Market Update for Table Grapes

Week of June 17 – June 23

After more than 8 months of elevated table grape pricing, U.S. retailers have been gearing up to promote fruit from Mexico. The crop was originally estimated to be close to 24 million boxes, but it’s looking more like 20 million will be a stretch. Certain proprietary varieties are just not packing out. Extreme heat, with temperatures exceeding 115 degrees in Hermosillo have also impacted production. The biggest challenge for marketers is balancing historical pricing with the unknowns regarding the new varieties in the ground. Strong promotional activity, supported by aggressive programmed pricing should put pressure on the spot markets if the daily crossings don’t pick up.

Red Seedless

Steady volumes of Mexican flames have been crossing into Nogales, but there is a wide range of quality and condition. The spot market reflects this, with pricing for small fruit ranging from $12.95 to $14.95 and true extra-large ranging from $16.95 to $20.95, with the mostly market at $18.95. The imbalance between red and green seedless is also a problem for marketers who have coolers full of red seedless and limited green. The very hot temperatures will certainly slow things down, as varieties like Passion Fire and Sweet Celebration will struggle to color and hit proper sugar levels. For now, marketers will keep pushing to move through the Flames crop. Growers in Arvin, CA are looking to get going right after the 4th of July, so retailers will likely jump to better quality once readily available.

Green Seedless

Over the past three years, we have seen a steady decline in Mexican Sugraone production, as new varieties have taken their place. Volume though, of Sweet Globes, Timson and Honey Pop have not closed the gap fast enough and spot market pricing on green seedless has surprisingly stayed above $20.00 FOB. With promotable volumes from Arvin, CA not expected until the end of July, we could see this spot market hold higher than locked in retail programs. Currently, FOBs for the best quality fruit range from $18.95 to as high as $24.95, with the mostly market at $20.95.