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Strawberry market ripe for Mother’s Day promotions

With Mother’s Day less than two weeks away, strawberry volume looks to stabilize from California, while prices remain low but in a normal range.

TOTAL CONVENTIONAL STRAWBERRY VOLUME – FEBRUARY 17TH THROUGH APRIL 25TH (8-1LB)

The inconsistency in the strawberry supply is a bit unique compared to the two previous years, said Yolanda Ramirez, Agtools Inc. Vice President Retail.

Blue Book has teamed with Agtools Inc., the data analytic service for the produce industry, to look at a handful of crops and how they’re adjusting in the market during the pandemic.

This year sees more volatility in March and April, perhaps due to weather events in California and pandemic lock-downs. As the Mother’s Day pull begins along with the heat wave in California, the expectation may be an increase in both volume and demand, she said.

VOLUME CHART FOR MAIN REGIONS (CONVENTIONAL)

Four main regions represent 99 percent of the total volume. These regions are Southern CA (34%), Florida (27%), Mexico (19%) and California-Central (19%).

As is clear in the chart, California becomes the main source of strawberries the week of March 22nd with two growing regions, Ramirez said. The volume from California has seen some weather events impacting consistent supply in early April. California-South indicates a downward turn approaching the end of the month indicative of the natural transition from this region to the California – Central regions.

Florida and Mexico having been the main source of volume thru February show the natural end of season downward trend in March and coming to an end mid-April.

F.O.B. PRICE FOR CONVENTIONAL STRAWBERRY IN OXNARD, CA.

F.O.B. prices for Oxnard production in early March 2020 saw higher pricing than the two previous years, Ramirez said. By mid-March pricing for all three years was very similar.

However, this year by the end of March there was a significant drop in pricing, well below the past two years.

This drop may be the affect of the global crises. Mid-April has experienced a more stable market and pricing similar to the 2018 and 2019, and the end of the month is indicating a stronger market than last year, with the build up to Mother’s Day.

CHICAGO TERMINAL PRICE FOR CALIFORNIA STRAWBERRY 8/1LB

The Chicago terminal market is reflective of the volatility in strawberries and in particular this year with the global crisis, Ramirez said. Pricing has seen an up and down trend as the market responds to weather events in grower regions, national holidays, decreased outlets and uncertainty in consumer buying patterns.

Greg Johnson is Director of Media Development for Blue Book Services