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Produce IQ: Markets freeze with Texas

Overall produce markets gained 2 percent as a major winter storm plunged much of the U.S. into a deep freeze.

Fresh produce felt the effects of freight challenges and halted demand in affected geographies. Texas, the state most hard hit by the record-breaking freeze, experienced both demand and supply impacts.

Texas retail demand surged while supply lines were impaired, causing food shortages. Texas growing regions, particularly grapefruit, onions and local vegetables will certainly have freeze damage. The extent of longer-term tree damage isn’t yet known.

ProduceIQ Index: $1.00 /pound, +2.0 percent over prior week
(Week #7, ending February 19th)

Blue Book has teamed with ProduceIQ BB #:368175 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.

The tale of two markets, retail and foodservice, continues into week seven as prices split hard.

Commodities reliant on foodservice are sliding further below production costs, and commodities loved by retail are climbing upwards. Big movers for retail included the Mexican favorites, limes and avocados.

Avocado prices climbed +19 percent and are expected to continue their ascent due to decreased harvesting.

The dry veg category fell -18.9 percent reaching the lowest week seven prices seen in eight years.

Cucumber’s +29 percent price jump did little against hemorrhaging losses from the bell pepper, asparagus and bean categories. Cucumber prices may reverse as supply is expected to increase from Mexico this week. Asparagus and bell peppers are good buys with quality and plentiful supply at low prices.

Dry vegetables need a mid-winter boost.

Watermelons fell -18 percent on good supply. Although those affected by the winter storm may be craving warm July days, dreams of watermelon-laden barbeques will be delayed until roads thaw out and demand heats up.

Citrus is up +7 percent and limes are leading the charge with an impressive +28 percent increase. Quality issues, political turmoil and routine production lull will make the price of limes unstable until new production picks up. Until then, lemons are in good supply and may offer an optional substitute.

With over 73 percent of the mainland U.S. covered in snow last week, according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s Office of Water Prediction, expect markets to experience continued irregularities as the industry grapples with truck shortages and foodservice restrictions.

The graphs above are created using free online tools at ProduceIQ. Please visit to slice the data your way. We seek all feedback.

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.