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Looking at Mexico’s grape season with optimism

Overview of the mexican grapes season by Rob Anderholt and Helena Fernandez Irastorza of Seald Sweet, complemented by charts from Agronometrics.

Original published in on May 7, 2020

Grape movement is slower than expected currently.

“Grapes are not a priority for shoppers right now. We are hoping that with the warmer months ahead and the easing of COVID-19 restrictions, we will see shoppers return to a normal if not better grape buying habits,” says Rob Anderholt of Seald Sweet based in Vero Beach, FL.

Anderholt notes that supplies are good of red seedless grapes from Chile and that will likely continue for the next two to three weeks. He adds that with COVID-19 issues, inventories of red seedless grapes are a little higher than expected. “Green grapes have more or less cleaned up and most business will move to early green seedless in Mexico or Coachella, CA. by the week of May 11th,” he says.

Pricing down

As for pricing, like many commodities, grapes have felt the effect of the pandemic. “Due to COVID-19, we’ve seen a drop in price from three weeks ago as well as a year ago,” says Anderholt. “We should have been cleaned up on Chilean inventories at this time but with the slowdown in business we are still working through product.”

Price of grapes in the US Market

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

That said, the company is looking ahead at volumes coming in from Mexico through to June. “We are hoping to see the country open back up and business return some sort of normal,” says Anderholt. “The industry will need retail promotions to help move the volume of grapes that we have ahead of us over the next eight weeks.”

Grapes will be just one of the items Seald Sweet hopes to focus on through exhibiting virtually at United Fresh LIVE!, taking place June 15-19. (In fact, Seald Sweet’s chief executive officer Mayda Sotomayor-Kirk, is on the executive board of United Fresh and chairwoman of the association’s International Advisory Board.)

More than just citrus

“Along with being in the middle of grape season, we’ll exhibit summer citrus which will be just starting by June,” says Seald Sweet’s Helena Fernandez Irastorza. “But we want to show that we’re more than just citrus. We want to showcase that we have expanded our commodities with items such as avocados and mixed vegetables.”

Moving the show online gives Seald Sweet a chance to reframe how it’s approaching the show. “This is a whole different event and it’s very new for us. We’re excited for this opportunity and this proves once again how adaptive our industry is,” says Fernandez Irastorza. “It’s challenging but motivating at the same time because it’s the first time we move from a face-to-face realm to a virtual one.”

Some of the things visitors can expect from Seald Sweet this year are things they couldn’t do with a traditional show, such as include a virtual facility tour and feature panels of experts speaking on a variety of topics.

“This is also going to be the first time it’s available to everybody in the world and it’s a great opportunity for our international growers for example, the ones who don’t get to go to United, but also our customers and Greenyard colleagues around the globe, to see the show,” says Fernandez Irastorza. “We’re looking to gain more exposure, but specifically more international exposure and it helps that this show is available to everyone.”

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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