Supplies of raspberries are very tight right now.
“We’ve been prorating for 2.5 weeks now,” says Robert Wilhelm of Bova Fresh based in Boca Raton, FL. “There was some very cold weather in Mexico a couple of weeks back and that’s put everyone behind. I think they’re still trying to catch up.” He adds while the slowdown is largely weather-related, COVID-19 issues also seem to be affecting growers in Mexico, including on the labor front.
It's a different pattern on raspberry supplies than Mexico started the year with. “We’ve been having really good quality out of Mexico. The numbers have been pretty good until about the first week in January and then they started falling off a little bit. Now they’ve fallen off quite a bit,” Wilhelm says, adding he thinks the short market should extend another two to three weeks until production begins improving.
Demand looks strong
Of course, demand is now very high for raspberries. “Everyone’s looking for raspberries. Everyone likes to have some red on their shelves and strawberries have been super short as well, so it’s been making raspberry orders higher I think,” says Wilhelm. “And now raspberry orders are short and it’s making strawberry orders higher. We’re just waiting for everything to start working again.”
High demand and short supplies have moved the price up accordingly on berries to between $28-$34 on conventional and $30-$36 on organic raspberries. “Just a few weeks ago, they were half that price. Pricing usually gets a bit higher at this time of year, but it really jumped up with the freeze in Mexico,” says Wilhelm.
Looking ahead, while production will improve, Wilhelm doesn’t believe it’ll be enough to outpace demand. “And I don’t know if the price will come off much at least for another three weeks,” he adds.