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ProduceIQ: Industry prices falling for Halloween

Prices have descended as production transitions South.

Markets are expected to fall further the week before Halloween as new areas of production increase supply volume.

Categories with broad price declines include Dry Vegetables (-12 percent), Melons (-13 percent) and Wet Vegetables (-30 percent). Dry Vegetables transitioned to South Georgia and Northern Mexico.

These regions are shipping the famed good quality and sufficient supply they are known for. Squash and Cucumbers in particular offer strong value.

ProduceIQ Index: $0.79 /pound, -6.0 percent over prior week

Honeydews, Cantaloupes, and Watermelons are trading near the lower end of their pricing ranges. Quality fruit is available for all three types. Lower prices on high quality produce creates opportunities to buy and promote these bargain commodities.

Blue Book has teamed with ProduceIQ to bring the ProduceIQ Index to its readers. The index provides a produce industry price benchmark using 40 top commodities to provide data for decision making.

As predicted last week, prices did indeed drop dramatically for Broccoli, Cauliflower, and Celery.

Who is this week’s biggest price loser? Cauliflower prices fell in half (-49 percent) to $0.33/pound as the yields increased quickly due to warmer temperatures.

At only $0.13/pound, Celery is at the low end of its trading range.

Citrus is mixed. Limes are low ($0.25/pound), yet Oranges are at an all-time high ($0.77/pound). As a clear beneficiary of the pandemic, demand for Oranges has increased from the USDA box program and at retail as consumers focus on boosting immunity to Covid-19.

Oranges peaked at 15-year high of $0.81 /pound in prior week.

The Tomato category is also nearing record highs, $1.04/pound. Eastern crops for this fall were harmed by Hurricane Sally early in the plant growing cycle.

While out West, Californian Tomatoes were harmed by extreme heat. The next growing regions, western Florida, won’t begin for several weeks, so expect markets to remain active and prices escalated.

Tomatoes to remain near their highest prices for several weeks.

ProduceIQ Index

The ProduceIQ Index is the fresh produce industry’s only shipping point price index. It represents the industry-wide price per pound at the location of packing for domestic produce, and at the port of U.S. entry for imported produce.

ProduceIQ uses 40 top commodities to represent the industry. The Index weights each commodity dynamically, by season, as a function of the weekly 5-year rolling average Sales. Sales are calculated using the USDA’s Agricultural Marketing Service for movement and price data. The Index serves as a fair benchmark for industry price performance.

Mark Campbell was introduced to the fresh produce industry as a lender for Farm Credit. After earning his MBA from Columbia Business School, he spent seven years as CFO for J&J Family of Farms and later served as CFO advisor to several produce growers, shippers and distributors. In this role, Mark saw the impediments that prevent produce growers and buyers to trade with greater access and efficiency. This led him to cofound ProduceIQ.