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Cherry volumes from Chile to North America expected to be higher

Cherry volumes out of Chile are expected to be higher this year, thanks to good weather conditions and an increasing amount of cherry plantings. Some shipments have already arrived by air, with preparations for sea freight underway.

"We're seeing good growing conditions in Chile this season," said Norman Barao, of International Fruit Company in New Jersey. "The weather has been great and we are not seeing any loss in volume like last year, when rains affected the fruit quality. For week 47, there were 114,545 cases that have arrived, up from 95,987 at this time last year."

Fruit is also arriving in excellent condition, giving suppliers confidence of a good quality season in terms of cherry arrivals. "There have been cherries received via air shipment in pouch bags, and they have arrived in excellent condition, with limited pitting, an improvement over last year," Barao observed. "At this stage, we are preparing to load sea containers and expectations are for a very busy Christmas period. We ship cherries bulk in each case and then repack them on arrival, sorting out and discarding any defected fruit. In the interim, before the sea containers arrive, we work with growers and suppliers to supplement supply and maintain continuity in shipments to customers."

Pricing currently firm but slightly lower than last year
With a higher volume expected, pricing is currently firm, but marginally down from last year. As Christmas approaches, the market is expected to heat up, while pricing is forecast to be close to what it was at the same time last year.

"Current pricing on the East coast is between $40-$52 a box, depending on size and grade," Barao said. "On the West Coast, pricing is a little higher. Organic is looking to have a big year. Although we don't carry any, we have heard that prices on those are upwards of $70. As the season progresses, we expect to receive Rainiers and opening prices are expected to be in the $60 range."

"Grab-and-go" bags rising in popularity
The shipments arriving in pouch bags are convenient for handlers as they are able to transport the cherries in a retail ready manner. Barao also said the "grab-and-go" bags are proving popular among customers.

"The cherries arrive by air freight in 5kg (11lb) boxes," he said. "There are 10 bags, or pouches, per box at around 1lb each and ready to go to the retailer. These 'grab-and-go' pouches are proving popular with customers."

For more information: 
Norman Barao
International Fruit Company
Tel: +1 (609) 878-3113