Market Update For Berries

Week of August 8 – August 14

It has been a tough 10 days for strawberries. Santa Maria and Watsonville have experienced daily declines in their strawberry production. We continue to wait for summer plantings to come online and fill an almost empty pipeline. Retail demand has stayed strong, pushing the spot market up to as high as $18.00, with some suppliers. We can expect the week to open in a demand exceed situation and growers will be playing catch up from weekend prorates and cancelations. The spot market will open ranging between $16.00 and $18.00 and will likely hold at these levels through the balance of the week. With lower volumes still the norm in August and September, retailers may look to temper promotional activity and look for other commodities to promote. Once the new crop production finally kicks in, we should see the spot market settle back to $14.00 to $16.00, with most programs set at $14.00 for the last two weeks in August.

Blueberries

The blueberry industry has done a complete 180 over the past 7 days, as an empty pipeline left from a short crop in Georgia and New Jersey is now filling up with promotable volumes of British Columbian fruit. The spot market has fallen dramatically over the past 7 days, with the mostly market now ranging from $16.00 to $18.00 FOB British Columbia for 12/1 Pints. Just two weeks ago, fruit was being sold for over $28.00 per flat. With California table grapes talking over retail promotional circulars, marketers will be pushing hard for spot market business.  Early Peruvian production is currently being sent to Europe and Asia. Peru is still expecting to have increased production this year. The U.S. should start to see volumes from Peru by the first full week in September. Chilean growers are optimistic that an express charter will help them get their fruit to market. All of this sets up well for strong blueberry promotions from September through December.