Supplies of limes into the US market are improving after a period of lower production in the Mexican growing regions. Recent rains had hampered fruit development but for the past week or so, better conditions have resulted in improved volumes crossing the border. Additionally, more larger fruit is becoming available, helping to meet some increased demand for this category.
"There was a lot of rain the previous weekend and as a result, lime supplies last week were a little lower than usual," observed Jose Duran of La Minita Fresh. "We also had more smaller sized fruit but we are finally seeing some of the larger sizes coming through - the 110s and 150s. Currently, we are seeing good volume and demand, but demand is expected to increase for smaller sized fruit."
Prices easing after highs
With supplies struggling to meet demand over the past couple of weeks, the market became active and prices increased. However, they are easing back now that more volume of fruit is coming over the border again. Despite the improvement in supplies on larger fruit and the market adjusting lower, these are still attracting strong prices.
"Right now, prices are normalizing," Duran said. "We are still seeing prices in the $20s for larger fruit as we are waiting for more volume, but once that comes in more steadily, expect prices to ease to the low $10s. Smaller fruit is seeing prices of between $8 - $9 but this is expected to increase with the predicted higher demand."
Focus on quality
There are a number of regions in Mexico currently producing limes, including Veracruz, Oaxaca, Michoacán , and Jalisco. Veracruz is the main supplier however, and according to Duran, this region along with Oaxaca produces the most favorable limes. "The best quality limes come out of Veracruz and Oaxaca," he explained. "The limes from the other regions tend to have a shorter shelf life."
Duran added that La Minita Fresh increases the amount of limes it imports each year, with the company's main focus on the quality of fruit it provides. "La Minita Fresh continues to grow its year-round program with our two main grower partners in Veracruz. Every year, we import more limes to meet increasing consumption. However our goal is not to become the largest importer of limes, but rather we want to be known for providing top quality limes to the market."