Market Update For Berries

Week of September 13 – September 19

As expected, post-holiday demand dropped-off after weeks of strong promotional activity. Growers started off the week a bit short, but perfect growing conditions kept pack-outs at 1 million flats per day. By the end of the week, shippers were looking for business and making deals to keep coolers clean. Quality and condition from Watsonville has held longer than expected, but more inland fruit from Salinas has not fared as well. Fresh fall crop from Santa Maria have been topping the inspection reports with the best quality currently in the market.  We could see some deals on fruit carried over from the weekend.  Fresh packed fruit should open between $14-$16 FOB, and likely hold at these levels if business picks up even slightly. Most retail programs are locked in at higher prices, since we typically see pack-out ranges from 700-800K flats in mid-September. If the fresh numbers stay anywhere close to a million flats, we might see growers looking to cut weekend deals again.

Blueberries

Blueberry supplies have been very short over the past two weeks. Fruit from British Columbia conditioned out, and shipments from Peru have been delayed by more than two full weeks. We have started to see a few crossings of 6oz supplies from Mexico, but volumes are still very limited. This trend should only last for another 10 days as volumes of Peruvian blues are now on water and more fruit is being loaded every week. The only thing that could interrupt the flow of fruit from Peru is the availability of shipping containers, and the unpredictable schedules from the major shipping lines. Currently, 12/6oz from Mexico are trading from $24-$26 FOB McAllen, TX. As more volumes cross next week, we should see pricing adjust lower. Peruvian volumes arriving this week will range from $22-24 on 6oz and $32-$34 for Pints. We are likely to see these prices hold through the balance of the week, as there just won’t be enough fruit in the market to support demand. 6oz organics from Peru are ranging from $28-$30. Volumes from Mexico and Peru will be ample enough to support some promotional activity, but if most marketers hold onto high spot market FOBs too long, we might see a significant drop in pricing by mid-October.