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Peru ships twice the volume compared to same time last year

Confidence California table grapes declines

While shippers insist that California grapes will continue to be available through Christmas, confidence in the product is declining. Retailer complaints range from poor color on red grapes to decay and condition issues on all varieties. Wholesale markets are managing increased volumes of fruit that fail to make a satisfactory arrival. “We expect to see wholesalers get more jammed up as even greater volumes get into distribution through secondary channels,” says Mark Greenberg with Capespan North America. Through week 49 (last week), California red seedless grapes were selling at $18-24 quality depending and white seedless table grapes were moving in the $24 – 28 range. 

East Coast has shifted to imports
Retailers on the US East Coast have started to make the shift to imported table grapes and this trend will continue to gather momentum as California product quality continues to decline and as imported table grape arrival volumes climb.

Through Week 48, Peru loaded 2.1 million cases of table grapes to the US East Coast, more than twice the tonnage that was shipped in the same period last year. Of this volume, 360,000 cases were Red Globes and the remainder consisted of the full panoply of seedless varieties led by Sugraones (540,000 cases), Flames (520,000 cases), Arra 15 (200,000 cases) and Crimsons (100,000 cases). In that same period, Peruvian exporters loaded 240,000 cases to the US West Coast and 450,000 cases to the Canadian market (both east and west).

Table grape shortage leading up to Christmas
Most of the seedless grapes only began to load in week 44 with more substantial volumes in week 46 and onward. This will translate into greater seedless availability in the market in week 50 onward. But it is a volume that will fall well short of the market’s needs as we approach Christmas.

Today, Peruvian Crimsons are being offered at $34-36 on relatively light movement. “There is no substantial volume in the market so sellers are in no rush to sell knowing that California’s days are numbered and that prices are more likely to rise before they fall,” said Greenberg.

Peruvian Sugarones are moving slowly between $36–38 with some quotes higher. “At these prices, movement is slow. Most sellers are not feeling any real heat and those retailers opting for the pricey imported alternative are buying carefully and offering the product on reduced store displays.” Peruvian Red Globes are selling at $18–20 (mostly $18) for X-Large (700) and
$16–18 on Large (500).

Peru will own December market
As we move deeper into December, both red and white seedless prices on the US East Coast will start to rise. California grapes will eventually cease to be a factor with much of the remaining fruit not likely to travel west of the Mississippi. Peru will continue to own the market for much of the run up to Christmas and there will not be enough volume to service holiday demand. 

Delayed Chilean grape arrivals
The fact that Chilean cherry and blueberry volumes in the market are also well below traditional levels will leave consumers with fewer alternative products. The result will put upward pressure on table grapes over the next two weeks. Chilean fruit will join the fray in mid-December. Chilean table grape crop producers continue to face a delayed start to their harvest and the first Chilean charter to the US East Coast will arrive on December 14. “Its cargo, which will include table grapes and stonefruit, will likely be the only Chilean fruit that makes distribution before the Christmas holiday,” added Greenberg.

For more information:
Mark Greenberg
Capespan North America
Tel: (+1) 514-739-9181

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