Mexico: Berries see more limited supply and higher prices
Of the three berries, blueberries are picking up supplies outside of Mexico and elsewhere. “The market has depended a lot on Chile. But Chile has 10-15% less production compared to last year and has also been shipping less product to the US,” says Carlos Madariaga of Berries Paradise, who estimates that Chile is shipping about 10 percent fewer blueberries. compared to 2021 right now. “Peru is practically finishing its season and although Mexico has 17 percent more production compared to last year, it was not enough during most of January to cover the Chilean gap because Mexico's peak does not arrive until March. But now we are seeing larger arrivals from Chile.”
Logistical challenges, both outside of Chile and at US ports, weather and labor shortages in Chile also influence blueberry shipments. "Everything has had an impact on the availability to send it to the fresh market," says Madariaga. “They are probably taking two more weeks to get to market. They have to be very careful about the type of fruit they are selecting because not all varieties can handle the longer transit time."
All of this has led to higher prices for blueberries. “For many years we have not seen such a good January in terms of prices. If we look at it weekly, at the beginning of January the price was 10% higher or even higher than last season,” says Madariaga.
The volume of blackberries is also declining in Mexico and will continue to do so during February and March. “The prices of blackberries are usually cheaper than those of raspberries. But now they are also following the trend of seeing higher prices,” says Madariaga. "In late December and early January, prices were up about 10 percent compared to the same weeks last season."
"It's very common during this time of year to get into the valley for Mexican raspberry season," says Carlos Madariaga of Berries Paradise. He points out that the peak production was reached between the end of November and the beginning of December, and since then, the supply of raspberries has been reduced. "The price of raspberries is higher than last year. It was more noticeable earlier in the month and is now in line with last year. But in the first week, it was 20 percent more compared to last year,” says Madariaga.
Demand is of course also strong for berries. "We are in the first part of the year when people are trying to change their consumption habits to eat healthier and berries fit into that," says Madariaga. Also the recent shortage of California strawberries due to weather has added to the overall demand for berries.
Looking ahead, supplies of raspberries and blackberries will be tight in the near future. "And prices will remain strong for both categories during February and part of March, although in the second half, production will pick up and prices will also drop," he says.
Blueberries are increasing in shipments out of Chile as the country is entering the last quarter of its season and it is mainly fruit in the water that will hit the market in the coming days and weeks. "And Mexico is also recovering, so there will be more supplies in the coming weeks," says Madariaga.
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