Market Update For Table Grapes
Week of February 24 – March 1
Presidents week vacations seemed to have had a significant effect on overall table grape movement but look for things to get back on track this week as many national retailers are promoting imported table grapes. Inventories have been building up in cold storages due to a combination of lackluster retail demand and heavy arrivals. The industry will continue to see peak shipments of Chilean supplies as well as sporadic Peruvian arrivals through the end of the month. There is definitely a two-tiered market between fruit that is able to meet retail specification and suspect quality lots that need to be moved quickly. Overall quality and condition seems to favor Peruvian fruit, however Peruvian volumes are now on the decline resulting in a premium for the best quality lots. Expectations are for another 2 weeks of steady numbers from Chile and then we will see volumes fall off drastically as we come to the USDA marketing order on April 10th.
There still seems to be volumes of Chilean Flame seedless in cold storages, but this fruit will need to be flushed through the system to terminal markets and other secondary receivers. Other red seedless varieties like Perlon and Allison are now more plentiful and we have actually started to see early arrivals of Chilean Crimsons as well. Typical Crimson volumes usually enter the US market in mid-March but we are close to 3 weeks ahead of schedule. Pricing on conventional red seedless varieties like Perlons and good quality Flames range from $16-$18 on medium/large, $18-$20 on large and $22-$24 on x-large with Allisons and Sweet Celebrations trading $1-$2 higher. There are still some proprietary Peruvian Jack Salute in the market fetching a premium ranging from $26-$28 with size being the determining factor. Look for overall red seedless pricing to stay at these levels over the next two weeks and begin to tick higher as we get to the middle of March.
The industry is transitioning out of Sugraone, Ivories and Sweet Globe to later-season varieties like Thompson, Timpson and a few Autumn Crisp expected to arrive in March. There is still a moderate amount of Peruvian greens seedless in the market, although overall supplies will begin to dwindle as we get to the end of the month. Overall quality, condition and pricing range widely with steady volumes of smaller fruit and suspect quality lots on-hand. Importers are heavily discounting their weakest fruit, while shoring up pricing for premium quality lots. Pricing on good quality green seedless currently ranges from $16-$18 on medium/large, $18-$20 on large and $22-$24 on x-large. Although there are significant volumes of green seedless in the market, retailers continue to spotlight red seedless in week circulars. Buyers can take advantage of current spot market opportunities, especially on large code fruit. Condensed arrivals from Chile are expected over the next two weeks and expectations are to see overall numbers contract and FOB pricing tick higher throughout the month of March.
The industry is expected to receive peak volumes of Chilean unknown black seedless over the next three weeks to both the east and west coasts. Sizing is expected to be very good with plenty of premium x-large fruit currently on water. Promotional opportunities will be available through the end of the month and well into March. Pricing on Chilean black seedless currently ranges from $20-$22 on large and $22-$24 on x-large with the mostly market at $24. Midnight black seedless FOB’s range $2-$4 higher. Look for the black seedless market to stay at these levels through the middle of March.