A bountiful summer of California strawberries is ahead for California Giant Berry Farms, as the company forecasts giant volumes their cornerstone product. Despite the later-than-average start for some of its growing regions, the company is on track to deliver peak promotable volumes of California strawberries.
“2023 was a challenging year for some of our growing regions,” said Andy Rice, vice president of field operations and product supply. “Ultimately, weather impacted crops early on—from above average amounts of rain, flooding or uncharacteristically cold weather. Like most California production, our production curve was shifted and peak promotable volumes are arriving, albeit later than average.”
Left: Andy Rice.
Out of the Santa Maria region, the grower-shipper reports sizeable, high-quality fruit. The region is amid its peak volume window, which is forecasted to maintain through mid-June. The Watsonville and Salinas growing region—despite initial weather challenges—are seeing a week-over-week increase in volumes, with estimates projecting substantial harvested volumes beginning mid-June and spanning to early August. Due to the area’s late start, the company is forecasting that fruit will be available late into summer. The region's ranches are reporting excellent quality and flavor, alongside sizable fruit.
California Giant’s peak promotable volumes come at a time when consumers are enjoying berries more than ever. Recent USDA data reports that gains in retail per capita consumption for berries have been very strong compared with many other fresh fruits. Strawberry consumption specifically has grown from 4.6 pounds in 2011 to 6.7 pounds in 2021, an overall gain of 45 percent.
To support the expected influx of strawberries, the grower-shipper employs Instacart advertising and Ibotta consumer promotions to drive purchase intent for fresh berries. In correlation, the brand will launch consumer engagement sweepstakes to further drive brand awareness and demand.