“I’ve never seen this before—not during Hurricane Harvey or anything like this. I’ve never seen two different markets,” says Maurizio Ghelfi of Carson, Ca.-based Trucconova, LLC.
Ghelfi is referring to a market that seems to have evolved out of events happening over the holiday season—namely the deep freeze much of North America experienced in late December. “And because of that situation on the East Coast, fruit was diverted here so we have two different markets right now,” he says. “We have a lot of fruit that’s very cheap and we have a market with good fruit at the standard price.” This particular issue peaked the week after New Year’s and hasn’t really let up since, he says.
Production itself isn’t an issue though. Despite its own cold snap which has affected some of the coloring on the pineapples, supply of pineapples are steady coming in from Costa Rica. Demand is also as expected.
“But there’s this big issue with quality,” Ghelfi says. “There are two different markets: the west coast and the east coast. One market is going at $9-$11 for all sizes of pineapples. The other is $6-$8 for the same size. We’re getting cut out of the market because we can’t beat these prices so we need to cut out our shipments. The low prices are the ones driving the real market, pulling down the value of the good fruit.” He points to the fact that while he used to do four to five containers a week, these days it’s one container to stay in the business.
At the same time, he’s also turning more to processors with fruit. “But they’re not trusting all the fruit they’re getting,” he says. “There are brands they trust because they know the fruit has a longer shelf life. Not just two days.”
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