Market Update for Chilean Cherries

Week of November 22 – November 28

The US is expected to receive substantially more volume of Chilean Cherries this year, as logistics to Asia look to be very complicated. Chilean growers have relied on the express charters to the China market, but there is still some scheduling uncertainty and growers will look to hedge. With transit time to the US only 15 days, and availability of committed bulk vessels every week, the US becomes a far less risky destination. Importers will hopefully not set high expectations from past seasons, and learn from mistakes made this past summer by marketers in California and Washington. The average monthly family food budget has increased from $650.00 to $825.00 per month in the past year. Consumers will be making hard choices between staple items and luxury impulse buys. Expensive imported cherries will certainly be on the chopping block. We have also seen how labor shortages throughout the industry have impacted the way retailers chose to promote. Most warehouses just can’t handle pushing the extra volume through the system, so merchandisers are content to sell less for more and pad the margins. This is not a good formula for moving between 2-3 million boxes of 5 kilo cherries expected to reach the US this year.