Demand is outstripping supplies of organic limes right now.
Stefan Misse, President of Discovery Organics based in Vancouver, Canada says that larger sizes of organic limes are very short in supply. “Smaller sizes--230s and 250s--are more abundant and as we progress over the next few weeks, the smaller sizes will produce downward pressure on larger sizes. This is pretty typical for this time of year,” he says.
Much of this has to do with last year’s growing conditions in Mexico, where organic limes are coming from currently. “Last year Veracruz had a pretty strong hurricane go through and it knocked off a lot of blossoms and damaged trees. That led to a very short supply overall so when those blossoms finally turned to full-size limes for harvest, there was a window where there just wasn’t that much fruit on the trees anymore and that played out in the winter spring harvests this year,” says Misse.
Rain issues too
Add to that overall increased rain in Mexico which, combined with high humidity, caused fungal and disease problems in the orchards.
Meanwhile demand has slowed down thanks to the high pricing organic limes are seeing. “FOBs on organics have been close to US$100/case which is somewhat unprecedented,” says Misse. “By the time that plays out in the Canadian market, a retailer could pay close to $1/lime in some instances which means they’ll retail for double that. That’s a lot of an ask for customers and they may just buy a lemon instead.”
However he does think pricing has hit its peak and anticipates it will drop off with increased supplies now that the hurricane production gap has passed. “There will be more demand as we go into summer--it’s a popular item for restaurants and drink mixes and things like that,” Misse says. “Supplies should ease up and there’ll be more options for sizing available. I’m sure many Mexican growers are looking to their orchards and hoping to get lime harvests started because of the good price right now.”