Market Update For Table Grapes
Week of July 6 – July 12
As we enter the first full week of July, the industry will begin the transition from Mexican to California table grapes. With only fair quality and mediocre consumer support, retailers are ready to make the switch to fresh-packed fruit from Arvin. Unlike previous seasons, we will not see a glut of late-season Mexican fruit flooding the markets. A combination of 15% less overall volume and aggressive promotional activity throughout the season have helped marketers stay in control of their inventories. The majority of California growers will begin harvesting this week, although daily pack outs on red and green seedless won’t be sufficient to support promotional activity for another two weeks. Retailers will look to make a quick switch on Flame seedless this week, but will most likely look to stretch out cheaper supplies of Mexican green for another 10 days. The overall good size and quality of this year’s Arvin crop will give consumers a better eating experience and help to get California off to a good start. This year’s California table grape crop has been estimated at just over 105 million total cartons.
There still seems to be volumes of Mexican flame seedless available, although overall sizing, quality and condition continues to be hit or miss. Marketers are offering aggressive pricing to keep fruit moving and cleanup before Arvin growers take over the market completely. Pricing on good quality Mexican Flames currently ranges from $9.95-$11.95 on medium/large, $11.95-$12.95 on large and $13.95-$14.95 on x-large. The transition from Mexico to California should be pretty smooth as Arvin growers report an excellent Flame crop currently hanging. Look for marketers to open the week with FOB’s ranging from $20.95-$22.95, but it would not be surprising to see the market adjust to $18.95 by the weekend. There is a fair amount of average quality fruit from Mexico left on retail shelves and it will likely take weeks to push that fruit through the system, negatively affecting overall demand.
The floor on premium quality Mexican green seedless has firmed in recent weeks as overall crossings continue to be lighter in comparison to previous years. Overall quality and condition have been good, and we’ve continued to see promotional activity in weekly circulars. Supplies have been steady and the spot market is ranging from $13.95-$15.95 on large and $15.95-$17.95 on x-large with the mostly market at $16.95. Some growers in Caborca have been crossing a few first leaf Sweat Globes with pricing between $18.95-$20.95. With significantly reduced Sugraone plantings in Arvin, expectations are for strong FOB pricing on California green seedless through the month of July. California growers with limited volume this week will open the market at $26.95, but as long as Mexico can keep crossing good fruit, retailers will look to stay with the better value. There will be ample opportunities to promote California green seedless once growers get into better volumes of Ivories and other proprietary varieties towards the end of the month.
Mexican black seedless supplies are winding down for the year with only limited volume available. The majority of Summer Royals have finished for the season, leaving only a few unknown black seedless and Midnight Beauty’s available. Pricing on unknowns range from $16.95-$18.95 with midnights trading $2 higher. There is a fairly sizable Summer Royal crop hanging in Arvin so we may see some promotable FOB’s by the 15th of July. For now, look for FOB’s on California Summer Royal to open between $20.95-$22.95 and quickly dropping to $16.95 by middle of the month. The export markets are still a bit of a moving target as demand in Asia is off a bit, leaving more fruit to be sold in the US.