Mission, Texas – On Friday, September 1st, 2023, the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) Market News began reporting Limes in a manner that is more consistent with the many grade offerings of that commodity so as to better reflect the range of quality that exists in the marketplace by using “Appearance.”
“Lime handlers have been telling us for the last year that the prices reported from Market News were not clear enough to understand the market. Prices at times reflected a $40 difference between the lowest and highest price for the same size. This difference was largely the result of the many grades present in the marketplace,” said Dante Galeazzi, President of the Texas International Produce Association (TIPA) BB #:162361. “We applaud USDA’s decision to make these changes, as we believe it will help eliminate confusion among all users of Market News with regards to limes. The market has changed considerably in the last 20 years, and efforts such as this will improve industry’s dealings with this commodity.”
Market News will now report lime prices similar to the manner in which apple, cucumber and bell pepper prices are reported. Since limes do not require a grade be printed directly on the box, USDA must use specific terminology to correctly communicate the pricing within commodity standards.
Market News will now use the Appearance column to reflect the quality associated with each price reported. The terms used in the Appearance column will be:
- Fine Appearance = US Grade #1 (best of the best),
- Fair Appearance = US Grade #Combination,
- Blank or no designation on appearance = less than Fine but better than Fair*
*For Persian limes, No Designation on Appearance would be akin to a “US Grade #1, Mixed Color” or “US Grade #1, Turning,” which are the most commonly handled lime grades.
(See FIGURE 1, above chart)
Limes have established themselves as a grocery store staple and demand has skyrocketed. A University of Florida report cited the volume of Persian limes increasing over 200% since 2002, and the average consumption rising more than 70% since 2010 to a nearly 4.27lbs of limes per American consumer (Blare Ballen Crane 2022).
This growth in the lime market has not been without challenges. But alongside efforts such as improvements in price reporting by USDA Market News and TIPA’s Lime Education & Training Day held in August, TIPA is confident the fresh produce community will come to accept these opportunities to improve their knowledge of limes. Especially where it can benefit the selling and buying processes.
About the Texas International Produce Association
The Texas International Produce Association (TIPA) is a nonprofit organization dedicated to educating, advocating, promoting, and representing the over $11 billion of fresh fruits and vegetables that are grown in Texas or consider Texas their first point of arrival for domestic distribution. TIPA was created in 1942 by a group of industry leaders who shared a vision to expand the region’s produce industry. Today, TIPA represents nearly 400 member companies throughout the fresh produce supply chain. Membership ranks include growers, shippers, grocery stores, foodservice distributors, importers, and a host of allied industries.