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Terminal market prices reflect blueberry seasonality

Terminal market blueberry prices in the U.S. market climb in October and November and fall in June and July.

Fluctuations are due to seasonal variations of aggregate supply. The price differences in low versus high season in 2015 was 314 percent; in 2016, it was 234 percent; and in 2017 it was 140 percent.

Blueberry year-to-year pricing has been dropping: from 2015 to 2017 terminal market prices fell 17 percent, mostly due to added volume from Peru and Mexico in the months of October, November, and December.

This disrupts the annual average increase of 6 percent from 2011 to 2015. Miami has the highest terminal market prices in November and December, while New York hit its highest terminal price in October. In April, when the U.S. market hits its second highest price point, New York’s price was $14.03 per kilogram in 2015, then soared to $24.67 in 2016.

Top prices in the U.S. high season in 2016 went to Miami, reaching $6.89 per kilogram and $11.52 in 2017 (43 percent higher than New York and Los Angeles for 2017). July’s highest prices went to Los Angeles with $6.64 per kilogram in 2016 and $10.10 in 2017.

For both of these time periods, Los Angeles prices were 8 percent higher than Miami and New York. When it comes to international pricing, all markets have the same seasonal harvest as the United States, but Canada and Europe vary in their highs and lows.

Canada’s Toronto market tends to have a larger price drop-off before high season, but during October prices follow the same trend as the United States.
Montreal market prices generally follow similar trends as the U.S. market, but in May 2017 average monthly prices rose by 14 percent (2016 prices were 50 percent higher) and in

August 2017, prices were 26 percent higher.

In the United Kingdom’s New Covent Garden, prices overtook the U.S.’s average annual price by 54 percent in 2015, 49 percent in 2016, and 40 percent in 2017.

This market has interestingly high monthly average prices. For example, in July 2015 prices hit $18.70 per kilogram, 234 percent higher than U.S. prices; in 2016, July prices reached $14.32, 177 percent higher than U.S. prices; and in 2017, pricing reached $12.03, up 67 percent over its American counterparts.

Monica Gallo Riofrio earned an MBA from INCAE in Costa Rica and previously served as a price analyst. She is an agribusiness consultant and contributes her expertise to executive education programs.