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Raspberry price cycles and forecasts for 2023

On March 16, 2023, the EastFruit project held the first online conference on the current developments in the market of frozen fruits, berries, and vegetables. The video of the conference “Shock freezing of berries, fruits, and vegetables 2023."

One of the most urgent problems of the event was the forecasting of prices for raw materials for freezing and for finished products. In this regard, the most frequently raised issue was the price of frozen raspberries and the prospects for pricing fresh raspberries in 2023.

Andriy Yarmak, economist at the Investment Center of the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO), who has been analyzing global food markets and forecasting prices for more than 25 years, explained that the prices of almost all goods in the agricultural sector are characterized by a cyclicality.

“Pricing cycles depend on the features of the products. In the case of raspberries, the full price cycle usually takes about 4-5 years, unless it is affected by some unusual factors, such as severe weather disasters, wars, global recessions, etc. In 2016, prices for raspberries in Ukraine were formed at the level of 40-45 UAH/kg, because frozen raspberries were exported at prices close to $3.5 per kg and even more. After that, of course, there was a wave of investments in raspberry production, because, at such a price, the investment in a good-quality raspberry plantation could be recouped in the first year! Naturally, the increase in supply led to a decrease in prices for raw materials, but Ukraine also exported more finished products, collapsing global prices. Respectively, in 2018, the leftover frozen raspberries were sold from Ukraine for export in May, sometimes at prices close to the incredible 1 EUR/kg, although a year earlier entrepreneurs from the freezing business convinced me that “frozen raspberries will never cost less than 2 EUR/kg!”. As you see, never say never,” explains Andriy Yarmak.

“Of course, with such prices for frozen raspberries, raw material prices also collapsed. In the summer of 2018, some freezers bought raspberries even at 8 UAH/kg, although, high-quality raspberries could be sold more expensive, but not much – 12-15 UAH/kg. This is not the price that allowed us to talk about the return on investment in growing raspberries. Therefore, many got rid of raspberry plantations in Ukraine, Poland, Serbia, Montenegro, Bosnia and Herzegovina, and other countries of the world in 2018. At the same time, the global market “tasted” raspberries. Due to the incredibly low prices for frozen raspberries, which unexpectedly became one of the most affordable raw materials on the market of frozen fruits and berries, raspberries began to be massively introduced into the recipes of dairy and confectionery products, teas, breakfast cereals, snacks, bakery products, etc. This means that the demand for raspberries rose sharply just when everyone was massively getting rid of their plantations. I want to point out this – it is often missed by many when liquidating a business that is about to bring huge dividends,” says the FAO expert.

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