Not surprisingly, lime growers holding back limes trying to push the market up finally had to let loose and they flooded the market with nearly 800 loads the last 7 days of crossings. The market is wobbly but the overall consensus is that supply will get very tight by the middle of February. so the growers game of trying to charge too much for fruit today saying the shortage is already about to start is still going on. We just don’t know if there will be another big flush of shipments like the past 7 days or if the tightening is now going to start for real. Just be ready for a very tight and high market expected later in February and take advantages of short term opportunities when they appear. There are 1,970 stores on ad on limes this week at an average retail price of $0.29 per unit. This is up from 1,854 stores last week. There are 139 stores on organic ads at an average retail of $0.34.
Mango Crop Update
We are in week 3 now. The mango market is active and tight on supply at the moment. The west coast is suffering from vessel delays this week. Please call well in advance to book orders and set ads so we can plan accordingly. Peru Kent quality and flavor is fantastic. We are seeing this create demand with strong repeat orders and customer demand building. Peru Sizing is running larger. See the Peru Mango Round Sizing chart below. Size 8s is now the peak on our manifests. With most chains in 9s/10s/12s and the market heavy on promotions, the volume available in the spot market and for promotions a couple weeks out will be concentrated on size 8s and 7s. Please run ad opportunities by us for sizes 8s, 7s, and 6s for loading weeks 5, 6, and 7. With what we see at this time we are not recommending customers to plan big promotions on Peru Kent mango for loading week 8 or after. I do think Mexican Ataulfos will be ramping up and ready to promote for loading week 8 or 9 onwards.
Arrival volume of mangos is down about 200,000 boxes from 1.46m last week to 1.23m boxes this week as Ecuador exits the market completely. Volume is set to increase slightly next week and then begin the peak of Peru arrivals in weeks 5, 6 and 7. Peru container volume shipped week 2 for arrival week 4 climbed less than expected to only 228 containers, but the volume hot water treated in Peru nearly doubled leaving a backlog of 175 containers that have been treated but have not left Peru on vessels yet. This backlog builds up every year and often results in a "head fake" where everyone in Peru says the volume is dropping off a cliff and all of a sudden they ship a record volume. This is because the pick volume really does drop off a cliff but by the end of the peak there is a huge volume of treated fruit waiting to catch the next vessels. We are forecasting this into our arrival volumes in the Arrival Volume Chart below. Peru is already saying that volume is dropping off significantly next week but that does not translate directly into lower arrivals 3 weeks from now. The big drop off will likely come more like 5 weeks from now at the end of Feb. If you look at the chart closely you will see overall “round” volume becomes highly dependent on Mexican rounds starting week 8 onwards and that is something you can not count on either for volume or quality that early in the season.
The Mexico projection below is simply the 2018 volume except for last week's actual volume and I revised this week because only 2 loads have packed so far this week. I don't expect the forecast to be very accurate in January. In fact most of the fruit being packed now in Mexico probably should not be picked yet. February is reliable on Honey mangos starting with volume, but rounds are not reliable until mid March. The same concept applies to February on round mangos where much of the volume packed should never have been picked. It is mostly people trying to get started early to catch a market or just be the first to market even though the fruit is not mature.
We are considering operating a Haitian mango program (Madame Francis variety) starting in the spring. Please let us know if you would be interested in carrying Haitian Madame Francis mango and loading with us out of Vineland, NJ. We need this feedback to make a decision on doing the program.
Stores on ad on conventional mangos increased from 6,935 stores to 8,605 stores on ad for the week ending today. Weighted average retail price is $0.89 per piece. Mangos remained in the top 10 most promoted fruits this week. See the USDA Data on Retail Mango Ads chart below for detailed data by geographic region of the country. Stores on ad on organic mangoes fell drastically from 13 stores to 592 stores at an average price of $1.78 per piece.