Year Overview: May

The month of May would make it clear there was not going to be a Fruit Logistica in 2021. Instead the new edition would be held in February 2022, which we now know has been postponed to April of 2022. Costs of transport were ramping up all over the globe, affecting several seasons.

Strawberry demand was strong in the run up to Mother’s day, but the US strawberries, along with oranges, were stopped at the Taiwan border due to pesticide residues. The first shipments of organic apples from Chile and Argentina made its way to the Philadelphia port. A volume-increase of 30% was expected from the Mexican grape season. Dragon fruit acreage in Ecuador increased, but prices also rose during the month of May. The Argentinian lemon season kicked off well, despite the country’s issues with the second wave of the pandemic. San Miguel saw the new avocado campaign begin and pink lemon varieties from California became increasingly popular.

On May 11th, Fruit Logistica 2021 would officially be canceled. A new date in 2022 was set, although as we have recently learned, the event would be postponed again later. The grape season in Mexico turned out to be a little weird, while the question beckoned whether India would be able to export its mangoes to the US market this season. Egyptian red onions got a start to the season, although the yellow onions season had been problematic. A peach and nectarine shortage was expected from week 26, as frost had its effect on the stone fruit production in multiple countries.

The Chinese market would see the first US cherries of the season arrive in early May. The world’s first avocado packing robot was able to process 240 avocados per minute. A Californian grower saw opportunities in the root vegetable celeriac, after not being able to find a supplier for the product. Pineapple supplies were running a little tight, as imports to the US were slim. Stone fruit out of California started a few days late, but had good chill hours which meant hope for better volumes.

A Latin American grower predicted it would only be a matter of time until Ecuador’s banana crop got hit by Fusarium. South African grapefruit production only increased marginally and Peruvian avocados entered the Chinese market later than usual, due to quality standards. Australian officials tried to look into the cause of a hold-up of table grape exports to China. The Egyptian garlic season came to an end, and proved to be successful overall.

It was anticipated that 2021 would be a better season for the Northwest cherries. In the US, dragon fruit supply was short for white and yellow varieties, meaning all eyes were on Florida production. Transport costs kept rising globally, which was proving to become a real challenge for both growers and shippers. US strawberry stocks started to catch up with demand, there were lower volumes available in 2021. The pallet shortage was predicted to last for a longer period, as the price of lumber remained high due to lower availability.

South African blueberries have become a lot more competitive, with more narrow margins. Colombian avocados were facing demand challenges in North America, while planted areas increased year after year. Container freights of the Asia-Europe route started hitting new highs, while concerns were raised on the state of service delivery at the South African Port of Cape Town. The Egyptian grape season started slightly earlier than usual in 2021, but prices were expected to be more stable.

In North Carolina, the blueberry crops had to endure heavy hailstorms, the general consensus was that this could cause 20 to 30 percent loss for the harvest. During a run on fruit trees from consumers, there was no real impact on demand for the produce of Florida growers. It was expected that more citrus from South Africa would be coming into North America in the season. Meanwhile, an organic club raspberry variety was performing well in Mexico.

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