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Washington apples see shifts in demand

Overview of the apple supply by Jeff Aguigui of Ag Grower Sales, complemented by charts from Agronometrics.

Original published in on April 21, 2021 

Supplies of apples are tight right now as import programs are starting up.

Volumes (in Kg) of Apples in the US Market
Source: USDA Market News via Agronometrics.
(Agronometrics users can view this chart with live updates here)

At Ag Grower Sales LLC in Wenatchee, WA, Jeff Aguigui notes that demand is largely shifting back to foodservice as restaurants and schools begin reopening again and retail demand lets up slightly. “A few months ago we were doing 85-90 percent retail to now we’re doing 60-40 percent, so mostly foodservice now. We’re going back to our normal business.”

Farmers to Families

Aguigui says supplies of apples are significantly tighter than last year at this time and pressure on supplies is also coming from programs such as the USDA Farmers to Families Food Box program. “That took a lot of product this year and everything is now getting tight. I think we might have a gap in varieties this year. It depends on the next couple of months and how things pan out,” says Aguigui. “People are still looking for apples. This time of year is when they start looking for cherries and stone fruit but they’re still looking at apples because they’re still one of the cheapest items out there.”

At the same time, the import apple programs from countries such as New Zealand are also starting up. “That will definitely help,” says Aguigui. “We didn’t use to sell a lot of imports because they’re a lot more expensive. But I think it’s going to be a lot more competitive bringing these imports in this year because I think the pricing will be similar.”

Imports (Volumes in Kg) of Apples in the US Market
Source: USDA Market News via Agronometrics.
(Agronometrics users can view this chart with live updates here)

As for pricing, Aguigui says it’s strong and steady on apples.

Price (In USD) of Apples in the US Market
Source: USDA Market News via Agronometrics.
(Agronometrics users can view this chart with live updates here)

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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