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Supply exceeds demand on melons on the West Coast

The supply of melons on the West Coast looks to be steady. "There's ample supply of cantaloupes and honeydews at all the ports right now from all shippers," says Justin Bootz with Legend Produce LLC. "I'm not sensing a shortage at all. All the contracts are being covered and supply definitely exceeds demand."

On the West Coast, Legend Produce is importing melons from Honduras though the industry is importing from Guatemala, Costa Rica and the Dominican Republic.

As for demand, it's been strengthening recently. "I don't know if that has to do with the weather improving a little bit in Southern California--there's been very poor weather across the country but especially in California. Movement at the retail level has been slow," says Bootz.

What's impacting demand?
Following late 2023's cantaloupe recall of cantaloupes from Mexico, it's tricky to determine if that's affected melon demand overall throughout the industry. "For some consumers, it may have had an impact. However, it's tough to find out factually how much of an impact that really had. As time goes on, hopefully, that will fade from people's minds," says Bootz. "I'm hopeful that demand will pick up as the year progresses and the weather continues to warm up."

As spring inches closer, melon promotions could also be on deck for holidays such as Easter which could also help movement.

Meanwhile, as volumes remain consistent, that constant supply is helping keep the market level. Pricing right now is around $11-$13 for standard-sized cantaloupes (9s, 12s) on the West Coast. Honeydew is having a more challenging time with movement and pricing on that standard-sized fruit (5s, 6s) is around $11. "Some shippers, myself included, are loading some volume orders price after sale to keep the inventory moving and keep the fruit fresh," says Bootz. "I'm not sensing that pricing will change in the short term."

For more information:
Justin Bootz
Legend Produce
Tel: +1 (623) 298-3782