Overall markets descend after holiday pull turns into a lull.
While higher-priced fruits and berries finally fall, demand remains anemic for vegetable categories. Buyers are cautious due to foodservice and market uncertainty.
Despite the overall slump, several items remain at high levels: apples, pears, limes, lemons, grapes, and cabbage.
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.
ProduceIQ Index: $0.87 /pound, -13.0 percent over prior week
Week #8, ending February 26th
Logistics warm up (a little) after the Texas freeze disruption, relieving a supply chain bottleneck. Freight rates remain high as expected. Truck demand is higher than capacity and volatility will continue.
Buy side remains timid as winter turns to spring.
Strawberries lead the decline, -40 percent last week. Of course, the irony of produce is that prices fall when quality is the highest.
Strawberries are now available in promotable volume and quality from both coasts, Plant City, FL and Oxnard, CA. Our family is doing our part and filling up on large Florida strawberries. It’s season!
In two weeks, Florida strawberries fall in ½, from $20 to less than $8 (8 1lb. clamshells).
The volatile produce categories of tomatoes, lettuce/leaf, wet vegetables and dry vegetables are mostly near floor pricing. Tomatoes remain near the minimum prices of the suspension agreement.
Romaine and iceberg are below production costs. Peppers drive the dry vegetable category and some transactions have been dangerously close to “pick & pack” price levels. Buyers have the advantage on these categories leading into the Spring.
Honeydew, on the other hand, gained some traction, rising +30 percent. Prices have been on the floor and further increases are needed to reach historical trends. Supplies are tightening for certain sizes and quality is good.
A small rise in honeydew prices is possible before settling into the spring.
The graphs above are created using free online tools at ProduceIQ. Please visit to slice the data your way.
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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.