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UK: Lime price halves within a monthLast month lime prices in the UK were £10 a box, this was exceptionally high and, according to Rob Cullum from Pacific Produce, could not last. A month on and how are the prices now?
As predicted the high prices were not sustainable and now sit at around £5-£6 a box. "In some cases you can get a panic to move low shelf-life fruit even down to £4," according to Rob.
There are a few reasons for the fall in price according to Rob: "The Brazilian supply has increased and there is more coming out of Mexico, these are the two main suppliers. But high prices attract everyone and anyone who has limes to sell and they all sent them to the UK and Europe because of the good prices. They were also being imported from smaller producing countries such as Columbia and Guatemala."
Rob goes on to say that people look at what is being sent from the main producers and if they are short then people assume there is a gap, but most fail to consider the other sources who are already sending limes to the markets which are short. There is a tendency to say that the total volume is down by 20 containers from Mexico and Brazil – but this shortfall can easily be made up at this time of year by Israel, Spain, Guatemala and Columbia.
"Another reason is that when prices go too high people stop consuming them, pubs and restaurants will use smaller slices or change all together to lemons. The weather is also a factor, it was hot back in July, but now it is very sporadic. So we went from hot weather and a reduced supply to sporadic weather, more supply and very cheap lemons, all of which has resulted in the drop in price."
Rob reckons that the price may drop still further before it starts to increase again, this would be an over-correction but this is often what happens with limes, the prices in the market are now lower than the prices that the fruit was sold for at source so there will be some painful discussions or losses.
"I do believe that after the correction we should see a more normal pricing level return again but that may happen just as the natural consumption slows down as we head into the Autumn period.
"There is always something that can take you by surprise with limes so I would not bet the house on future predictions – hurricane season is upon us for example..... so far no major damages to limes – Mexican banana growers however have had some damage."
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