As the year is coming to an end, so is the California grape season. The latest USDA storage report indicates that the volumes should be enough to supply the US market through Christmas, though retail sales haven’t been great. The transition to the imported product is now fully underway, and high volumes of imported grapes are expected to arrive in January.
Plenty of red seedless
There are approximately 5 million boxes of red seedless grapes left in California, according to the USDA storage report, sufficient to last through the end of the year. Ira Greenstein from Direct Source Marketing observes: “Overall movement has slowed significantly as marketers have steadily taken FOB’s higher, forcing retailers to raise in-store pricing. Fortunately, quality and condition look to be hanging-in with good supplies of Scarlotta, Allison and Scarlet Royal still able to meet retail spec. Pricing on good quality domestic fruit ranges from $16.95-$22.95 with the mostly market at $20.95 for x-large fruit.”
While the main transition to the imported grapes will come after Christmas, some retailers will want to transition earlier. Greenstein says: “If retailers begin to show a preference for imported fruit over the coming weeks, the overall pricing on Peruvian supplies, which are scheduled to arrive in early January, could tick higher.”
Slow movement and high prices on green seedless
The USDA storage report has indicated that there are a little over 2 million boxes of green seedless grapes left in the storage, but Greenstein points out that the majority of this is set for program business. He says: “Pricing has adjusted accordingly with marketers taking FOB’s higher week by week, which like red seedless, has slowed overall movement significantly. Pricing on imported Thompsons currently ranges from $28-$30 on medium/large, $32-$34 on large and $34-$36 on x-large. There are limited quantities of proprietary Sweet Globes with the mostly market ranging from $36-$38 and some quoting as high as $42.”
He adds: “Some major retailers are already making the transition to imported green, although overall supplies of Peruvian fruit aren’t able to meet daily demand. Expectations are to see pricing on imported greens seedless remain elevated until after Christmas when better volumes begin arriving to both the east and west coast.”
Slow market for black seedless
The black seedless grapes have just under 1 million boxes left in storage, and this should be enough to carry the industry through the year. “The overall movement on California black seedless continues at a slow and steady pace ricing on domestic Autumn Royals currently ranges from $16.95-$20.95 and expectations are to see these FOBS stay where they are. We have seen early volumes of Peruvian Sweet Sapphire with pricing ranges from $28-$32 but only fair demand so far,” Greenstein shares.