilean volumes this late into May and surprisingly the general quality has held up. That does not bode well for Mexican growers but hopefully, aggressive promotions will help keep fruit flowing. Currently, Chilean Crimsons are selling between $14-$16 for medium/large, $16-$18 for large and $18-$20 for x-large. Early Mexican Flames are being quoted at $24.95 to $26.95, but those prices are unlikely to hold through the balance for the week. Look for Flame pricing to adjust to $18.95 by the first full week in June. Mexican Sweet Celebrations could be as low as $22.95 by that time as well.
Volumes of Chilean black seedless are still available on the east coast, although overall quality and condition is starting to wane. Mexico should start crossing decent volumes shortly, although retail demand is expected to stay lackluster. Currently, the spot market ranges from $16-$20 on Chilean fruit with size and condition being the determining factors.