Skip to main content

Washington apple market: From a stagnant market to escalating demand


Overview of the Washington apple market with comments from Dan Davis of Starr Ranch Growers and Jason Fonville of Ag Grower Sales, complemented by charts from Agronometrics.



Original published in FreshPlaza.com on March 24, 2020

Washington state’s apple season has been challenging with demand not being able to meet supplies. However, on the demand side, things quickly turned around recently as a result of COVID-19. “We started to see increased demand from retail about two weeks ago, but it rapidly escalated last week,” says Dan Davis with Starr Ranch Growers in Wenatchee, WA. “We’ve seen a dramatic uptick in movement and need at retail,” he added. John Long of L&M Companies added that retail stores are seeing a rush on every product. “The apple business has been extremely good, and we are seeing that packaged product is moving faster than bulk product.”

There is a challenge on the logistics side though. “We are finding trucks to get to DC level, but there is a struggle with many retailers to get enough product from DC to store level currently,” Davis said.

Exports are down

This uptick in demand is largely domestic. The export side of the business has become a challenge. “Shipping to export destinations has become an issue with container inventory being low. Many vessels are being held up at the destination due to COVID concerns,” said Davis. L&M Companies also sees a decrease in exports. “The strengthening of the US dollar makes it more expensive for importers to buy our product. On top of this are the fears of what will happen with the virus.”

Volumes (in KG) of Washington apples in the US market in the first quarter of the 2017 to 2020 seasons


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

Foodservice demand almost non-existent

“There are three sides to the apple distribution for us,” continued Long. “It’s retail that is very busy, exports that have slowed down, and wholesales/foodservice that is almost non-existent at the moment.” Distribution from this channel has basically come to a standstill. Many schools are still providing meals for students 18 years or younger. “However, the schools haven’t been replenishing their supplies and placing orders as usual, so we definitely are missing that side of business. Overall, while retail is up, it’s not enough to make up for the decreased movement in the other arms of the sector. Retail only takes a certain segment of the manifest, and they don’t pick up the perimeters. That is why we need the other business which will take care of the outer lines of the manifest,” said Long.

Increased production capacity

As a result of the increased demand, Starr Ranch has increased its short-term production capacity. “We’ve added second shifts to help observe distancing needs. Running with smaller staff across multiple shifts has allowed us to add some throughput, said Davis.” L&M Companies also had to increase its hours of production in order to keep up with the increased demand. “We are, of course, very careful with the hygiene and our workers are divided into multiple smaller groups rather than one big crew. In case of an infection, only a smaller group will have to go into quarantine, rather than the whole crew.”

Prices (Shipping point) of Washington apples in the US market in the first quarter of the 2017 to 2020 seasons


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

Impact on pricing?

Jason Fonville with Ag Grower Sales sees an increased demand across all apple varieties. “It’s all about price,” he shared. The big stars of the season were the boutique apples and people still like them, but consumers now look more at what they can afford. There are still red apples, Goldens, Granny Smiths, Pinks and Galas out there. Apples aren’t commanding higher prices, but prices aren’t going down either. “Supplies in Washington are still plentiful, and the market has been very stagnant, so it’s good to see volume on orders going up,” Fonville said. “Right now, they are at a good moving price, but by no means are they the price they were last year. However, if our supply gets run over – and there are still a lot of apples out there – prices will go up.”

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

Access the original article with this (Link).

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

Avocados In Charts - Prices are falling and why are they likely to settle below 2018

Agronometrics has often spoken about what is to come and how the market could be affected. We hold a strong belief in being able to look at objective data can help navigate complicated scenarios. The recent spike in prices that avocados have seen is an example of one of these scenarios, catching many by surprise at a time of the year where we had never seen movements like this before. This can be seen in the chart below where the 2019 line has towered above all other prices since Sept. 2017 and every price recorded for June in the last five years.

Historic Hass Avocado Prices


Source: USDA Market News via Agronometrics. (Agronometrics users can
view this chart with live updates here)
Comparing the volumes of this year to the last can offer some insight as to how these prices have come about. Considering the prices were almost flat last year, the volume data serves as a great benchmark to understand where customers expectations lie.

In this year’s data, an important oversupply can be …

The table grape industry is in uncharted territory right now

Overview of the potential impact of COVID-19 on future grape supply and price, by Ira Greenstein of Direct Source Marketing, complemented by charts from Agronometrics.



Original published in FreshPlaza.com on March 24, 2020

While the Chilean and Peruvian grape seasons are winding down and their weekly volumes are decreasing, the table grape industry has seen an uptick in demand in the past weeks. This is partially a result of the high retail movements due to the coronavirus panic-shopping of the past few weeks. Ira Greenstein of Direct Source Marketing says: “A month ago, importers had a real concern that the industry wouldn’t be able to move through the condensed volumes and huge inventories would be sitting in cold storages. That sentiment has completely reversed with substantially increased retail demand due to the COVID-19 pandemic.”

With the lower volumes but increasing demand, the cold stores are rapidly being depleted and spot market pricing is expected to continue to increase, …

Price Alerts! are here for all

As we bring price alerts to Agronometrics we thought we would pen a piece on our thinking behind the service as well as the methodology for it.

The idea for the Alerts arose from our conversations with the industry, where several people expressed high interest in knowing when there are important changes in the market prices that could affect their business.

This impetus created the Price Alerts! service, whereby we monitor daily average prices of every commodity on our platform, so that you don’t have to. As soon as the difference in price reaches a certain threshold you get an email alerting you of said price change. You can take a look at our sample report through this link (US Avocado Price Alert!)

In order not overflow our users with these email alerts, we have used some fancy statistical analysis and determined the required values so as to send some 12 alerts per year for each commodity. In the table below you will find the list of commodities along with their estimated limits t…