Sign up for our daily Newsletter and stay up to date with all the latest news!

Subscribe I am already a subscriber

You are using software which is blocking our advertisements (adblocker).

As we provide the news for free, we are relying on revenues from our banners. So please disable your adblocker and reload the page to continue using this site.

Click here for a guide on disabling your adblocker.

Sign up for our daily Newsletter and stay up to date with all the latest news!

Subscribe I am already a subscriber

Grape pricing to stay firm until more imported fruit arrives

Grape supply in North America has largely transitioned over to imports.

California: The state is finishing shipping grapes ahead of schedule following the impact that Tropical Storm Hilary in August had on the crop. Nearing the end of December, it was shipping slightly less than one million packages a week--about half of what it is typically doing at that point in December.

Peru: “We’re getting moderate arrivals of Peruvian fruit in the United States with the majority of it going to the East Coast and slowly starting to transition to the West Coast,” says Mike Asdoorian DLJ Produce, adding that its Razzle Dazzle retail grape program along with conventional fruit has transitioned. “We’re getting pretty good momentum. We came into a quick, but not unexpected finish, on the California crop,” he says. “We tried timing it right to make sure that we didn’t overextend and have quality issues at the end of California so we did a pretty quick transition into imports in early December.”

With El Nino and growers wanting to be ahead of it, Peru saw a slightly earlier start to its season. Piura in the northern region started very early and that’s where the majority of the fruit is coming from. “We’re just starting to see the first arrivals of fruit from Ica and that’s a little early too. We’re also expecting to see improved quality because Piura faced some of the same growing condition issues California did with rains,” says Asdoorian.

Piura has been off in total volume by about 30 percent. Ica production is expected to bring an increase in harvest volume and improved fruit quality.

Peru will go through most of February but will also likely see an early finish to its season.

Chile: “We’re going to be waiting a little bit for the first Chilean vessels to come in on both coasts,” says Asdoorian, noting the first Chilean break bulk vessel isn’t due until December 28 on the East Coast and January 11th on the West Coast.

While Chile’s production is also slightly earlier, the vessel schedule on break bulks has not sped up which makes those arrivals in line, if not slightly later, than a normal season. “That putting an additional supply strain on the industry,” says Asdoorian, noting that Chile should be in full production by mid-February.

Brazil: Brazil did come in with some early fruit before Peru got underway. “With California having an early finish and being high priced on FOBs, Brazil saw an opportunity to send fruit to the U.S. It was about a month that they were able to send predominantly green seedless fruit,” Asdoorian notes.

As for demand, it’s good and fruit is moving very quickly. “Our Razzle Dazzle fruit is coming on in both coasts and going out the door as soon as containers arrive,” says Asdoorian. “I think general grape demand is only going to pick up, especially on conventional bags. Our program retailers have already transitioned to imports but there are going to be outlier retailers finishing with California and moving into imports over the next 10 to 14 days. I think there will be a pretty sizeable bump in retail demand going into the New Year.”

Meanwhile, pricing is slightly higher than historical averages, mainly because of the early California end of its season. “California is pretty firm on their FOBS through the entire crop and winding down historically early have so that’s putting a bit of extra pressure for Peruvian growers to want to see higher FOBs,” says Asdoorian. That means FOBs are holding well and possibly even strengthening, depending on if the Chilean fruit comes in in a timely window. “There’s a possibility if demand picks up a little bit, it may even strengthen a bit more but I think that will be fleeting. It may last for a week or two and then once we start seeing more Chilean fruit, that will take some pressure off and allow FOBs to come back down.”

For more information:
Mike Asdoorian
DLJ Produce
Tel: +1 (559) 248-1855
[email protected]