Strawberry supplies increasing again

From Fresh Plaza | 26 January 2022

Overview of strawberries supplies in the U.S. market, complemented by charts from Agronometrics. Original published on January 20, 2022. 

Strawberry volumes look to be ramping up soon.

strawberry volumes by hi 1

Source: USDA Market News via Agronometrics.
(Agronometrics users can view this chart with live updates here)

Kyla Oberman of California Giant Berry Farms based in Watsonville, CA says current supplies of strawberries are tight due to high demand for the fruit. “Volumes in Central Mexico and Florida are expected to continually increase in the coming weeks. We anticipate Mexico and Florida strawberries peaking in time for Valentine’s Day,” said Oberman.

That said, current volumes are greater than this time last year by about 15 percent thanks largely to good weather conditions. Right now, California Giant is harvesting strawberries in California out of Oxnard and Santa Maria, as well as out of Florida and Mexico.

strawberry volumes by or

Source: USDA Market News via Agronometrics.
(Agronometrics users can view this chart with live updates here)

“Oxnard had its first harvest the first week of the year and will quickly ramp up towards its peak in March. Santa Maria’s spring crop had its first harvest the second week of January and will double in volume week over week through March,” says Oberman. “Our growers in Florida and Mexico are quickly working towards their peak volume periods which will contribute to a majority of our Valentine’s Day pull.”

Strong consumption of berries

Historically supplies of strawberries are tighter at this time of year. “Consumption of strawberries has been strong following the pandemic. Consumers are making more health-conscious choices and the health benefits of strawberries, especially their high vitamin C content, is a major draw for shoppers,” says Oberman. It is of course also the time when New Year’s resolutions around healthy eating are also underway which also fuels fresh produce demand.

In addition, Valentine’s Day is also on the horizon, a holiday often associated with strawberries and Oberman says retailers are also currently planning their holiday buying. “We anticipate a good volume of strawberries for Valentine’s Day and typically see high demand for long-stemmed strawberries around this time of year. Most of our spring crop growing areas will begin ramping up supply to promotable volume at the end of February,” she adds.

However, as far as challenges go, Oberman notes that labor challenges have been ongoing. “Teams are still putting forth great efforts to secure the workforce needed. However labor shortages are continuing in most regions,” says Oberman.

The News in Charts is a collection of stories from the industry complemented by charts from Agronometrics to help better tell their story.

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