Chilean heat hastens the end of the season at blueberry.
The supply of Chilean blueberries has begun to decline significantly. "Our volume of Chilean blueberries has been almost cut in half and others in the industry have almost stopped," Joshua Minton of Frank Donio Inc. said in an interview in recent weeks. "It's been too hot in Chile and growing conditions have worsened for the fruit."
In the past, Chile has made it to the third week of March, albeit erratically: in some years it has almost skipped February and shipped considerable volumes in March. "We are at 90 percent of the Chilean season and are on a downward trajectory. Three weeks from now, the market will be mainly driven by Mexico and Peru," Minton adds.
Although Peru will likely arrive in the first week of April with arrivals through the last week of March, some Mexican blueberries have already been shipped throughout the country.
Meanwhile, demand is facing a period of inflation. "All the retailers buying advertising have done very well and the product movement has been excellent," says Minton, noting that blueberries still has a "halo of health" in the minds of consumers. "Everyone has been producing ad campaigns on and off for the past six weeks because a lot of volume has come in. The recall effect of the ads has been very positive."
This means that prices have been aggressive and bargains can be found. "We have seen this with Chile and Peru in recent years. Once they get their volume, they can undercut the market by $2, for example," says Minton, noting that it is also a balance to maintain good returns for the producer.
Looking ahead, Minton predicts an active market with blueberries continuing to move well. "The supply line will be limited to Peru and Mexico, and we will see Peruvian quality," Minton says.
Even further away is the start of the blueberries harvest in Florida, which is expected to begin around April 15. "It could be earlier, and most people are excited to get back to the national harvest. We're also a New Jersey producer, so we're hoping to start around June 15," Minton says.
Source: Blueberries Consulting
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