Market Update For Table Grapes
Week of September 21 – September 27
Overall table grape movement has only been fair since the Labor Day holiday, even as spot market FOB’s remain at very aggressive levels. Although we’ve seen good promotional activity in weekly circulars, national retail pricing is averaging $2.49/lb. on red and green seedless. Cold storages throughout the Central San Joaquin Valley are filled as marketers continue to offer pricing that is below the cost of production on most varieties. Although we’ve seen some heat related condition issues, overall quality and condition on the majority of this year’s crop has been very good. A combination of high retail pricing and aging fruit on the shelves is impacting overall consumer support. With less fruit expected to be set aside for long-term storage this season, the industry still has to move substantial volumes in the short term and then deal with limited availability at the tail end of the season.
Growers and shippers are working through peak volumes of California red seedless with excellent supplies of Sweet Celebration, Allison and Scarlet Royal. Overall red seedless movement has been decent, but inventories are starting to build with over 2.5 million boxes of Scarlet Royal now in cold storages. Marketers are offering very aggressive pricing in order to drum-up business, but retails ranging from 1.99 to as high as 2.99 per pound continues to hamper movement. Pricing on good quality red seedless currently ranges from $14.95 on medium/large, $15.95-$16.95 on large and $16.95-$18.95 on x-large. Some growers with proprietary varieties like Sweet Celebration are trying to get higher spot market pricing, holding the floor at $18.95. Look for FOB pricing to remain at these levels with excellent opportunities to promote red seedless through the month of October.
The first California table grape storage report indicates that there are 500,000 more boxes of green seedless in coolers compared to this time last year. With some growers still trying to move through aging inventories of Ivories and Great Green, it’s likely that this fruit will have to be moved to Mexico or regional terminal markets. As we head towards the end of September, we will begin to see a true split market between questionable quality mid-season varieties and premium fruit. We’ve seen harvest schedules on Autumn Kings earlier than normal for some growers with decent volumes already being packed. Pricing on good quality mid-season green seedless currently ranges from $14.95-$15.95 on medium/large, $15.95-$16.95 on large and $16.95-$18.95 on x-large. Premium varieties like Autumn Kings, Stella Bella, Pristine and Sweet Globes are being quoted from $18.95-22.95 with the mostly market at $20.95. Growers are now selecting their strongest lots for long-term storage and we could see the spot market tick higher on California green seedless by the middle of October.
Growers and shippers have moved through the bulk of California Summer Royal and will begin to transition to Autumn Royal and other black seedless varieties. Overall production is lower than last year as many growers have pulled black seedless and replaced that acreage with new proprietary varieties. Pricing on conventional black seedless currently ranges from $16.95-$18.95 on large and $19.95-$20.95 on x-large. Marketers with proprietary varieties such as Midnights and Sweet Sapphire are looking for a premium ranging from $20.95-$22.95 with the mostly market at $22.95. We can expect to see FOB’s continuing to stay firm on black seedless through the balance of the season.