Plenty of IQF Raspberries in US Coldstores, So Why are Serbian and Chilean Prices High?

The recently reported supply of IQF raspberries in cold storage in the United “is an astonishing 51% more than 2012,” according to Peter Skolnick, president of Monterey, California-headquartered Imperial Frozen Foods, which specializes in supplying frozen fruit for private label packs.

At the same time, inventories of cultivated frozen blueberries were said to be close to in balance with demand.

131116 Imperial-raspberr”USDA purchasing power has cleaned up most of the extra grade B crop of cultivated blueberries,” said Skolnick. “Cold storage holdings are up only 7% over 2012.  Now the market can seek equilibrium. We are looking forward to sell at a price the consumer will buy, and also make the grower happy.”

Imperial’s president had a number of questions about high IQF raspberry pricing, as follows:  

“Why are prices so high on Serbian and Chilean raspberries, and supply unavailable in North America?  The bigger question is, will those high prices persist?  Will high pricing kill demand?  What price is too high for the marketplace?  Given the fact that IQF raspberries are difficult to grow and process, we should pay more for this delicate, fragrant fruit.” 

As for strawberries, Skolnick noted that the California crop was “coming in ever so slowly,” but such is normal for this time of year.

However, he went on the say,  “Packers and buyers have now learned that it is not a good idea to count on the fall crop of freezer strawberries – especially when field labor shortages plague the industry.  Accumulations have reached about 400 million pounds of freezer berries, which is on par with 2011, but behind 2012.  The key to evaluating the 2013 California crop is that demand has surpassed supply. Peru is helping to supply, and Mexico will kick in soon.  There is no doubt that California is the ‘Big Kahuna’ when it comes to strawberries.  When California can't meet demand, the world can't help enough.”