Market Update For Berries
Week of July 26 – July 31
Last week, California strawberry production surprisingly hung-in with pack-outs ranging from 950k-1.1 million flats per day. The industry has been anticipating a drop-off in production and a firming of spot market pricing for the last two weeks, but have cruised along at current levels. While we do expect things to change, near ideal weather conditions in the north and the south have kept production steady. With labor still a real challenge, many growers are opting to take advantage of strong freezer pricing. We are likely to see even more growers, especially in Santa Maria, forego packing fresh to avoid rejections and save on labor costs. As we head into August, we’ll see less promotional activity on strawberries with retail prices likely to head back to $2.99 and higher. With Watsonville’s production on a downward trend, it’s only a matter of time before availability begins to tighten and FOB’s tick higher. Look for the spot market to open this week ranging from $12-$14. We will need to see pack-outs drop consistently below 900K flats per day before we see the spot market react.