Off-shore lime pressure pushing prices high in U.S.

With off-shore pressures and until now, higher pricing on limes, demand for the citrus has been slightly slow. Though that’s likely to turn now that volume is building on the commodity.

“Supply is going to increase weekly until we get to the full-blown peak season of limes which hovers around June through August in volume,” says Steve Leal with S&J Distributing Inc. in Edinburg, Tex. Supply is coming from all parts of Mexico—from Veracruz to Michoacán—and volume is steady. “And the quality is strong as far as color and shelf-life is fairly good,” says Leal. “You still have your occasional stylar ends and that will be year-round but you’ll get to a point where the fruit quality and shelf life diminish because of the heat. We usually get there by the end of May, beginning of June when we start seeing the fruit starting to take effect on the quality.”



The role of off-shore
At the same time, right now, off-shore product from Guatemala, Colombia and Peru are also coming in on the East Coast. And that’s largely due to price, notes Leal. “Off-shore is really a presence anytime the price point is above $20,” he says.

That may be because demand for limes, which have overall seen an increase in popularity as a commodity, is quieter for now because of price points. 110, 150 count limes are going for an average of $46; 175, 200s are an average of $38-$40; 230, 250 is going to average $25-$26. Last year at this time, 110, 150 counts went for $20; 175, 200s were $18 and 230, 250 were $12. “So demand is slower because you’re paying double this year compared to last year,” says Leal, noting that two years ago at this time, pricing ran in the $40s across the board on sizing.

Looking ahead

“This pricing is very very high. Off-shore is affecting the Mexican lime without a doubt,” he says. “But in the coming weeks, you’ll see an increased supply and sufficient demand. I think it will be more supply than demand which is common. But we’ll also see a gradual decrease in price points all the way until the end of May.”

For more information:
Steven Leal
S&J Distributing Inc.
Tel: +1 (956) 383 5325
steve@snjdistributing.com
www.snjdistributing.com


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