Market Minute: Weather-impaired berry crop starting to bounce back
The severe mix of heat, rain and Tropical Storm Kay were merciless to the California growing fields during the end of summer. The strawberry crop was especially impacted with flooding and wind damage.
The weather-delayed harvesting caused a supply shortage. This situation placed an interruption in ad promoting for retailers. The berry category is one of the top merchandising performers that generates huge sales and profit dollars in budget achievement for produce directors.
Strawberries: Still a demand-exceeds-supply level. Product has transitioned to the Santa Maria and Oxnard districts. Expect a lighter supply on good demand with a steady active market. But volume will start to increase as long as the weather cooperates. Some order prorating may still be necessary at this time; however, stay on top of daily reports with your shippers before planning any promotions.
Raspberries: Supply is increasing out of Baja Mexico. Prices are very reasonable. Plan promotions.
Blackberries: Mexico and Central California should have product throughout October. Plan to promote.
Blueberries: Looks like a good supply will come from Peru and Mexico. Demand out of Mexico is light right now on a steady market. Peru imports arriving in Southern California show a moderate demand and steady market. Import supply out of New York and Philadelphia are heavy with a moderate demand. Plan promotions.
Each supplier has their own procurement program with growers and shippers. Work very close with them in order to get back in the game on berry sales volume. Just make sure you close all deals by being assured of the product.
Ron Pelger is a produce industry adviser and industry writer. He can be contacted at 775-843-2394 or by e-mail at [email protected].